Sammy Swindell Charges to World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory at Thunderbowl Raceway Tulare, CA -- Oct. 15, 2005 -- While the action behind him was fast and furious, Sammy Swindell kept his poise on the point and led all 35 laps Saturday...
Sammy Swindell Charges to World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory at Thunderbowl Raceway
Tulare, CA -- Oct. 15, 2005 -- While the action behind him was fast and furious, Sammy Swindell kept his poise on the point and led all 35 laps Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway to capture his third World of Outlaws Sprint Series A-feature event of the season.
In a race that included four cautions and two red flags, Swindell hit his marks on the restarts and pulled away in the Wirtgen/Jackpot Junction Maxim, then navigated smoothly through traffic to earn the first victory of his legendary career at the Tulare, Calif., 1/3-mile high-banked oval. It also was the 266th World of Outlaws A --feature victory of his career, second only to Steve Kinser.
Behind Swindell, Steve Kinser in the Quaker State Maxim and Donny Schatz in the ParkerStore J&J staged an epic duel, trading the lead in nearly every corner during one five-lap run before Schatz's right rear tire, which had been plugged during a red flag with 20 laps complete, began to go down again.
On the final restart with nine laps to go, Swindell quickly opened a lead on the top as Kinser dove to the inside of Schatz in Turn 1. Schatz regained second off of Turn 4 two laps later but Kinser motored back to swipe second for good.
As that battle waged for second, Kraig Kinser in the Remy Maxim charged from sixth to fourth and Jonathan Allard in the GT Trends/Katie's Country Kitchen Maxim secured fifth.
Jason Meyers, a California native with a large cheering section in the packed grandstands, was sixth in the Elite Landscaping Maxim with Daryn Pittman in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim, Shane Stewart in the Snap-On Maxim, Jac Haudenschild in the Beef Packers Eagle and Danny Lasoski in the Bass Pro Shops Eagle rounding out the top 10.
Although the track conditions were different, Swindell used his experience in the preliminary feature on Friday to position his machine in the right spot on every restart, giving him unchallenged quick leads each time in Turn 1. It took him about three to four laps to catch the rear of the field, but he had no trouble in traffic with a car handling perfectly on top and bottom.
"It was just lining up and getting the car in the right place, and having a motor respond right so it takes off," said Swindell, a three-time World of Outlaws champion from Germantown, Tenn. "The track was different. I definitely wanted to try to get out front on the start and lead the whole race if I could. You can really see where the line is, where you need to be, where you can put the car. When you're behind somebody, they're blocking your view quite a bit. These cars are so quick that everything comes up so fast, but you need to put the car in the exact spot to get the maximum out of it."
Swindell was unaware of the slicing and dicing between Kinser and Schatz until an open red flag with 21 laps complete. Car owner Guy Forbrook informed Swindell that Kinser was hooked up and had actually moved into second when the red flag waved, moving him back to third.
"I don't know if there were cars between us or not, but I didn't think there was," Swindell said. "All the times the guys I would lap would either pull off or move out or drop back so every time I should have had more of an advantage than we had, somehow it disappeared. I don't think I get those breaks. When I'm running second, those guys just stay in the way. We really didn't have any trouble. I think only twice did I have to wait maybe a lap before I could pass somebody. Usually, when I got to them, I might have had to wait off that corner before I could get by them.
"When they had that red, they were talking about how [Kinser] passed him but he was going back. Guy told me was coming pretty good and was probably going to pass Schatz. I figured he was going to be there so my deal was just to run my line, run as hard as I could and be consistent. You can overdrive the cars and make mistakes. I was trying to keep that at a minimum. I was trying to keep the pace as fast as I could go without making any mistakes. It's hard to run 100 percent, but when the car is as good as it was tonight you could sit there and run that thing 95 or 98 percent and not make any mistakes and pull away."
He hasn't run many times at Thunderbowl Raceway, but his first victory at the racy oval still was satisfying.
"There are so many places I have won, and there are some places where I've never been beat, but I've probably run here only five or six nights," Swindell said. "Everything has to come together. It's too competitive out here with a lot of these guys. It's like all of racing. There are some good cars and there are a few guys that are going to get it right on any night. Right now there are at least 20 good cars, and you're usually having to race four or five of them most of the time."
Like the preliminary feature, the back-and-forth action was intense, only this time it was the battle for second between Kinser and Schatz. Once Schatz's right rear began going down, like it did last month at Calistoga, an open red flag appeared to save him. Unfortunately, the tire started to lose pressure again as the laps counted down, making it nearly impossible for him to continue the sliding back and forth with Kinser.
