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Swindell Looks To Add To Amazing Track Record At Riverside International Speedway

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Sammy Swindell will have an opportunity to return to his home track this weekend as the World of Outlaws make their lone stop this season in the state of Arkansas on Friday, April 24 at Riverside International Speedway.

Home Sweet Home: Swindell looks to add to amazing track record at Riverside International Speedway

West Memphis, AR-- April 23, 2009—Sammy Swindell has won countless races at tracks from coast-to-coast, and has amassed impressive records at most of the tracks he has visited, but one place that stands above and beyond all the rest in terms of victories is his home track of Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The native of nearby Germantown, Tennessee competed for the first time at the always racy ¼-mile in 1971 at just 15 years of age in a modified. He climbed into a sprint car two years later and won for the first at the track in a sprinter in 1974. That year he won the track championship in both the sprint car and the modified divisions. Over the years, Swindell has racked up 59 wins at the track and has finished in the Top-10 in each and every event he has ever competed in there.

Swindell will have an opportunity to return to his home track this weekend as the World of Outlaws make their lone stop this season in the state of Arkansas on Friday, April 24 at Riverside International Speedway.

“It will nice to get back,” said Swindell. “I know the track is a little bit different and things aren’t exactly the way they used to be 25 years ago. It will be fun though.”

The three-time World of Outlaws champion has competed just twice at the track in the last 20 years. He finished eighth last season with the All Star Circuit of Champions at the ¼-mile and prior to that was second in an event in 1989. He won a career-best 14 races at the track in 1977 and won at least one race there each and every year from 1974 through 1981. He went undefeated at the track in 1976, 1978 and 1983 winning all of the starts he made in those years at his home track.

“I haven’t been there in a real long time,” he noted. “I ran there last year in the All Stars race in a last minute deal in a 12-year old car. We had a pretty good run. It will be nice to get there with this series and the car that I have and see what I can do.”

Similar to when the World of Outlaws go to Central Pennsylvania and the locals know the tracks like the back of their hand that was the case for Swindell at Riverside early in his career when the travelers would roll into town. He learned every inch of the track and what line worked best in different situations.

“It’s a place where you can be very aggressive with the car,” explained the 2006 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee. “It was always sticky and always really fast and you were always in traffic. That is what I grew up doing. A lot of people would come in there and have a real hard time, because most of the places that they raced at were either drier or slicker. In the same way, I had trouble when I left there and went to run those other places.”

The surface at Riverside International Raceway is a unique mixture of gumbo that lends itself to being a very tacky track, and the tight quarters usually place the leaders in the lapped traffic for a majority of the race. With nearly perfect weather forecasted for the event on Friday, April 24 the track should lend itself to great racing throughout the field as he been traditionally been the trademark at the ¼-mile which is celebrating its 60th anniversary of racing this season.

“Going back, I am hoping that the track will be close to how it was when I used to run there and we can have some fun,” he shared. “It was a little different last year with everyone running around the bottom and I was in a steel-block car, so I can’t really relate much of that to going there this year.”

Swindell has been close to winning a couple of times this season aboard the Tom Rolfe Trucking Maxim for the team based out of California. He enters the weekend sixth in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of eight Top-10 finishes, with four of those being Top-Fives. He last competed with the World of Outlaws at Riverside in 1981, winning that event. He has five Top-five finishes in six starts with the series at his home track and has finished ninth or better every time out with the World of Outlaws at the track dating back to 1979. He is second on the all-time win list with the World of Outlaws, beginning this season with 268 A-Feature victories.

“I’ve won a lot of races there and took a lot of money out of that place,” Swindell said. “It would be nice to come back and do the same thing this weekend.”

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.