Swindell Returns to Victory Lane at Hagerstown By Richard Day HAGERSTOWN, MD (May 19) -- Although he's only racing part-time with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series this season, everybody in auto racing knew it wouldn't be long before Sammy...
Swindell Returns to Victory Lane at Hagerstown
By Richard Day
HAGERSTOWN, MD (May 19) -- Although he's only racing part-time with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series this season, everybody in auto racing knew it wouldn't be long before Sammy Swindell returned to victory lane.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' three-time champion was racing in only his eighth event of the year Saturday when he won the "A" Feature at Hagerstown Speedway. Swindell passed pole-sitter Joey Saldana early, then led the final 27 2/3 laps to win the 256th main event of his outstanding career. Swindell leads the series with six victories at Hagerstown's semi-banked, 1/2-mile oval.
"We've been having problems getting qualified, and we've been starting back in row nine or worse," Swindell said. "There have been a lot of times when we've had the fastest lap of the race, but just got handicapped too much starting back there. Tonight, we finally got a chance to start up front, and that helps a lot.
"(Not running the entire Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series schedule) can go either way, but I think it's helped us in that it gives us a chance to sit back and think a little bit, and to try some different things. I think we've found some things this last week that are maybe going to help us down the road. When you're not running the whole tour, you don't have to take what you have and just run with it; you can have some time to think and maybe make some changes."
Swindell and his crew changed very little on his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth while qualifying fifth-quick, then finishing third in the Second O'Reilly Heat Race and fourth in the CHANNELLOCK Dash.
Within seconds after Saldana drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle into the lead, Swindell took the low line through turns one and two to pass O'Reilly Heat Race winners Danny Lasoski and Dale Blaney. Sammy used a similar move to pass Saldana for the lead two laps later.
"I knew the bottom (in the first two corners) was pretty good, but you had to be right against the inside guard rail," Swindell explained. "When we went down there on the first lap, I saw Danny (Lasoski) wasn't quite all the way down there. I didn't think he'd be able to hold it, so I got in there as tight as I could and that allowed me to get by him and Dale both."
Tim Shaffer, who started inside the third row, claimed third place by passing "The Dude" and Blaney with identical moves high in the fourth corner late in laps three and five.
Swindell was 1.7 seconds ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic during the sixth lap.
Jeff Shepard, whose crew replaced the engine in the #5 Wirtgen Maxim after the CHANNELLOCK Dash, raced around Blaney in the high groove between turns three and four for fourth place late in lap nine. Lasoski passed Blaney in the same spot the next time around.
Craig Dollansky, who set quick-time for the sixth time this season, suffered a flat left rear tire on the back straightaway midway through the 12th lap. His collision with Donny Schatz sent the #15 Parker Stores J&J flipping. Dollansky lost 10th place when his crew replaced the tire. Danny Wood, who was running ninth when the crash occurred, joined Dollansky at the back of the pack after his crew unpacked his right rear wheel. Brian Paulus and Jason Meyers also pitted during the red period.
Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser started making his move toward the front when the race resumed. The series' two-time champion drove the #5M Mopar Maxim to the rim between the first and second corners to pass Blaney for sixth place early in lap 14, then raced past "The Dude" in the same spot eight laps later.
Swindell was 2.4 seconds ahead of his closest pursuers when he caught the backmarkers again during the 16th lap. He maintained his comfortable advantage as Shaffer challenged Saldana for second place.
Shepard jumped the cushion in turn two early in the 27th lap, allowing Kinser and Lasoski pass him. "The Dude" drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle past Kinser on the back stretch, only to have Mark maintain the points lead by passing Lasoski in the low groove between turns three and four.
Danny Wood's second-corner flip early in lap 28 set up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag. Swindell raced away from the field as the green flag replaced the red and took the checkered flag with 2.3 seconds to spare.
Shaffer held off Kinser and Lasoski for third place. Andy Hillenburg, who started outside the sixth row, steered his #2 Luxaire J&J into the low groove between turns three and four to pass Shepard for sixth place late in the final lap. Blaney finished eighth, ahead of Lance Dewease and 18th-starting Brad Furr.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction the Second Annual Outlaws Showdown at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Dirt Track Friday and Saturday. TNN: The National Network will televise both races, starting at 9 p.m. eastern time.