Jeff Swindell Chasing A Dirt-Mile Trifecta

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Jeff Swindell Chasing
Jeff Swindell (21) races Justin Grant during the 2018 Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. (Jim Viviano photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Tennessee veteran Jeff Swindell has achieved many milestones during his long and storied career.

From countless sprint car victories, to two Hoosier Hundred wins, to even serving as a member of A.J. Foyt’s pit crew, Swindell has put his name into many racing record books.

However, he has a chance at history one more time in the rescheduled USAC Silver Crown Series Bettenhausen 100 presented by BRANDT Agricultural Products on Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Swindell is the lone driver who can join a list of 14 other legends that have won at least one championship dirt car race on the three fairground miles of the Midwest: the now-shuttered Indianapolis State Fairgrounds, the Illinois State Fairgrounds and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.

Other active drivers have at least two of the three in their pocket. Russ Gamester, Chris Windom and Brian Tyler have captured the Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield and the Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin, but none were able to win the Hoosier Hundred on what is expected to be a defunct Indy mile, starting next year.

The list of legends who have captured all three starts with Jimmy Bryan, one of four men who can claim they won the Mile Triple Crown in the same season.

In fact, Bryan did so twice, in 1955 and again in 1956.

A.J. Foyt (1964), Al Unser (1970) and Jack Hewitt (1986) are the other same season trifecta winners.

The drivers who won on all three, but not in the same year, are Rodger Ward, Mario Andretti, Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Gary Bettenhausen, George Snider, Chuck Gurney, Jimmy Sills, J.J. Yeley and Kody Swanson, who was the last to join the list.

Swindell won the prestigious Hoosier Hundred in 1991 driving for car owners Tim Delrose and Dale Holt and chief wrench Bob Galas, repeating again in 1993.

He won the 1990 Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin driving for the same team and sat on the pole at Springfield for Delorse-Holt with a new world lap record in 1987, yet victory eluded him then at Springfield.

After a long absence, Swindell rejoined the series in 2016 for owner Mark Swanson, who passed away over the winter. The team has continued on, with Swindell racing to a fourth on the DuQuoin mile, his third top five finish in his last four starts at DuQuoin.

Coming from 28th to third in the 2017 Bettenhausen 100 showed race fans that Swindell can still get the job done in the big cars, and he has intentions of doing so again Sunday.

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