Sunday likely will be the biggest day of the season at Twin Cities Raceway Park.
Ted Collins and his family have been involved in the promotion of racing at Twin Cities through most of the track’s history. Collins’ widow, Sue Collins, now runs the concession operation; and his sons, Trent and Tory Collins, promote racing at the track.
Trent and Tory own a late-model racer, but their work at the track has kept the car in the shop. Trent Collins turns the wrenches, and Tory does the driving. I’m told that the car has a new paint job, and the Collins brothers will be racing for their first Ted Collins Memorial Championship.
Sprint car fans always have been split between those partial to Sammy Swindell and those firmly planted in Steve Kinser’s corner.
Like all good rivalries, it had to end sometime. Although Kinser’s participation had been more continuous than had Swindell’s, both had been a factor for decades. Swindell who will turn 59 in October has 294 wins to his credit — just short of half of those tallied by Kinser.
Earlier this season, Kinser announced that he would no longer chase World of Outlaw points. Nowhere in Kinser’s announcement was the word “retirement” used. Perhaps it was implied and Kinser’s fans were simply unable to accept a loss of that magnitude all at once.
In any event, there are almost certainly a lot of Kinser fans who would like to have the opportunity to cheer for him at the Knoxville Nationals, the Kings’ Royal and perhaps at other major races.
It has now become apparent that Kinser’s announcement was only the first. From his Germantown, Tennessee, headquarters, Swindell made an announcement stating in part, “After the last two weeks of our break from racing I have decided to retire from racing. I would still like to still drive my midget in the Chili Bowl ....”
In making his announcement, Swindell recognized the support that he had enjoyed from Tod Quiring, founder of his sponsor, Big Game Treestands.
Swindell cited the opportunity to spend more time with his son, Kevin. The younger Swindell is scheduled to spend the rest of the season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Whatever else happens, it seems certain that the elder Swindell intends to continue to compete in the Chili Bowl. Perhaps Kinser might line up a Chili Bowl ride of his own. This is the kind of rivalry Lanny Edwards and Emmett Hahn would live to have for the pre-race hype. Kinser has run the Chili Bowl in the Keith Kunz Motorsports livery.
Recent Chili Bowl entries for the Swindells have been “purpose built” cars. Since they are raced only in the Chili Bowl, they don’t have to consider specifications for any sanctioning body. However, the cars entered by Pete Willoughby and Keith Kunz are expected to be used in USAC and POWRi competition throughout the season.
U.S. Nationals racing
At least three of the local contingent of U.S. Nationals entrants made the trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where they got in one last test session prior to the Nationals. David Neal led the local contingent, advancing to the fifth round. Ernie Neal and Dave Tincher also had good test sessions. However, the elder Neal was the only one to return to Indiana with a “race ready” car.
Neal is, of course, the leader of this wily band of dragsters. Both the younger Neal and Tincher returned from Bowling Green with minor engine issues to be addressed. The elder Neal is confident that all three racers will be ready when it is time for them to make their first pass.
Tim McKinney writes a weekly racing column for The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5632.