FT. WORTH, TX (March 28) - There's something special about being first. In Motorsports being first is the goal every race, and for Sammy Swindell and his Channellock ...
FT. WORTH, TX (March 28) - There's something special about being first. In Motorsports being first is the goal every race, and for Sammy Swindell and his Channellock #1 Team being first is all that matters. Swindell is hoping to claim the first victory at Texas Motor Speedway's (TMS) new dirt track as the World of Outlaws (WoO) sanction the Southern Bleacher Classic on Thursday and Friday in their debut at the 4/10 -mile dirt oval.
"It would be great win the first race there," said Swindell, a three-time WoO Champion. "We've been running very consistent all season in the Channellock #1, but haven't been able to put it all together. If the circumstances work out where we can hit the right car set-up before anyone else does that would be a pretty good accomplishment. Obviously, we'd really like to see this Channellock car win the first race at TMS, because no one can replace you as the first winner."
Swindell, who's been racing with the Outlaws since their inception in 1978, has always been successful in Texas. He scored 11 of his 244 career WoO Features at Devil's Bowl Speedway in nearby Mesquite, TX including wins in 1978 and 1999. Swindell claims the key to his success in the area has a lot to do with dirt, and he's hoping the new dirt track at TMS has similar soil.
"Devil's Bowl is a pretty fast racetrack and it 's kind of the same type of dirt that I grew up racing on in West Memphis, Arkansas," said Swindell. "I'm sure the people at TMS have tried to get the best dirt possible, but there's more to making a good racing facility than just the track. You have to all the variables in place. A good racing surface is an important part, but you also have to have management that is going to cater to everyone, including the fans, race teams and officials, and I think they've done that at Texas Motor Speedway."
This weekend's event at TMS will be the second of seven events that will be occurring simultaneously with NASCAR programs. The #82 Channellock Monte Carlo, coming off of a big win at Bristol, will also be competing in Saturday’s Busch Series race. As for future events, the World of Outlaws will also christen a new dirt track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte before taking to Bristol Motor Speedway's high-banked 1/2-mile that will be covered with dirt for the inaugural Channellock Challenge at Bristol. With seven events in NASCAR markets, Swindell is convinced the series is heading in the right direction. "The events should help the series and sprint car racing in general continue to move forward," said Swindell, who made five pace laps at Bristol prior to Sunday's NASCAR Food City 500. "We're going to be racing in front of lot of people that probably haven't ever seen a sprint car race before, so if we can get them to come back, our fan base will continue to grow. If your fan base expands everything else seems to follow suit. The facilities get better, the events get bigger and even the races seem to be a little bit bigger."
"The fan appeal of our sport is tremendous. Everywhere we race the tracks are packed with fans. I know in the past, word of mouth helped bring more people out to see us and then when we started having regular television coverage that sped up the process, getting sprint car racing to the level we've reached today."
The Nashville Network (TNN) has earmarked the Southern Bleacher Classic as an early season opportunity to increase the viewership of the Outlaws by televising both Thursday and Friday's programs. With ticket sales prompting TMS management to bring in additional temporary seating, the stage seems set for an early season "Amoco Knoxville Nationals-type" setting, but Swindell has been through all of the media hype before. He's raced Indy cars and been through NASCAR wars in the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series, so to for the Channellock driver this weekend is just another race.
"All of the pressure really doesn't bother us," said Swindell. "I don't know if ever has. We've done this so long its just like going to work every day. I'm sure when we get right down to it I'll be pretty excited, but our goal is to be the first one to get the checkered flag. No one really remembers who gets there second."