Four Score For Kevin Swindell
TULSA, Okla. — It took 25 years for a driver to win back to back Lucas Oil Chili Bowl National titles.
But since then Kevin Swindell has gone home with the Golden Driller every year, grabbing his fourth consecutive victory in the prestigious event at Tulsa Expo Raceway Saturday night.
Drawing the No. 2 pill, Swindell positioned his U.S. Fleet Tracking No. 39 alongside his dad Sammy’s Spike No. 1 for an all Swindell front row.
Following a complete restart, Kevin paced where he started before surrounding the runner-up spot to Kyle Larson just prior to the caution involving a half dozen drivers including Tony Stewart, Billy Wease, Bryan Clauson, Jac Haudenschild, Jerry Coons, Jr. and Jonathan Beason.
Another yellow flag came when Brady Bacon flipped on the frontstretch. Sammy Swindell paced the field to the restart with Larson keeping within three car lengths.
Working the cushion around the Tulsa Expo Raceway, the John Christner Trucking No. 39 worked back into contention for the runner-up spot. Running inches apart, Swindell and Larson traded the spot several times with Larson holding the advantage every time the pair crossed the line.
Following a lap-10 yellow flag after Jason Meyers spun, Larson took the lead on lap 13. Larson and Sammy Swindell swapped slide jobs before Kevin Swindell entered the battle and the trio raced three wide with Larson taking the lead and Kevin Swinell grabbing second.
For the next five laps, the pair brought the sold out crowd to attention; screaming over the sound of the cars with the pair putting on a display of haymaker style slide-jobs that ended when Larson exiting turn four on lap 18.
“That was fun,” Kevin Swindell said. “We’ve been friends a long time and we’ve raced a lot of Sim racing and battled it out but I don’t think we’ve ever got to race, you know, real race and battle it out like that. We both have a lot of respect for each other so I think it showed that we were at least clearing each other. ”
With the lead in hand, Kevin Swindell pulled to a 3.367-second advantage before running down slower traffic on lap 30 as Larson’s night ended when he brought out his second caution flag of the race.
Sammy Swindell chased his son into lapped traffic during the closing laps and when Kevin Swindell had contact with a lapped car, Sammy narrowed the gap as the white flag waved.
“I tried to just get in line behind Jason (Meyers) and I think he had just kind of given up and he went in there real slow and I couldn’t even get slowed up that much and hopped over his right rear and the first nose I saw as black and all I thought was, well, there he goes,” said Kevin Swindell.
With both Swindells kept rolling and Kevin Swindell raced away from his dad to claim his fourth straight Chili Bowl triumph.
Sammy Swindell, a five-time Chili Bowl winner, called the accomplishment remarkable considering it’s been both cars up front for the past five years now.
Brad Sweet, after challenging earlier for the runner-up spot, settled for third with Tim McCreadie and Dave Darland following to complete the top five.
Jerry Coons, Jr. advanced eight spots to finish sixth with Shane Golobic coming from 16th to seventh. Bryan Clauson improved a dozen spots to eighth with Billy Wease posting his best A-Feature finish of ninth while earning the Hard Charger of the Race, coming from his 22nd starting spot.
Cory Kruseman rounded out the top 10.