Eldora Experience Drives Sammy Swindell to Preliminary Feature Victory Rossburg, OH -- April 7, 2006 -- Experience always figures to be a key part of any victory at Eldora Speedway, and Friday night it was no different. In an event pitting the...
Eldora Experience Drives Sammy Swindell to Preliminary Feature Victory
Rossburg, OH -- April 7, 2006 -- Experience always figures to be a key part of any victory at Eldora Speedway, and Friday night it was no different.
In an event pitting the stars of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series against the racers from the All Star Circuit of Champions, it was Sammy Swindell who stole the show when he shot from third to the front on the first lap of the preliminary feature and held on to capture the checkered flag despite running the final five laps with no brakes and a throttle stuck open.
It marks the second time this season Swindell has driven the Forbrook Motorsports Mopar-powered Volcano Joe's Coffee/Wirtgen Maxim to the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws after he won last month in Las Vegas on a night with remarkably similar cold and windy conditions. With 45 cars in the pits, Swindell, a three-time World of Outlaws champion from Germantown, Tenn., needed every bit of his know-how to earn the $5,000 victory.
Danny Lasoski in the Roth Motorsports Eagle chased Swindell to the finish as World of Outlaws championship points leader Donny Schatz in the ParkerStore J&J and Tim Kaeding in the Slick 50 Maxim completed the top four and will be locked into the dash that will set the top six positions for the main event Saturday night at the intimidating high-banked, half-mile oval.
Joey Saldana improved two spots to grab fifth in the Mopar-powered Central Merchant Services JEI while Craig Dollansky continued his impressive performance of late by setting quick time in the Karavan Trailers Maxim and posting a sixth-place run.
Chad Kemenah charged from 16th to finish seventh in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle with Brooke Tatnell in the Garlic Jim's Pizza/Castrol Eagle, Jason Solwold in the City Wide Insulation Maxim and Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle rounding out the top 10.
Threatening skies led only to a brief rain delay with time trials nearly complete, forcing the qualifying session by rule to be re-run so each car had an equal chance to post laps on a comparable racing surface.
With the field dialed-in for the main event, it was Swindell who got the jump at the green flag and he never looked back. After two early red flags, for Eldora veterans Kenny Jacobs and Jac Haudenschild, Swindell settled in at the front and powered his way to victory in the 25-lap feature to earn a spot in Saturday's dash.
Swindell was smooth through traffic, catching the tail end of the field with 11 laps complete. Lasoski tried to close the gap but not until Swindell's machine began to struggle with failing brakes, throttle issues and radiator trouble was he able to cut the deficit. All the while Swindell continued to carefully pick his way through the field on a track that is predictably unpredictable.
"You have to make sure you're up far enough so that somebody is going to see you when you go to pass," Swindell said. "There were a couple of times I had to wait, but most of the time I was catching guys just right where it really wasn't holding me up at all. I think there were only two cars that forced me to change my line a little bit or slow down just a bit until we got to the end. We ripped a brake line off. We ripped a radiator out. We were pretty fortunate just to finish. I ran up on a couple of guys when they got together and the throttle didn't come back and there weren't any brakes. I was lucky that there was enough room to get right on the outside and bleed off a little bit of speed because there wasn't anything I could do. From that point on, probably the last five laps, I had both feet on the floor because there weren't any brakes and the throttle wouldn't go down or come up. When we got the checkered flag, I just shut the switch off. I was able to get back a little bit and give myself a little bit of room. It was a good thing it was stuck at that point so it ran fast enough to make it.
"It wasn't wide open, but it was close. The problem was that you needed to work the throttle a little bit when you hit the ruts and I couldn't do that. I knew it was getting close to the end because they gave me the five-to-go. I hoped I had a bit of a lead because I tried to ride it out. I was a sitting duck. I couldn't go faster and I couldn't go slower. I was just fortunate that I got into some open track where I could just run laps by myself. It was good enough. I saw somebody right there at the end, but once I got past the checkered flag I just turned the switch off. That was the only way I could stop."
Meanwhile, Schatz and Kaeding rewarded the hearty crowd as they ran different lines into the 24-degrees of banking in each corner. Kaeding put his car on the cushion while Schatz had been locked into the bottom groove all night long. Schatz made the bottom work to finally clip Kaeding for third on the final lap.
"We're locked in for Saturday and that's all we wanted to do," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "We would have liked to have been a little better. Sammy was the class of the field tonight. I let these guys down a little bit. I waited too long to get going. I made a few moves the wrong way, but that's a part of racing. We've been decent and can't hang our heads here with a third."
Like Swindell, Schatz was having his own issues with his car and was forced to fight through them in order to increase his advantage in the World of Outlaws championship standings to 51 points.
