Outlaws: 3-time champ Sammy Swindell retires from full-time racing

2 Comments

After four decades of racing, three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell has announced that he is retiring from full-time racing, effective immediately.

In a statement, Swindell indicated that he would like to continue driving in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals but wanted more time to be with his son, Kevin, as he competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

“Part of the reason for the timing now is I’ve spent the last two weekends with my son, Kevin, racing,” the elder Swindell said. “I haven’t had any time to spend with his racing the last four years. He will drive a Nationwide car for the rest of the year and I want to be there to support him.”

Sammy also said that he was planning on either retiring or running a limited 2015 schedule before he made his final decision.

He will finish his Outlaws career with 294 victories, which makes him No. 2 all-time on the series’ win list. Among Sammy’s wins are some of sprint car racing’s biggest events, including the Kings Royal, the Knoxville Nationals, and the aforementioned Chili Bowl, where he’s won five times – the most out of any driver.

He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2006.

Sammy also had limited runs in NASCAR and IndyCar racing across the 1980s and 1990s. He ran two Sprint Cup events, one in 1985 and another in 1991. On the open-wheel side, he ran three CART races in 1985 and 1986 but failed to qualify for the 1987 Indianapolis 500.

As for Kevin Swindell, he too has done well for himself in sprint car racing as the youngest driver ever to win an Outlaws main event and the only driver to win the Chili Bowl four consecutive times.

He has competed in three Nationwide Series races so far this year for JGL Racing alongside NASCAR veteran J.J. Yeley. The team is one of several in the series that run Dodge Challengers without factory support.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Leave a comment

When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Follow @JerryBonkowski