Inside Line Promotions – TULSA, Okla. (Jan. 19, 2015) – Kevin Swindell continued an amazing feat last weekend when he recorded a top-two finish during the famed Chili Bowl for the sixth consecutive year.
Swindell outlasted an event record of more than 325 drivers to score a runner-up result on Saturday to cap the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the River Spirit Expo Center.
“Once you win four years in a row there isn’t much else to go there for other than to win,” he said. “Just like last year we had the car to beat again and didn’t have the breaks. Everything went right for four years and just not the last two years. It’s just staying out of somebody else’s mistake and eliminating as many of yours as possible. We had a couple of each this year.”
Swindell opened the event last Tuesday by advancing from 14th to sixth place during the 20-lap Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions. He continued to move forward from the start of his Chili Bowl preliminary night on Thursday.
Swindell maneuvered from third to second place in his heat race and he was leading his qualifier when the airbox came off the car. That caused a caution and officials moved Swindell to the back for the restart with a handful of laps remaining.
“I’m not sure if it bounced wrong on the cushion one lap or what happened,” he said. “(The track) was a little rough in that qualifier. The way those sit so low it could have been a piece of the cushion came up. There was no one to blame for it.”
He rebounded to finish fifth in the qualifier, which relegated him to a B Main. Swindell won the consolation race to transfer into the back of the main event. However, he was caught up in an early crash that sent him to the work area with a flat right front tire.
Swindell spent the remainder of the 30-lap feature battling from the back and with the help of a caution in the closing laps, he mounted a late bid to score the third-and-final lock-in position for Saturday’s main event. It also earned him the Hard Charger Award.
“That was big,” he said. “Luckily we got that one caution at the end to bunch everybody back up and it allowed me to sneak through there and get to third. You don’t want to have to run those B Mains on Saturday. It just eliminates the chance of anymore mistakes or things you can’t control.”
Swindell lined up on the outside of the fifth row for the 55-lap feature on Saturday, but he was once again involved in a crash early. The collision bent the right front shock and it forced Swindell to restart at the back.
Just like during his preliminary night, Swindell rallied from the rear of the field toward the front. He was up to fourth during a caution with 17 laps remaining before he made a late push for the lead.
“On that last restart I was third and (Andrew) Deal didn’t get going very well and let Rico (Abreu) get way out,” he said. “I had to ease through the slick to get by him. By the time I cleared him to second Rico was nearly a half a lap ahead. I was inching back to him, but he didn’t make too many mistakes. I biked once pretty good and gave up about half of what I gained in those laps. I was struggling to get off turn two with that shock being bent. I got back to him coming to the white flag, but didn’t have a run.”
Swindell finished second for the second straight year after winning four consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals.
“It always sucks to get beat,” he said. “We’ll go back next year and try again. I think we’re the car to beat and I look forward to the 2016 Chili Bowl.”
QUICK RESULTS –
Jan. 13 – Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. – Race of Champions: 6 (14).
Jan. 15 – Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. – Heat race: 2 (3); Qualifier: 5 (2); B Main: 1 (3); Feature: 3 (18).
Jan. 17 – Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. – Feature: 2 (10).
SEASON STATS –
3 races, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 3 top 10s, 3 top 15s, 3 top 20s
UP NEXT –
MEDIA LINKS –
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – John Christner Trucking
Established in 1986, John Christner Trucking has grown into a giant in the trucking industry. For more information, visit http://www.JohnChristner.com.
“John Christner Trucking has been an integral part of our program at the Chili Bowl for a long time,” Swindell said. “We appreciate the support and partnership that John and his team bring to our program.”
Swindell would also like to thank Mike Curb and Curb Records, Spike, Esslinger, Big Game Treestands, Aggressive Hydraulics, Rossie Feed & Grain, South Bay Partners, Arai Helmets, Racing Optics, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Restas.com, J. Davidson Scrap Metal, RPM Truck & Trailer and all of the various sponsors for their continued support.