Swindell Bounces Back, Wins I-80 Preliminary By Richard Day GREENWOOD, NE (September 22) -- Comparing the preliminary programs at the Circuit City Shootout shows how intensely competitive the Pennzoil...
Swindell Bounces Back, Wins I-80 Preliminary
By Richard Day
GREENWOOD, NE (September 22) -- Comparing the preliminary programs at the Circuit City Shootout shows how intensely competitive the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series has become. Sammy Swindell, whose engine problems kept him from starting the opening-night Preliminary Feature, put together a flag-to-flag victory Friday. Jeff Shepard, the First Preliminary Feature winner, won the "B" Feature just to qualify for Friday's main event. Mark Kinser, who set I-80 Speedway's single-lap record Thursday, was only the 20th-fastest qualifier -- and .75 seconds off Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner Donny Schatz' pace -- 24 hours later. Daryn Pittman won the first Preliminary Feature of his career at the Gold Cup Race of Champions a week earlier. He won Friday's "C" Feature, but watched the evening's main event after finishing seventh in the "B." Brooke Tatnell, returning to the series after a back injury put him out of action for two months, was the most consistent of all, driving the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim into 15th place in both preliminary races. Although he was a half-second slower than Schatz during Vivarin qualifying, Swindell won every race he entered -- the Fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race, the CHANNELLOCK Dash and the Preliminary Feature. Sammy leads the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series with 21 CHANNELLOCK Dash victories and eight Preliminary Feature triumphs. "We were probably just as good last night, but because of that (fuel filter) problem we didn't get to run for very long," Sammy said. "We couldn't start the feature, so that's probably going to put us way back for tomorrow (Saturday) night. We just came out here tonight and did what we pretty much had to do, and showed what we're capable of when we get it all together." The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' three-time champion burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the 20-lap feature and was never challenged. He was 1.6 seconds ahead of his closest pursuers when he entered lapped traffic during the sixth lap and, despite slowing in lapped traffic late in the race, took the checkered flag with half a second to spare. "The top was the fast way around early, then it started to take some rubber in the middle, and that makes it pretty tough," Swindell explained. "I didn't hear or feel anyone behind me, so I knew if I just took my time and didn't make any mistakes, it would be tough for anyone to get around me. I had a tough time getting by Randy (Kinser), and I knew if I had that much trouble getting by him that whoever was back there was going to have just as hard a time getting by me." There was plenty of passing going on behind Swindell. First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner Greg Hodnett exchanged sixth place with Danny Lasoski three times. Hodnett drove the #V12 Wirtgen America Maxim around "The Dude" in the fourth corner late in the second lap, only to lose the position between turns one and two five laps later. After dropping back to eighth place during an eighth-lap restart for Tim Shaffer's blown engine, the 1993 Rookie of the Year passed Dean Jacobs and Lasoski again to finish sixth. Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser started outside the third row. He steered his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the low groove between the first and second corners to pass Third NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner Brad Furr early in lap 16, then duplicated the move to get by Andy Hillenburg for the runner-up spot with 1 2/3 laps remaining. Hillenburg, the Fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner, finished in third place, ahead of Furr, Schatz, Hodnett, Lasoski, 18th-starting Mark Kinser, Stevie Smith and Jason Meyers. Schatz received his fourth Vivarin Fast-Time Award of the season for pacing the 45-car field with a 101.366-m.p.h. lap around the semi- banked, 4/10-mile oval. Jac Haudenschild was running third in the "B" Feature when the rear end in the #22 fetchOmatic Maxim broke. His crew was unable to repair the car in time for him to start the Preliminary Feature, so "The Wild Child" used a provisional and settled for 25th place.