Hayden Swank is African American race car driver with ambitions to race in NASCAR. He was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on July 22, 2001 to Jennifer Swank, who works in medical billing, and Bob Swank, a high school football coach.
Swank displayed an interest in race car driving at a young age. At the age of three he became familiar with NASCAR drivers, which included their make of vehicle, their number, and their team. At the age of seven Hayden began quarter-midget racing winning his first 10 races. He graduated to Bandoleros, which is a turnkey, spec-series racer designed for drivers as young as eight years old, in which he won six of his first seven races.
In 200 Swank’s family purchased a 1990 Nervo Coggins. Then in March 2009 Swank was set to participate in “Race Ready,” but the car’s brakes were not working and the vehicle went into a wall. Despite the accident Swank joined the North Georgia Quarter Midget Association, located at The Bill Thomas Raceway inside the Cumming Fairgrounds in Cumming Georgia.
On July 25, 2013 Swank participated in his first Bandolero race. In 2014 he participated in the Beginner Bandolero landing in first place of the 20-lap feature. Additionally, he won the Bandit class at the Bandolero National Championship. In 2015 he earned the David Ragan Award for the 2015 season and at the 17th Annual zMax Micro-Lubricant Bandolero, Swank won the Bandit class at the Bandolero National Championship. In the Thunder Outlaw Race in 2015, Swank finished second.
In 2018 Swank joined Rev Racing’s youth driver for NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Program, created in 2004 to develop and train ethnically diverse and female drivers both on and off the track. Hayden Swank studies business at the University of Georgia and has given interviews regarding his experience as an African American race car driver in a field that is predominantly white, as well as overcoming the financial hurdles to continue racing.
Overtime and Old Spice sponsor Swank, which he indicated was a tremendous help considering the financial costs associated with the sport. He continues to indicate his appreciation for his racing team and how it motivates him to continue to follow his dream. Precisely because of the sport’s racial makeup and history and the racial tensions he has experienced, Hayden Swank’s impact on the sport is significant and lasting.