Kevin Swindell: Looks To Open Eyes in Daytona ARCA Race
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If you have not heard of Kevin Swindell, it may be because he has raced everything but NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The talented 21 year-old has shown off his skills on dirt and asphalt and now has set his sights on Daytona as he looks to catch on with one of the best teams in ARCA, Eddie Sharp Racing.
At the moment Swindell has a one race deal for this season with ESR but is hoping it leads to more work. Swindell raced the last race of the 2010 ARCA season with ESR and captured the pole then finished second in the race held at the famed Rockingham Speedway.
Swindell's 2011 racing season began with a defense of his 2010 Chili Bowl Nationals by winning his second Golden Driller Trophy in January, edging his famous father Sammy Swindell in the process. The Chili Bowl Nationals is the largest and most prestigious midget race in the country and is held indoors in Tulsa, Oklahoma every January.
Swindell has been making waves on the open wheel circuit for many years but now his hook up with Eddie Sharp Racing could lead him to the next level.
Swindell took time out of his busy Friday just before qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona to talk with Bleacher Report regarding the upcoming 2011 schedule, his future plans and goals for this season and the future.
B/R: What's your take on the new NASCAR rules limiting drivers to one circuit on which they're eligible for the title. Will it help you find more opportunities in Nationwide this season?
Kevin: A lot of people look at the driver points and not the owner points. It won't stop Kyle Busch from running and winning all those races but it will help other drivers' exposure by being at the top of the points.
B/R: Do you have anything in the works for Nationwide this year?
Kevin: A lot of teams say they would love to have you but it comes down to sponsorship money. Hopefully something comes along so we can go full time.
B/R: What are your thoughts on Danica Patrick? Will she eventually be a legitimate contender in a stock car?
Kevin: I think she is the best girl they (NASCAR) have had so far.
Her Indy car staff, they got her a good ride and she did pretty well. Over time she can compete as a Nationwide driver. I don't think she will ever be as tough as Tony Stewart or Kyle Busch but they are the better than anybody out there. She will be a good Nationwide driver.
B/R: What about Mika Dunno racing with you this weekend?
Kevin: She is next to us in the garage and she makes a lot of noise. She still thinks she is in an Indy car and that thing is screaming when she lets the clutch out.
B/R: How did your involvement in the Gillette Evernham Development Program affect your career?
Who Will Win ARCA 200 Saturday?
Kevin: I was working with Ray (Evernham) first, they picked me up pre-Gillette and then at the end of 2008 going into 2009 we were working on a new contract when the economy fell apart.
B/R: Will you race any K&N Series this year?
Kevin: I would like to do some K&N East races but there are a lot of 16-22 year old drivers that are racing in that series that are not worried about their cars. They care more about winning than wrecking. I wouldn't mind running the Loudon and Dover races though.
B/R: What will you consider a successful season in 2011?
Kevin: It comes down to the opportunities. We haven't secured anything yet so it comes down to making the most of the opportunities we have and to be successful in all events I am able to race.
B/R: In the interview this week with Adam Fenwick of National Speed Sport News you said you would rather compete in the Indianapolis 500 than the Daytona 500. Are you seeking a ride in IRL anytime soon?
Kevin: Places like Indianapolis and Monaco have always been where my dream is. I think F1 is the highest form of motorsport in my opinion. It would be the ultimate to race in F1. Obviously getting an opportunity at Daytona is a great as well and I am looking forward to it.
B/R: Will you race any open wheel series in your down time this year or sit that on the back burner?
Kevin: "Last year was the least I've done ever and I would like to get back to more races. Kevin laughed and said, "I wish they would run the Chili Bowl four times a year."
Swindell said of his father Sammy's reaction after Kevin won his second consecutive Chili Bowl by inches over his dad, "I don't know if he was upset or happy. It was awkward for him he didn't know what to do. He was happy for me and happy we ran one and two but upset that he lost."
B/R: What have been your favorite tracks to race in a stock car?
Kevin: Dover and Loudon as far as stock car tracks we have gone to are my favorites and I liked racing at Gateway last year. Bummed that they took that off the Nationwide schedule now.
B?R: How do like Daytona so far?
Kevin: These cars don't suck up as well as the Nationwide and the Cup cars from what I hear. I was talking to Tony Stewart and he was telling me that the Cup and Nationwide cars match up better and they are able to bump draft and that sounds like it would be fun.
B/R: What is your strategy going into this race? Will you run up front or head to the back?
Kevin: Depends on how we do in qualifying.
Cup races are a little safer working your way up through the pack. Even though those guys say it is messy in the middle. For Saturday's race I have to take what I can get, be safe and make sure I have myself in the right position at the end.
B/R: How do you rate yourself as a stock car driver on a scale of 1-10 and why?
Kevin: I feel like I am able to compete with these guys right out of the box. There is still stuff I need to learn. I consider myself a seven. It is still early in my stock car career. I have run 20-25 races in stock cars and I would say in time I will be able to improve on that.
BR: You were on Twitter @KevinSwindell posting on the Super Bowl. Is that your favorite sport?
Kevin: Yeah football is my favorite sport and then once March Madness starts I get into college basketball.
One thing will be certain at Daytona this weekend. Kevin Swindell will be up front and many new fans will know his name before the checkered flag falls on the ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. Keep an eye on the No. 98 Curb Records Toyota this weekend, it will be an exciting super speedway debut.
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