Late Model driver Richard Boswell is running hot out of the box at Old Dominion Speedway this season. Boswell, a 21-year-old Friendship, Md. driver, is second in points with second and fourth place finishes in the first two races.
He’s hoping to take a shot at the championship this season. “It’s exciting,” Boswell said. “We’re looking forward to it. I think we’ve got as good a chance as anybody. But there are some tough cars that are going to be hard to beat week in and week out. We just need to go out there and run as good as we can every week and stay out of trouble.”
Last season, Boswell finished fifth in points. In 2003, he came in third, with nine top fives, in-cluding a second. In 2004, Boswell started off well with five top fives in eight races but started hav-ing motor issues and had some bad luck toward the end of the season and did not make it back into the top five.
“It was frustrating last year,” said Boswell, who had high hopes after the 2003 season. “It seemed like we couldn’t do anything right. Anytime we had a good car, it seemed like something happened.”
Near the end of the season, Boswell was leading one race when he cut a left front tire and then finished back in the field. In the next race, he was running third behind Mark McFarland and Jack Bailey when he was taken out by a lap car.
“It’s frustrating but that kind of stuff happens,” Boswell said.
Boswell traveled to the big race at Myrtle Beach last fall and made up for some of his disap-pointment last year by qualifying 20th out of 90 drivers the first day out.
“We ran really good down there but ended up getting caught in a late race wreck,” he said.
Boswell has entered the 2005 season with renewed confidence after hooking up with car owner Bob Unczur during the winter. Boswell is driving the car with which Andreas Kestermann won four races and finished third in points at ODS last year.
“So far we’re both learning together,” Boswell said. “Bob’s got a lot of knowledge with him and we’re bringing what we’ve got and we’re both working well together. We both listen to each other as far as what we think we need to do to make the car better and it’s working out really good.”
Unczur said that Boswell is calm-headed on the track. “He’s very cool, doesn’t get excited,” Unc-zur said. “He feels pretty confident we got some good stuff going on in setups and car and motors and stuff.”
Unczur has some high expectations but said the team is still gelling. “It’s a learning curve,” he said. “We’re going to take what we can get. I’m not going to get upset if we don’t win the champion-ship. It’s a learning curve and we’ll see how we can achieve more wins or even a championship as it goes.”
Boswell said one of the best parts about teaming up with Unczur is that it takes financial con-cerns off his back. Boswell now has Popeye’s, Tavares Concrete, Danny’s Auto Service, and Unc-zur’s Creative Surfaces as sponsors.
“Last year, we didn’t know if we’d be able to race from one race to the other because we didn’t know if we’d have the funds to do it,” Boswell said. “Now, it’s a lot easier to go out there every week.”
Boswell said he is grateful for the opportunity to drive for Unczur. He is also appreciative to his sponsors, his parents and George Newton for their support.
Boswell has also improved in qualifying. Last year, he struggled in qualifying with a lack of power in his motor, but he has already made the top six once and also run a seventh. He said he feels more relaxed about qualifying.
“We still have a little ways to go in qualifying,” he said. “But I’m feeling a lot more confident in my ability to qualify than I was this time last year.”
In addition, Boswell is aiming for his first win in a regular Late Model race. In 2003, he won the special non-winners race at ODS. He expected to pick up a feature win after that. But things didn’t work out.
“There’s some tough competition up there,” he said. “And you’ve got to have all your ducks in a row before it’s going to happen. And we just haven’t quite got there yet.”
In the season opener, some people thought Boswell drove like his Dad, Dickie, holding back and saving his tires until the end of the race and then coming forward strong as the contest wound down.
“He’s always pounded into my head that I need to be patient and things will come to me and that’s what I try to do every time I’m out there,” Boswell said. “There’s some times you have to be aggressive and go after it. It’s hard to decipher those times but I’m getting better at that. I know that tires mean everything in racing and if I can save those tires, I’ll know I’ll be good at the end of the race.”