Swindell Soars Into Win Column at Lernerville By Richard Day SARVER, PA (May 16) -- Sammy Swindell has come close to putting his ...
Swindell Soars Into Win Column at Lernerville
By Richard Day SARVER, PA (May 16) -- Sammy Swindell has come close to putting his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth in victory lane several times this year.
The three-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion led the first 20 laps at Knoxville Raceway April 29th and eventually finished in second place. He raced ahead of the field throughout the first nine laps in the Winged Thunder event at the Terre Haute Action before a broken rear suspension put him in the pits.
Swindell put "A" Feature victory #245 in the books Tuesday on Purvis Brothers/Pennzoil Night at Lernerville Speedway, passing Daryn Pittman late in the 22nd lap. The $10,000 was Sammy's first of the season and the 13th of his career at the semi-banked, 1/2-mile oval.
"We've been close a couple of times," Swindell said. "We were in the right place at the right time tonight. We've just had some little problems this year. We had some things break or we might have had a couple more. Hopefully, this is the start of a good streak."
Pittman, running his first race without Kenny Woodruff as his crew chief, earned the right to start the main event on the pole by winning the First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race and the First CHANNELLOCK Dash. Greg Hodnett, returning to the cockpit of Jimmy Vasser's #V12 Wirtgen Maxim after missing eight races with a broken shoulder, won the Second NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race and the Second CHANNELLOCK Dash.
Pittman and Hodnett raced wheel-to-wheel down the front stretch as the green flag fell, only to have Joey Saldana stop with a broken left rear shock absorber before the leaders completed the first lap. They were battling for the lead after the green flag replaced the yellow, but Dave Scott flipped in the first corner.
Pittman drove his #3 J&J into the lead in turn one on the third start. Swindell took the low line into the second corner to pass Hodnett, but Greg returned the favor with a slide move in turn three.
Dean Jacobs, making his debut in the #8H Energy Release Eagle, brought out the caution flag when he stopped on the back straightaway late in the fourth lap. Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser took the low line into turn four to pass Dean's brother, Kenny, for fourth place as the green flag replaced the yellow. Stevie Smith, of New Oxford, PA, relegated the Fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner to sixth the next time around.
Jeff Shepard was trying to put a slide move on Skip Jackson in turn four late in the seventh lap when he collided with Jackson and the #1Z Zemco Performance Products Maxim turned over.
Pittman raced away from the field as the green flag replaced the red and was 1.03 seconds ahead of Hodnett within four laps. Hodnett caught Pittman in dense traffic the next time around, however, and was trying to take the lead when he spun in turn three.
Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner Mark Kinser steered the #5M Mopar Maxim deep in the fourth corner to pass Andy Hillenburg before Tim Shaffer spun in turn two. The defending Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup champion continued his run toward the front two laps after the race resumed, passing Jacobs for fifth deep in the first corner.
Swindell was .8 seconds behind Pittman when the leaders caught the backmarkers again during the 20th lap. He took the low line into the third corner two laps later to pass Pittman for the lead.
"He (Pittman) got loose and made a little mistake," Sammy explained. "I got a good run at him, he went a little low, caught an edge, and I was back far enough that I could get a run at him, When you get an opportunity like that -- it doesn't matter who it is -- you have to go for it."
Smith steered his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Black Bandit high in turn four to pass Steve Kinser for third place several seconds later. Stevie remained in the high groove and passed Pittman in the second corner with 1 2/3 laps remaining. Smith narrowed the gap quickly in dense lapped traffic and was only .8 seconds behind Swindell by the 30th lap. He raced wheel-to-wheel with Sammy through turns three and four the next time around, but was unable to surge ahead.
Mark Kinser and Smith exchanged the runner-up spot during the final three laps while Swindell opened a comfortable advantage. Swindell took the checkered flag with 2.5 seconds to spare.
The Kinser cousins -- Mark and Steve -- finished third and fourth, respectively. Hillenburg finished in fifth place, ahead of Pittman, Kenny Jacobs, Danny Lasoski, "B" Feature winner Dale Blaney and 19th-starting Paul McMahan.
Lance Blevins took a provisional and drove the #21 PC Joey Eagle past eight cars to finish 17th. Blevins returned to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series in this event a year ago and raced into 10th place.
Mark Kinser received his sixth Vivarin Fast-Time Award of the year after slicing .249 seconds off the qualifying standard he set at Lernerville Speedway last July 27th. He circled the track in 12.443 seconds, an average speed of 144.660 m.p.h.
Engine problems in the #93 Amoco Maxim kept Dale Blaney from starting the Third NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race. Donny Schatz lost third place on the last lap of the Third NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race when the engine in the #15 Parker Stores Maxim lost power. WoO