IF a win in just his third meeting last Saturday night is anything to go by, Kiel Swadling is about to take the sprint car world by storm.
Starting in second position for the 20-lap race in the wingless sprints championships, Swadling challenged for the lead for the opening two and a half laps but was made to wait for an opportunity to lead from the front.
When it came, though, the 17-year-old pounced.
“But to his credit he kept his head, kept the high line on the track and then proceeded to clear away from the pack. It was a pretty experienced pack too,” Swadling’s sprint car mentor Mark Garey said.
Garey isn’t wrong when he uses the term experienced when describing the field at Dubbo.
Up against Swadling and his number nine wingless Rhino Promotions/Gatorade Eagle sprint car was Jeremy Cross, who runs sprint cars for a living, while Dubbo’s Mark and Marshall Blyton have dominated on their home track for years.
Still, at one stage Swadling opened up a half a lap lead on the pack.
The young-gun was cruising to his maiden sprint car win.
But nothing ever comes that easy.
With a nigh on unassailable lead, Swadling managed to slide on one of the corners of the Dubbo track, causing him to lose control of his car and perform a full 360 degree turn.
It gave the chasing pack a chance at victory - but a chance is all they got.
Swadling re-grouped then went on to win his first sprint car race in just his third start after coming out of the junior drivers championship (14-17 year olds) half-way through the season.
“He can go a long way if he sticks at it,” Garey enthused.
“It was only his third meeting and it’s difficult to do, it’s daunting to do what he has done and what he achieved on Saturday night is one of the toughest things for a driver to do.
“He kept his head and kept it tidy.”
Garey has worked tirelessly with Swadling to get his preparation for an assault on the sprint car championship right and said the jump from sedans to sprint cars was a massive one.
“It’s probably like going from go-karts to Formula Fords,” he explained.
“It’s a big step up. He’s now up against the upper echelon of sprint car drivers.”
Swadling’s is back in action this weekend, however, he’ll be driving his sedan at Cullenbullen.
The change down a grade won’t worry Swadling though.
“He’s a pretty experienced racer,” Garey said.