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

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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.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.