Justin Swanstrom carved his name into the tree of grudge racing by having a reputation of never backing down from a race. With the help of his father and team, Swanstrom terrorized the no-time world, racing for some huge pots of money at tracks all over the east coast. Having an attitude where you are willing to take on anyone has led Swanstrom back to class racing and the bare-knuckle brawl that is Radial vs The World and he’s ready to take that fight to the Sweet 16 at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
Swanstrom made his RVW debut at the U.S. Street Nationals where he quickly proved his 3.73 pass on a 275-sized radial tire wasn’t a fluke. The biggest lesson Swanstrom learned at the U.S. Street Nationals is that RVW racing isn’t for the faint of heart.
“The competition is a lot tougher in Radial vs the World compared to what we’re used to. Everybody in this class runs well all the time, I knew we could run well too, but the competition is stiff. We were able to go out and run a 3.72 on our first hit at Bradenton and qualified number two. That felt really good and gave us a nice boost of confidence being our first event. We ended up kicking the tires in eliminations but that’s how racing goes,” Swanstrom says.
The transition from grudge and no-time racing to class racing hasn’t been difficult for Swanstrom. In the past, he’s done some class racing and knew what to expect coming into RVW. Even with that past experience, it can be difficult to jump into such a highly competitive category like RVW. Swanstrom has kept his mind clear and that has helped prepare for the challenges that RVW can present to a team.
“To be able to race in this environment with all of these big name racers is an honor for me. The biggest difference going from grudge to class racing is money. You can gamble for a whole lot more in grudge racing. Another big difference is the sheer amount of passes you make in class racing. I’ll make double the amount of passes this year compared to last year just with the qualifying hits alone. We don’t test as much just so we can save wear and tear on the engine at these big events.”
Picking up the learning curve for this level of racing has been made easier with all of these extra hits at the track. To have the ability to make all the passes needed to get a handle on the car Swanstrom has secured a core group of sponsors that support him.
“I couldn’t do this without all the sponsors that we picked up to go Radial vs The World racing. I made the transition to get my name out there more and be able to get sponsors. I’ve got companies like Speed and Truck World, Team Z Motorsports, Fast Forward Racing Engines, Pat Musi Racing Engines, Santhuff Shocks, Carolina No Time, Signature Metal Fab, R&R and Fab, and Payso Productions helping out. I’ve been able to form a great team around me and I think we’re going to have a successful year,” Swanstrom says.
Swanstrom took on the challenge of the toughest drag radial race with the vigor of a seasoned veteran at Lights Out 10 and qualified number eight in the field with a 3.71. That effort not only put him in the top half of the field, it also made him the quickest nitrous car on the property at Lights Out 10. With a taste for what it takes to run against the best in the radial world look for the Swanstrom camp to be a factor at Duck X Productions Sweet 16 in a few weeks.