CONCORD, N.C. – A last-minute conversation led to a very familiar opportunity for Spencer Bayston to return to the Can-Am World Finals this weekend at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Bayston, from Lebanon, Ind., is returning to the Swindell SpeedLab No. 39 for this weekend’s two-night World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season finale, the same team he drove for on a part-time basis last season before taking the leap into full-time 410 competition this year.
After an up-and-down year that saw Bayston depart Pete Grove’s Premier Motorsports operation mid-season, the 21-year-old is pleased to be back in a familiar situation with a shot to win this weekend.
“It feels really good,” Bayston told Sprint Car & Midget of being back with owner Kevin Swindell. “This is where I got my feet wet first in the sprint car. We built a lot over those last couple of years, and obviously it’s been a little bit since I’ve been in this car, but we left off on a really good foot here last year. Coming back to this track with these guys, I feel ultra-comfortable going into it.
“We’re looking forward to getting back together and seeing what we can do with this thing.”
Bayston, who dabbled in a Hayward-Thomas Motorsports midget during the early fall but hadn’t been in a sprint car on a big stage since the Knoxville Nationals in August, admitted that he didn’t have plans to run the World Finals before the Swindells reached out to him in the days leading up to the race.
“Jordan actually just texted me the other night to ask if I could do this, so it came together quick,” Bayston said. “Obviously their thing this year was running the big races … or the races that matter, I should say, and putting the right people in their seat. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come back and drive this thing. Yes, it was kind of last minute, but we are here and the car is ready to go.
“I know this thing will have speed, so hopefully I haven’t forgotten how to drive in circles and we can have a good weekend.”
Though he hasn’t been driving a sprint car – or with the Swindells, more specifically – in recent months, Bayston said it was a fairly-seamless step back in with the No. 39 team and that he feels ready going into the pursuit of a pair of victories.
“It’ll be just like riding a bicycle, hopefully,” joked Bayston, who ran fourth and sixth in last year’s World Finals features with the SpeedLab operation. “It’s a good feeling knowing how good we were here last year. I was talking to Kevin a little bit ago and just mentioning how this is pretty much the same car. We’re going to do the same stuff to it, and maybe try a couple of different things here and there, but overall, we’ve got a pretty good notebook for here at Charlotte, I feel like.
“All of that makes me feel a little more comfortable and a little more confident coming into this deal.”