"I think if we can ever solve the issue where it quits shifting from fourth to seventh gear, that's what it feels like it's doing, we'll be fast on the bottom," Schatz said. "It's cool out and sometimes you just can't get enough fuel to them. My car was good down there. The bottom is a little more forgiving. It gained us a lot of spots in the heat but it hurt us in the dash. In the feature I got myself into third-place from sixth. It's one of those deals where it helped us and hurt us, but Saturday night is where we want to be up front. We're going to work hard and see if we can get our problems straightened out coming off the corner. It's not terrible, but it's just not the way it should be. I've never had a motor feel like it's shifting from fourth to seventh gear before. I'm just not giving the right input."
In the end, Swindell credited his vast racing knowledge at Eldora, especially in less-than-favorable weather conditions, for the victory.
"I think it's experience," Swindell said. "This place is all about the momentum and keeping the speed up, keeping the car under you and the tires on it. It's a little intimidating. It's pretty fast and we run close to the wall. You've got to have confidence in the car and know that you can run right to that point and not wreck. A lot of guys aren't comfortable getting that extra foot of the racetrack that maybe I think I can get."
With conditions expected to be quite different for Saturday's main event, it's likely all the experience gained from Friday might not come into play. Then again, it's Eldora and every lap adds to the learning curve.
"I've never been here when the wind was this way," Schatz said. "You felt like you had a 900-pound guy sitting on the nosewing all night long. The car just buried in the racetrack. Everybody went around there fast, even up on the hill. The wings are really working because the wind was blowing. It was a little different than Vegas because at Vegas you get more of a side wind but at Eldora it just affected the cars all night long from the performance of the engine, you'd get a big burst of air. It was a little unique and Sammy is generally good in these conditions and they've got their motors running really good for this place. We've got kind of an all-around program. We're excited about it. This is probably not our best motor by any means. If that's the worst performance we'll have with this motor, I'm happy."
Following the two-night show at historic Eldora Speedway, the World of Outlaws will begin Quarter-Mile Mania with events April 15 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., and April 21 in the City of Lawrenceburg Sprint Nationals at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway near Cincinnati. The series closes out the month with races April 29 at legendary Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, and April 30 at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, S.D.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t., Choice Hotels and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions, Wrisco Industries and RacinSoles.
ELDORA SPEEDWAY NIGHT ONE NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Three cars from the end of time trials, a steady rain forced the qualifying session to be halted. The rain stopped within 10 minutes and by rule all cars had to requalify, which they did with one green-flag lap. Craig Dollansky paced the 45-car field in the Karavan Trailers Maxim with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the 1/2-mile oval in 13.043 seconds at 138.005 mph. Because it was a preliminary feature, no time trial points were awarded, nor was there any lap leader bonus in the feature. Dollansky established the track record on April 13, 2002, when he turned a lap around Eldora in 12.707 seconds.
"Definitely we're happy," said Dollansky, a Mean 15 racer from Elk River, Minn. "We made a lot of changes to this team in the past few weeks. We've changed to a Maxim chassis and it seems to fit me pretty good. We're gaining some momentum right now, we just have to keep it going. -- This is one of the best racetracks in the country right here. A lot goes on, a lot of action, so I always enjoy racing here."
* PRELIM WIN: Sammy Swindell on Friday night at Eldora Speedway captured the World of Outlaws first preliminary feature event of the season. The next preliminary feature is slated for May 26 on the first of back-to-back race nights at Williams Grove Speedway.
* VICTORY PARADE: Donny Schatz's victory Saturday night at I-55 Raceway was his third World of Outlaws A-feature victory this season. There have been six different racers in eight events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. In addition to Schatz's win Saturday night, he also won March 31 at Batesville Speedway and March 9 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win list also includes Sammy Swindell (March 10 at Las Vegas), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia) and Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia).
* HALF-MILE WINNERS: Eldora Speedway is a high-speed, half-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has now raced six times this season on half-mile ovals, including preliminary features. Winners include Chad Kemenah (Volusia), Joey Saldana (Volusia), Danny Lasoski (Manzanita), Donny Schatz (Las Vegas), Sammy Swindell (Las Vegas) and Sammy Swindell (Eldora Speedway).
* QUALIFYING EVENTS: Kraig Kinser powered his way to victory in the first dash while Danny Lasoski motored to the checkered flag in the second dash. -- Terry McCarl captured the B-main. -- Heat race winners included Kraig Kinser, Joey Saldana, Randy Hannagan and Donny Schatz.
* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on April 12 the World of Outlaws Friday night event from Eldora Speedway. The Saturday night World of Outlaws event will air on April 19. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).
* UP NEXT: Following the two-night show at historic Eldora Speedway, the World of Outlaws will begin Quarter-Mile Mania with events April 15 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., and April 21 in the City of Lawrenceburg Sprint Nationals at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway near Cincinnati. The series closes out the month with races April 29 at legendary Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, and April 30 at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, S.D.