Grudge racing superstar Justin “Lil Country” Swanstrom broke the internet two weeks ago at Orlando Speed World Dragway’s No Guts No Glory 6 no-time race. The only problem was, the internet didn’t know about it.
Swanstrom, one of grudge and no-time racing’s most feared players, uncorked a series of numbers that still don’t seem possible while competing with the clocks off at Orlando, and two weeks after the fact — and much to the angst of his competitors — he’s letting the whole world in on his little secret.
Running on 275 drag radials for the first time with his new-to-him Pro Modified-style Chevrolet Camaro, Swanstrom clocked a 3.85 right off the trailer in testing, matching Jeff Miller’s 3.85-second record on 275 radials — a number that was stunning in and of itself at the time. Then, testing with the clocks off at the OrlandoWorld Street Nationals in November, he laid down a 3.77 at 197.22 mph, dipping into uncharted and previously unbelievable territory.
But he wasn’t done.
At No Guts No Glory, with optimum conditions on tap and the combination on-kill, Swanstrom dropped an eye-popping 3.738 at 197.25 mph, breaking the 275 record by more than a tenth of a second and, frankly, surpassing any preconceived limitations of the 275 radial that anyone possibly had. At the time, of course, no one but Swanstrom and his inner circle knew of the monumental numbers. That was, until the no-time community poked the bear.
“We’re going to run Radial versus The World next year, so I can post whatever I want now. I posted up that .77 ticket and everyone thought it was from No Guts No Glory, but it wasn’t. It was like the third or fourth hit on the car with the 275’s,” Swanstrom tells. “I wasn’t going to post up anything from the last race because I wanted to respect the other racers, but everybody kept getting on me. I had so many racers that I said, ‘you all keep [expletive] around I’m just gonna’ go ahead and post it up. They kept doing it, so I called up Payso who does all my videos and said ‘let’s do a video, forget it.’ ”
Swanstrom adds, “it went the .77 on the fourth pass on 275s. My dad and I had to move some weight and everything around to make it work. We ran numerous low 3.80s and high 3.70s, and in testing at No Guts No Glory we went the one .73, but we didn’t get a chance to back it up.”
No one else could have fathomed a 3.73 on 275s, so did Swanstrom?
“I really didn’t. I knew we could run a good number but that was kind of a miracle. I’m pretty sure if we really tested on it, we’d definitey be able to back it up or probably go a little quicker, we just have to make the numbers up front faster. It could be done, it’s just putting the work in. Jeff went the .85 and we went a couple numbers faster pretty quick, and I’d kind of been telling people on the internet but couldn’t really post anything since we were running no-time.”
“My dad and I were talking and we felt like if we put the videos and the ticket out there, maybe someone will catch on and feel like this team is running really good right now and we can partner up and do some kind of sponsorship. It was more about getting it out there to see if I can get a couple more sponsors for next year,” he adds.
I wasn’t going to post up anything from the last race because I wanted to respect the other racers, but everybody kept getting on me. I had so many racers that I said, ‘you all keep [expletive] around I’m just gonna’ go ahead and post it up.
Swanstrom debuted the car at Donald Long’s No Mercy IX in South Georgia in September in 315 radials in the no-time class and campaigned the car at various venues in the weeks that followed, clocking only low 3.80’s, he shares. Not wanting to upset his follow no-time competitors, he kept his intentions to move to Radial versus The World next season quiet in the months after the debut, waiting until after his final grudge race to announce it publicly.
“We have the 315 and the setup back for Radial versus The World now. I went out and tested last week and had a couple big wheelies, so we didn’t do too good. But we had made a lot of changes and we’re going to go test again after the first of the year to get ready for the U.S. Street Nationals. They don’t have a radial class, but I’m just going to get in the Pro Mod class…I’ll be the only idiot there with some 315 radials.”
In addition to Radial versus The World, the Swanstroms intend to contest a handful of NMCA, PDRA, and other special events in Pro Modified.
“I’ve always wanted to run Radial versus The World and now I feel like I have a car that can compete, and see how we do. Right now our plans just come down to money. There’s not a lot of money in class racing unless you win the event, but the competition is a little stiffer. I believe we have a car that can wi, it’s just going to be a lot harder. I don’t think I’ll make the kind of money I did grudge racing, so our racing will be very limited. We just can’t make any guarantees when and where we’ll run.”