LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Nov. 9, 2016) – The 29th annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires provided a great platform of learning for the new sprint car team of Kevin Swindell and Spencer Bayston.
“We learned a lot for both of us,” Swindell said. “It was something different that he hadn’t experienced. As many places as we can expose Spencer to now and let it soak in over the winter the better it will be going forward. We learned some things we were doing with the 410 that didn’t work with the 360 with the pace being down and the speed being down. It took a minute to get where we needed to be on the short track side of things, but we got better every time we got out there.”
The Swindell Speed Lab backed team made its 360ci debut during the marquee event at I-30 Speedway last Thursday, when the action began with Bayston driving from fifth to fourth place in a heat race, from ninth to sixth place in a qualifier and from fourth to win a B Main. That locked the team into the main event, which resulted in Bayston picking up a trio of positions to finish 12th.
“Racing with guys that had raced there many years, the competition was stiffer than I was expecting,” Bayston said. “I felt like we improved lap by lap.”
The team returned to the quarter-mile oval on Friday for Round 2, which began with Bayston placing third in a heat race, sixth in a qualifier and third in a B Main to again make the main event. This time he ended 19th in the feature.
The weekend concluded on Saturday as Bayston maneuvered from sixth to second place in a heat race before finishing second in a B Main to lock the team into the 40-lap main event, which was a feat in itself with approximately 60 competitors vying for only 20 starting positions.
“We made some big changes throughout the weekend to get me comfortable,” he said. “It helped getting more seat time. We ran almost every lap we could each night. Never being there before it’s different than the ordinary quarter mile. It has some weird bends and shapes to it. It was definitely helpful having all those laps on the first couple of nights for the final night.”
The seat time paid off in the main event as Bayston charged from 18th to capture a 10th-place result, which also earned the team the Hard Charger Award for passing the most cars. Bayston placed third among rookies at the event.
“Between him figuring some things out and us getting better we were one more night away from being really good,” Swindell said. “We both improved and got the car better and he was more comfortable. It showed by the end of the weekend.”
The team will wrap up the sprint car season this Friday and Saturday at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., for the Flip Flop 50 with the USCS Series.