CONCORD, NC (April 14, 2020) – Kevin Swindell was reminded what victory with the World of Outlaws tastes like last week and even though it was virtual, he showed Tuesday night he craved more.
After a heartwarming win at the virtual Knoxville Raceway last Wednesday — Swindell’s first World of Outlaws win since enduring a career ending spinal injury at the track in 2015 — he was no longer an underdog going into the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car iRacing Invitational at Lernerville Speedway on DIRTVision. “The Bulldog” was back in full force in a race he said was the “most fun one so far.”
Swindell was aggressive in his pursuit to another victory by dominating the Comp Cams Heat Race and making an early charge to the lead in the 35-lap NOS Energy Drink Feature.
Pennsylvania’s Robbie Kendall was on the pole after setting Cometic Gaskets Quick Time and winning the Drydene Heat Race. He’s been knocking on the door of a Feature win for the past few races but can never find the luck to get it done.
Swindell made an early charge for the lead, dueling with Kendall and two-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car iRacing winner Logan Seavey for the top spot. On Lap 5, while racing wheel to wheel with Kendall, the two made contact going into Turn 1, turning Kendall’s car sideways and then hit off track. Swindell was the benefactor and inherited the lead.
Kendall took to Twitter after the race and said, “One of these races I’m going to catch a break! I had the Fatheadz car rolling tonight. On to next week!”
The race then turned to Swindell, Seavey and Tony Gualda. Seavey proved to be the biggest challenge at first, staying on Swindell’s bumper for the next three laps as Swindell ran the middle lane and Seavey ran the top. However, Seavey made a rare mistake and slid off the banking in Turn 2.
The next 20 laps were a duel between Swindell and Gualda. While Swindell led, Gualda ran wherever he could find the virtual moisture to close on the #39 Swindell Speedlab car. His best line was up top and Swindell knew it. Once Gualda caught him, Swindell moved high to take his line away, forcing Gualda to try and make the pass down low. While he could get side by side with Swindell each corner, Gualda could never best Swindell’s run off the turn.
On a restart with 10 laps to go, Gualda dove ahead of Swindell into Turn 1 to take the lead, but “the Bulldog” was not going to let Gualda pull away. He charged to the inside of Gualda’s #99 car and threw a slide job at him in Turn 3 to take the lead back.
Gualda wasn’t done, either. He, again, dove his car ahead of Swindell’s into Turn 1. And like his last attempt, he couldn’t make it stick. Swindell charged back underneath him down the backstretch and the two made contact while racing side by side back into Turn 3.
That allowed Swindell to reclaim the lead, but Gualda came after him with a head of steam down the front stretch. While closing on Swindell and going to make a move to his inside, Gualda hit the rear of the #39 car. That caused Gualda to turn into the wall and go off track, ending his night.
“The restart I just didn’t get going very good,” Swindell said. “I ran at least a good entry to one and found some grip to get me back up next to him (Gualda) and I think he went to try and protect down the back and didn’t really know I was there. I maybe got lucky with him making a mistake there and not having to race him to the end.”
NASCAR-star Chase Briscoe lined up second behind Swindell on the final restart but couldn’t make a similar charge as Gualda. Swindell ran away with his second World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car iRacing Invitational win in-a-row.
“At the end I felt like I was a little bit better than Tony (Gualda) before that last caution,” Briscoe said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pass Kevin running the same (bottom) line, so I tried to search around for some stuff. I just wasn’t as good. Ended up losing too much ground to Kevin trying to slide him at the end. Kevin has been really good in all of these races. I’m just glad to see someone other than Logan (Seavey) win one of these things.”
Swindell admitted it was not an easy win, though.
“It felt like I was running maybe quarter throttle the whole lap,” Swindell said about dealing with the track conditions. “Not really in my comfort zone, but a lot of fun. Really enjoyed having to search and race. That’s probably been the most fun race we’ve had so far with no one line better than the other. You kind of had to go all over. It was a lot of fun.”
Justyn Cox rounded out the podium in third and Troy Wagaman Jr. earned the KSE Hard Charger award with a strong run from 22nd to ninth.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car iRacing Invitational will return Tuesday, April 21, on DIRTVision at 7 p.m. (ET).