WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (November 16, 2016) – The 2016 season concluded last weekend for Kevin Swindell’s newly formed sprint car team.
Spencer Bayston drove the team to a pair of strong results during the USCS Series Flip Flop 50 at Riverside International Speedway, where the team garnered a career-best runner-up result in the first main event before charging from 22nd to eighth in the second feature
“It was a good way to end the year,” Swindell said. “Spencer got a lot of laps on a tricky track. We were close to winning the first one and had a good charge through the field in the second race despite the track taking rubber so we were pleased with the results. When he got to (Derek) Hagar both times we had traffic in bad spots to finish the pass or otherwise I think we were the better car. Overall that was good. Spencer made really good progress at the beginning of that second feature. We got stuck in a spot once or twice and backed us up. Then the rubber got so good nobody passed anybody from that point.”
The action began last Friday when Bayston maneuvered from fourth to win a heat race. That locked him into the dash, where he ended fifth.
“That was a really good start to the weekend,” he said. “I didn’t want to waste any time in the heat race so I got the lead as quickly as I could. Then in the dash I tried to stay on the outside a little too long. I made a mistake and got passed a couple of times. When I moved down it was a really, really thin bottom and I wasn’t prepared for it.”
The team returned to the quarter-mile oval on Saturday for the twin features with Bayston starting the first 25-lap main event on the outside of the front row.
“It was a thin cushion on the wall and I got up there and was able to follow the leader until we got to traffic,” he said. “We slid each other a few times. I never really had the advantage. I kept throwing stuff at him and he did a good job of getting back by me.”
Bayston made a couple of moves for the lead, but was unable to hold the position. He got one final opportunity on the last lap.
“On the final lap, final corner we were side by side coming to the line,” he said. “He threw a slider on lapped cars (in turns three and four) and I ran it in high and diamonded it off to the bottom. He had more drive than I did and beat me to the line by not even a car length.”
The second-place finish lined Bayston up on the outside of the 11th row for the second feature, which was completely inverted.
“I had to pick my way through as many cars early as possible,” he said. “The rubber got too thick on the track where you couldn’t pass much.”
Bayston maneuvered from 22nd to the eighth-place result to score the team’s fifth top 10 in seven main events this season.
“I’d say overall the weekend went really well,” he said. “I didn’t have too many expectations because I hadn’t run with that series. It was good going there and getting lots of laps. It was a really, really good final race to the season in the winged sprint car. We have a long offseason to make up more ground.”