SAMMY’S BACK: Swindell Returns to the World of Outlaws in 2009
What is shaping up to be one of the most competitive, if not the most competitive field in the history of the World of Outlaws just got even stronger, with the announcement by three-time series champion Sammy Swindell that he will return to the series full-time in 2009 to battle for his fourth title.
Swindell, who claimed World of Outlaws titles in 1981 and 1982 as well as 1997, will pilot the No. 10 Maxim for Tom Rolfe Racing with Don Ott power. The team is based in Chico, California, but will be run out of Swindell’s shop in his home state of Tennessee. The 2006 inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame ran a number of races for the team last season on the West Coast, winning at Placerville Speedway in California and finishing fifth in the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.
“It was Tom’s decision,” said Swindell of the decision to take to the road this year with the World of Outlaws beginning in Florida. “He wanted to go down there for the first races of the year. We are going to try and make a statement there. I am excited to be competing with the Outlaws.”
Swindell joins three fellow World of Outlaws champions in the mix this year, including his longtime rival, 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz and 2001 series titlist Danny Lasoski. This will be just the second time in the 31-year history of the series that four former champions have competed full-time in the same year, as Swindell, Steve Kinser, Mark Kinser and Dave Blaney all were on the tour in 1997.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher all the time,” Swindell noted of the competition with the World of Outlaws. “There are not many advantages anymore that you can have. The biggest advantage that you can have is to have a big budget and smart people.”
The native of Germantown, Tenn. is second on the all-time win list with 268 A-Feature victories entering the 2009 campaign. His first World of Outlaws A-Feature win came at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Texas during the series inaugural 1978 season. He has won in 28 different seasons with the series, with his most recent triumph coming in 2006 at the famed Eldora Speedway, winning both nights of a two-day show.
Swindell’s quest for a fourth World of Outlaws championship will begin next week at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida during the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. In his career at the half-mile, he has two wins and 10 Top-10 finishes in just 12 starts.
“It will be nice to get down to Florida and get started,” said Swindell. “I haven’t been there for a few years. I have won there a few times. It will be nice to be back in something where I can have some control and run the team like I used to.”
While he has not competed full-time with the World of Outlaws for a number of years, Swindell knows very well what it takes to be fast night in and night out and expects to be quick right out of the box next week. Of the first 15 tracks on the 2009 World of Outlaws schedule, he has won at 13 of them.
“Just winning some races,” said Swindell, when asked what would make it a good season. “We want to show what we can do. I have been competitive when I get back in a car, and there have been some big gaps in there. I was helping (son) Kevin out there for a bit with his things and had been driving just whatever was around. It will be good to be back out there.”
Swindell already has a few races under his belt this season, turning in a perfect performance at the 23rd Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. winning the Race of Champions, as well as the first qualifying night and also the 50-lap main event for the fifth time in his career.
The 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series seasons kicks off February 6-8 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. For more information on the event, including tickets, visit http://www.dirtcarnationals.com.