"It's always fun to run with Donny," said Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who has a 548-point lead in the standings heading into the final weekend of the season at Las Vegas. "He's a good, hard racer and Donny always runs you clean, too. That's what fun about racing against him. You don't have to worry about him. We both take a lot of room but we still don't run over each other. It sort of hurt us both because we got a lot of heat in our tires. We were both fighting for position there and it was a lot of fun."
Schatz, who is gearing up for the 2006 season with the Outlaws, won the preliminary feature on Friday and has finished outside the top-five only once in the past 10 race nights.
"We had a good enough car to win, but I don't know what it is with me and tires out here in California," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D., who won the Calistoga race with a plugged tire. "We get a hole in everything. I don't know if it's me and luck or what it is. We had a chance to plug it on the red, it just didn't stay and it cost us second. We were actually coming to Sammy on the last couple of laps. We just needed lapped traffic to go our way. I could feel the thing going down because every time I went into the corner it would dig the right rear wheel in further and further and further. It's pretty tough to turn on entry when you get like that, especially when the track stayed real fast tonight. A top three isn't bad I guess for not feeling very good at the end."
Kraig Kinser was one of the fas By Chris Dolack, WoO Sprint Series Public Relations Director
test qualifiers during the weekend, and made that horsepower pay off down the stretch by charging to a fourth-place finish.
"We struggled early in the race," said Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who won the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award in 2004. "I got hopping through the holes early and got way behind. A yellow flag about halfway through the race really helped me. It got everything calmed back down and I got back in the groove again and started picking people off. We got about as far as we could go. The three guys, Donny, Dad and Sammy, were all up there. I don't know if we could have got to them. We could have stayed with them but I don't know if we could have caught them. It was just one of those deals. I wish we could have gotten going a little bit earlier and a little bit quicker to get in the top three, but we didn't and we'll take a fourth place."
Kinser hopes he can carry the momentum from Tulare into the finale at Las Vegas, where he won the preliminary feature and finished second in the main event in March.
"Going back to a place where you've run good always helps you out," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to going back."
For Jonathan Allard, who finished third on Friday in the preliminary feature, a fifth-place run is his best A-feature finish this season with the Outlaws. He posted a second-place run in the preliminary feature in August at Grays Harbor.
"This track is a very racy track and it's fun to come here and race with the Outlaws," said Allard, a native of Chico, Calif. "It's nice to be able to run top-five consistently. That open red hurt us pretty bad because we had a really good car before that and then we didn't tune on it and they did tune on their cars. Not racing every night, it hurts a little bit but I'm very proud of my guys. They've done a great job. Hopefully we can continue to Vegas and do the same thing."
The Outlaws conclude the 2005 season Oct. 21-22 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
THUNDERBOWL RACEWAY NOTEBOOK
* Kevin Swindell paced the 42 cars that went through time trials in the York Excavating Maxim with a record-breaking AMB i.t.-timed lap around the 1/3-mile oval in 12.740 seconds at 93.250 mph. Tim Shaffer was the second-quickest racer in time trials with a lap in the Casey's General Store Maxim in 12.797 seconds at 92.834 mph. Joey Saldana had established the single-lap record of 12.751 seconds on Oct. 29, 2004.
Swindell, who became the youngest driver to finish in the top 10 with the Outlaws when at 15 he ran sixth in the 2005 season opener in Australia, has found much success in pavement races this year, and has carried that experience to dirt.
"It's helped a whole lot as far as the confidence and keeping me up and knowing I can really do it when I get down with some of this stuff, even though I'm racing with the best and this is my first year," said Swindell, now 16, of Germantown, Tenn. "It keeps me smooth and keeps me focused."
Sammy Swindell, the eventual winner who was already locked into the main event, proudly watched as Kevin turned two smooth laps for the record.
"It was pretty neat," Sammy said. "We got him a different motor. He's got some pretty good stuff now where earlier he was running motors that were a year-and-a-half or so old, but he still did good with that. We found a couple of problems we had with the car and straightened them out. We got this motor running really good right now, and since we did that I think 12th is the worst that he's qualified. It's pretty neat to come out here and break the track record. There aren't too many 16-year-olds that can say they did that in a 410 sprint car, especially with this series. It's probably a record that might be there for a while."
* Donny Schatz, Sammy Swindell, Jonathan Allard and Terry McCarl did not go through time trials after finishing in the top four positions of the preliminary feature on Friday.
* With full support from their sponsors, Art and Carol Malies will have safety and push vehicle Work'n Woody back on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit in 2006. The Malies, who were distinguished by a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum poll for their Outstanding Contribution to the Sport, will be on tour with the Outlaws for the 27th season.
