Georgia Native Evan Swilling took his first laps around Bristol Motor Speedway at the first open test session for the Short Track U.S. Nationals two weeks ago. Being the definition of a short-track racer, the 25-year-old driver hasn’t raced on anything bigger than the half-mile triangle of Concord Speedway in Concord, NC. Even though Concord Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway are both half miles, they’re drastically different.
“We have only raced at 3/8ths miles and the only half mile we raced on was Concord Speedway which is a triangle so nothing like that. You can’t really compare this (Bristol) to anything with the banking. We don’t go anywhere as late model racers. We don’t go anywhere else that has this banking,” Swilling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Like many first-time racers, his experience on the high banks was something he more than likely wont forget.
“It was an awesome experience to be here. They said it would be unlike anything I have ever experienced and they were right. Tons of grip in the track and you can about go wide open. The car felt great, the attitude of the car was awesome, and can’t thank Chase Pistone enough. It was definitely an experience and I am excited.”
Of the four sessions that were offered to the Late Model Stock drivers on the open test day, Swilling only took part in the first test session. Following the session, his team loaded the car and got ready to depart the track feeling extremely confident in what they learned.
“I am very confident in the car we brought. Chase Pistone did an awesome job. As they said in the drivers meeting, ‘If you find a good rhythm and a good speed just park it’ so we took their advice and we are going to head home and hopefully be back in May. “
Although his laps may have been limited, he felt like he got the whole Bristol experience as he was the fastest Late Model Stock Car in his lone practice session.
“The track just sucks you down in the seat and its an incredible feeling. I can’t imagine what these cup guys feel like and they have twice the horse power we do so its exciting and I am just thankful to do this.”
Something Swilling put an emphasis on is the uncertainty of the rest of the season and his hopes to eventually move up. But to move up, like many racers, the Georgia driver is looking for help.
“We are still looking for any help for Bristol or even the rest of the season and into 2018. This race has the potential to be expensive and we want to put our best foot forward and into the rest the season.”
While moving up is every driver’s dream, with the expenses comes the adaptation of larger and faster tracks, including Bristol Motor Speedway, which is one of the shorter tracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
“That was a big thing to get used too and its cool to see what the Cup guys feel like every weekend. Like my crew chief told me, this is what it feels like every where you go every weekend so you had better get used to it if you’re going to move up. Its going to be an awesome experience.”
The second and final test session before the big inaugural event is this Saturday May 13th. Teams will come from all over to get track time before the Short Track U.S. Nationals kick off May 19-21.
Speed51.com will be there with Trackside Now coverage as well as LIVE pay-per-view coverage of the Short Track U.S Nationals available for an early bird special rate of $44.99. Fans are encouraged to click here to purchase.
-By Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Contributor – Twitter: @HannahNewhouse
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com