Jim Hollenbeck, EAS Ready For Michigan International Speedway Debut

Race Break Down: Kevin Swindell | No. 98 Curb Records Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota
Start: 12th Finish: 12th 
 
Swindell, also coming off a big win at the 2011 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, competed at DIS for the first time in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
 
The 21-year-old driver started the weekend off with practice, where he was able to gain valuable experience on the recently re-paved surface. Friday afternoon, Swindell laid down a lap of 49.291 seconds (182.589 mph) in qualifying, good enough to land the No. 98 in the 12th spot for the start of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.  Crew chief Jefferson Hodges and Swindell decided not to go out for the happy hour practice on Saturday morning and focused on race strategy taken from the information they received during the test and practice sessions.
 
The green flag waved on the 80-lap event on Saturday afternoon, and Swindell quickly moved into eighth position by lap 11. The yellow flag came out on lap 18 and provided a perfect opportunity for Swindell to come down pit road for his only stop of the day. The crew gave the No. 98 right-side tires and fuel, which would last the remainder of the race.
 
The race resumed and Swindell continued to remain calm, yet aggressive in his driving. By lap 36, Swindell held steady in the 13th position, where he would remain when the red flag waved due to Hackenbracht’s turn four incident on lap 46. Crew chief Hodges strategized with the driver and team during the brief break in racing and decided not to come in for a pit stop.
 
Racing resumed, and Swindell moved up to the ninth position by lap 60. With only 20 laps to go, Hodges encouraged the young driver to remain patient.
 
A chain-reaction accident on lap 64 sent nine cars sprawling across the backstretch, but Swindell was clear from the incident in the ninth position.
 
The final restart of the night would leave a 10-lap shootout. The green flag waved on lap 70, and the top-five cars pulled away, leaving the No. 09 of Benny Gordon, No. 1 of Chad McCumbee and Swindell to play catch-up. Unfortunately, Swindell made a last-lap push to the front but did not find any help from the cars behind him. He crossed the finish line 12th.
 
“It wasn’t too bad of a race,” said Swindell. “We just weren’t at the right place at the right time. We made an attempt to pick up a few spots right there on one of the restarts and got shuffled and never could recover. At the end, I tried to get a few cars behind me to go with me and pick up a few spots, but I got left hanging. We ended up in one piece, and I learned a little bit. Just not too happy.”

Comments