"I think this is the place to be," Art said. "We're going to see some good racing next year."
* Sammy Swindell's victory Saturday night was his third A-feature win of the season. He also has two preliminary feature wins. -- Steve Kinser has a series-leading 20 A-feature victories and six preliminary feature wins this season. -- There have been 17 different A-feature winners this season. Including preliminary features, 22 different drivers have visited Victory Lane this season with the Outlaws. -- Donny Schatz has eight A-feature victories, second-most this year. He also has a preliminary feature win. -- Kraig Kinser captured the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 14 for his sixth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. -- Danny Lasoski's victory Oct. 9 at Dodge City Raceway Park was his second A-feature win this season. He also has four preliminary feature victories. -- Craig Dollansky has two A-feature victories and three preliminary feature wins. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Fred Rahmer's victory Friday night was his second preliminary feature win of the season with the Outlaws. He also won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Jason Johnson and Shane Stewart have each won once.
* Thunderbowl Raceway is a 1/3-mile oval. The series has raced 14 times this season on a track that size, including preliminaries, with eight different winners. Tim Shaffer won Feb. 25 at Thunderbowl Raceway, Craig Dollansky won Feb. 26 at Bakersfield Speedway, Kraig Kinser won April 2 at I-55 Raceway, Tim Shaffer won May 6 at Lake Ozark Speedway, Steve Kinser won May 24 at Grandview Speedway, Steve Kinser swept Eagle Raceway June 17-18, Craig Dollansky won July 6 at Powercom Park, Chad Kemenah won July 9 at I-55 Raceway, Steve Kinser won Sept. 16-17 at Eagle Raceway, Daryn Pittman won Sept. 24 at Powercom Park, Donny Schatz won Oct. 14 at Thunderbowl, and Sammy Swindell won Oct. 15 at Thunderbowl.
* Drivers who have raced to victory in preliminary features this season include (in alphabetical order) Craig Dollansky three times (Manzanita/Williams Grove/Silver Dollar), Jason Johnson once (Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser once (Las Vegas), Steve Kinser six times (Eagle twice/Billings/Elma/Calistoga/Silver Dollar), Danny Lasoski four times (Australia/Knoxville/Calistoga/Dodge City), Fred Rahmer twice (Knoxville/Williams Grove), Kerry Madsen once (Australia), Paul McMahan once (Williams Grove), Brian Paulus once (Red River Valley), Joey Saldana once (Lernerville), Donny Schatz once (Thunderbowl), Shane Stewart once (Knoxville), Sammy Swindell twice (Eldora/Knoxville), and Brooke Tatnell once (Princeton).
* Following a brief rain delay, Tim Shaffer and Kraig Kinser -- the fastest two qualifiers to make it through heat races -- joined Donny Schatz, Sammy Swindell, Jonathan Allard and Terry McCarl in the Stacker 2 Dash that set the top six positions for the main event. Sammy Swindell powered to the top in the first corner as the field raced single file behind him to the checkered flag with Schatz earning the outside pole and McCarl, Kinser and Allard rounding out the field. Shaffer was unable to complete the Dash because of mechanical failure and started the main event in sixth.
* Daryn Pittman jumped out quickly in the B-main and led flag-to-flag as fast-qualifier Kevin Swindell, Brian Paulus and Brent Kaeding grabbed the remaining transfer positions to the main event. Jason Sides and Ricci Faria advanced to the B-main by finishing in the top two positions of the C-main.
* After two red flags in the first heat, Ronnie Day charged to the checkered flag to win by 5.865 seconds. Brooke Tatnell held onto second with Steve Kinser and Craig Dollansky earning the remaining transfer spots to the main event.
* Jac Haudenshild motored to the front in the first corner of the second heat and smoothly pulled away to win by 1.598 seconds. Paul McMahan rolled along the top and held off Shane Stewart at the flag stand to finish second with Tim Shaffer cruising to the final transfer position.
* Tim Kaeding set a quick pace from the drop of the green flag in the third heat and rolled to a 2.993-second victory. Peter Murphy raced to a second-place finish with Kraig Kinser and Danny Lasoski picking up the other transfer spots.
* Jason Johnson had a smooth jump on a restart with six laps down and pulled away to a 0.957-second victory. Sean Becker held off Jason Meyers to finish second as Jason Solwold raced into the final transfer position.
The Outlaws conclude the 2005 season Oct. 21-22 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 19 the Dodge City Raceway Park event, followed on Oct. 26 by the Thunderbowl Raceway event and Nov. 2 by the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.