Swindell Wins Duel in the Dakotas Opener By Richard Day WEST FARGO, ND (July 6) -- What a difference a year can make. Sammy Swindell limped away from Red River Valley Speedway after colliding...
Swindell Wins Duel in the Dakotas Opener
By Richard Day WEST FARGO, ND (July 6) -- What a difference a year can make. Sammy Swindell limped away from Red River Valley Speedway after colliding with a lapped car and flipping over the turn-two retaining wall in the Duel in the Dakotas finale last July 10th. Swindell, who won the Inaugural Duel in the Dakotas in 1998, opened the third annual event in style Thursday, leading all 20 laps to win the Preliminary Feature. TNN will televise Saturday's Duel in the Dakotas finale live, starting at 10 p.m. EDT. The $5,000 victory was Swindell's fourth in the last seven Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Preliminary Features. He leads the series with five Preliminary Feature victories and ranks third in the point standings. Swindell, the ninth-fastest qualifier in the 40-car field, won the First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race and the First CHANNELLOCK Dash for the privilege of starting the evening's main event on the pole. Swindell drove his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth past outside pole-sitter
Johnny Herrera to take the lead as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature. Defending Duel in the Dakotas champion Steve Kinser hit the berm in turn four and flipped late in the second lap. Shane Stewart and Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner Mark Kinser lost their 12th- and 13th- place running positions when they collided with Steve's #11 Quaker State Maxim. Stewart, who also flipped, was unable to return to the race. Mark's crew, headed by 17-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship car owner Karl Kinser, repaired the #5M Mopar Maxim quickly. Joey Saldana passed Minot, ND, resident Donny Schatz high in the second corner to take over seventh place as the green flag replaced the red. Stevie Smith, who won a main event at Red River Valley Speedway on July 12, 1997, qualified 21st-quick and started the feature outside the 10th row. He duplicated Saldana's move and passed four cars to move into 13th place the next time around. After Dale Blaney and Jason Meyers collided late in lap five, Smith steered his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Black Bandit high in turn one to pass six more sprinters. Craig Dollansky, the leader in the World of Outlaws Gumout Series point standings, changed engines in the #7 Polydome Maxim following the Vivarin qualifying session. He made his way toward the front during the middle stages of the Preliminary Feature, passing Greg Hodnett with an inside move in turn four late in lap eight, then taking third place from Third NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner Danny Wood deep in the first corner two laps later. Jeff Shepard, another Gumout Series front-runner, collided with Wood in turn four as they battled for fourth place late in the 11th lap. Wood, the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year points leader, spun and finished 18th. Swindell was a half-straightaway ahead of Herrera when he entered lapped traffic with 1 1/2 laps remaining. Dollansky tried to pass Herrera in turn four as Swindell took the checkered flag. Shepard finished in fourth place, ahead of Hodnett, Saldana, 15th- starting Brad Furr, Danny Lasoski, Andy Hillenburg and Dean Jacobs. Daryn Pittman, who started inside the 10th row, passed Smith late in the final lap to claim 11th place. Mark Kinser, who set Red River Valley Speedway's single-lap record last July 8th, received his 10th Vivarin Fast-Time Award of the season for pacing the qualifying session. He raced around the high-banked, 1/2-mile oval in 16.279 seconds, an average speed of 110.572 m.p.h. Mark Toews was in fourth place with 2 3/4 laps remaining in the "B" Feature when he spun in turn one. Tim Shaffer inherited the final transfer position for the evening's main event, only to have Jac Haudenschild drive the #22 fetchOmatic.com Maxim past him early in the final lap. WoO