Sammy Swindell Powers to World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory in Eldora Preliminary Rossburg, OH -- April 8, 2005 -- Experience prevailed Friday night at Eldora Speedway as Sammy Swindell shot past Jason Solwold to capture a World of Outlaws...
Sammy Swindell Powers to World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory in Eldora Preliminary
Rossburg, OH -- April 8, 2005 -- Experience prevailed Friday night at Eldora Speedway as Sammy Swindell shot past Jason Solwold to capture a World of Outlaws Sprint Series preliminary feature victory.
While Swindell is aiming for his 17th career main-event win Saturday at the historic track, his victory last night marked the first time owner Guy Forbrook has visited Eldora's winner's circle.
After winning a heat and the second Dash, Swindell cruised along in the feature, waiting for a chance to pounce on Solwold, who earned his first World of Outlaws Sprint Series pole by winning the Stacker 2® Dash in only his second Outlaws race at Eldora.
Solwold was leading on Lap 12 when he caught the rear of the field. With three- and four-wide racing at times, Solwold ran in a middle groove on the high-banked, half-mile oval as he worked through lapped cars. Swindell tried to grab the lead coming out of Turn 2 but Solwold slid back in front. Finally, Swindell went around the outside of Solwold as they came off of Turn 4 and extended his lead to secure the 25-lap, $5,000-to-win race by 1.29 seconds.
Following Swindell to the finish were Solwold, Mean 15 racer Steve Kinser and Chad Kemenah. Those four racers are locked into the top four positions in the Stacker 2® Dash in the main event Saturday night.
"I knew out in the open, the way [Solwold] was running it was going to be awful hard to pass him so I didn't want to get too close to him," said Swindell, a three-time World of Outlaws champion from Germantown, Tenn. "If you get close with somebody, you kind of lose the front of the car a little bit. So I wanted to stay back and not abuse the tires early, make sure we had a good car and I could sit back and kind of gauge what he was doing, and what I could do to be better when we got to traffic.
"I was just kind of watching him and the way he was running. I could see his car was getting a little looser and my car was actually getting better so I didn't want to abuse the tires, I just wanted to make some good clean laps, wait until we get into traffic and then try to get by him and pull away. It worked out. The cars are so close that when somebody is running out by themselves it's really hard to pass them."
Forbrook kept quiet about his milestone night, afraid he might jinx it after coming close to winning at Eldora so many times through the years.
"I was leading a couple of races here with [Jac Haudenschild] and something would break or we'd cut a tire down or stuff like that," said Forbrook, who also fielded cars for drivers such as Danny Lasoski, Greg Hodnett, Jeff Shepard and Tyler Walker. "I didn't say anything to anybody all night because I just wanted to get it over with."
Solwold, of Mt. Vernon, Wash., chalked up the second-place run as another lesson learned.
"It's just a little bit different as far as learning how to race with these guys," he said. "I got behind a lapped car and held up just a split second and it gave Sammy enough room to squeeze by me.
"I'm getting a lot more comfortable racing with these guys. It seems like it's a revolving circle. Somebody's up front one night and they're in the back the next night. Everybody kind of gets to take a turn. We've started up front and struggled and went backwards. It's just how it goes. It's a big learning curve for me."
Of the young guns last night at Eldora, Solwold easily fared the best. In four heat races, the red flag came out five times after drivers with little or no experience on the legendary track found themselves upside down. The scariest incident sent Mark Hery, of Piqua, Ohio, to nearby Coldwater Hospital for observation after he met the Turn 4 wall and flipped violently down the front straightaway. Rescue crews methodically worked to remove him from his car and he waved to the crowd before he was placed in the ambulance to be transported to the hospital.
"You've got to have some respect for Eldora," Solwold said. "I've watched it a lot on TV. My whole career I've been watching it on TV. You've got to have some respect for it because it will eat you up. It's just a matter of getting your car nice and rolling around there and being there at the end."
Another rookie also survived his first night at Eldora. Well, his first night as owner, anyway. NASCAR star Tony Stewart, who purchased the track last November from legendary owner Earl Baltes, put on his promoter's cap for the first time after two previous attempts to open Eldora's 2005 season were canceled by rain.
"Obviously, with the first two weeks being rained out, you couldn't ask for more than having the Outlaws here on opening night and my first night as the track owner," said Stewart, who also owns the No. 20 Bass Pro Shops car driven by 2001 series champion Danny Lasoski. "There's a lot of excitement around the night and everybody with the Outlaws has been great and the show's been good. I'm just excited to get the year under way. I definitely didn't want to rain out the Outlaws event so I'm just glad the weather was finally able to clear up for us."
In the Stacker 2® Dash, Solwold started on the outside of the front row and charged into the lead on the first lap and extended his lead to the checkered flag to nab his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Series pole. In the second Dash, Sammy Swindell rolled to a victory to earn a starting spot on the front row.
In the B-main, Joey Saldana grabbed the lead when Danny Lasoski had engine trouble. Saldana then raced to the checkered flag with Brian Paulus motoring to a second-place finish.
The heat winners included Paul McMahan, Jason Sides, Bill Rose and Sammy Swindell.
Kemenah paced the 49-car field with a lap around the half-mile, high-banked oval in 12.829 seconds at 139.222 mph, slightly off of Craig Dollansky's record 12.707-second run on April 13, 2002. "Any time you qualify good it's good," Kemenah said. "But when you come down here with the Outlaws, this caliber of cars, it's a positive thing."
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series $12,000-to-win main event from Eldora Speedway will run Saturday. On April 16, the series will make its first appearance of the season in Indiana when it runs at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt.
All the action from Eldora Speedway can be seen at 8 p.m. ET April 20 on The Outdoor Channel. On April 13, The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series race at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo.