When his times improved as last summer's season progressed, Swan continued to push for greater performance, until he pushed past the truck's limits.
"I had just been put out of the drag race and pulled into the front parking lot to wait on a friend," said Swan. "I sat for a moment and was messing with the truck when it backfired, which caused some sparks."
Before Swan could react, sparks turned to flames, which turned into $14,000 in damage to his prized racing machine that pushed 405 horsepower.
"I was, understandably, pretty upset," said Swan, recalling his anguish from watching his truck burn. "I had put a lot into the truck and it was tough watching it go like that"
In all, nearly every component on the truck had to be replaced after the swift-spreading fire engulfed the entire vehicle. The only part free from repair was the truck's engine block.
While it took over three months to rebuild his cherished racing machine, Swan couldn't keep himself from the track. With the fire occurring after the penultimate race of the year, Swan relied on family to ensure he wouldn't miss the year's finale.
"I had to use my wife's 1998 Saleen Mustang," explained Swan. "She didn't really care for it too much because that's her baby, but it was fun to drive and I was not going to miss the last race of the year."
Although he enjoyed racing his wife's ride, Swan yearned to be in his truck.
"I prefer to be in the truck division. I have been competing there since Atlanta Motor Speedway started having drag races three years ago," explained Swan. "I wanted to do everything I could to keep racing in my truck."
Using the off-season to mend his machine, Swan toiled for months and repaired his fire-damaged truck. Once mended and operable, Swan was back competing at the first chance he could at AMS.
Despite dropping $14,000 to repair his vehicle, Swan has seen benefits since the fire.
"Now, I've got the truck programmed where it needs to be and I've got a little more thunder to it," described Swan. "Since I fixed it up, I've raced a new personal-best time and that was on street tires."
Now that he's running faster in his repaired truck which now features 460 horsepower, Swan refuses to miss a Friday Night Drags competition; "Oh yeah," exclaimed Swan. "I'll be competing all season and I'll definitely be out there this Friday."
And although he has moved on to better race times since the accident, Swan won't forget the fire. In fact, he revamped his paint scheme as a specific reminder.
"When we repainted the truck, I decided to put some ghost flames on it to look like they've been smothered out," Swan illustrated. "It was just a reminder of what the truck has been through."
George Swan and his silver 2005 Dodge Ram Daytona with ghost flames can be seen at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Friday Night Drags presented by ACDelco this Friday, June 20 and every Friday night through August 22. For more information call 770-946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: High-resolution images of George Swan and his 2005 Dodge Ram Daytona to accompany this release, can be downloaded from:
Photos courtesy of Atlanta Motor Speedway