MEADVILLE, PA - July 2, 2001 - Sammy Swindell knows that competing in the World of Outlaws sprint car series is a balance sheet of profits and losses. Last weekend's two-night event at Knoxville Raceway was one of those weekends he'd just as soon...
MEADVILLE, PA - July 2, 2001 - Sammy Swindell knows that competing in the World of Outlaws sprint car series is a balance sheet of profits and losses. Last weekend's two-night event at Knoxville Raceway was one of those weekends he'd just as soon write off the books. An event punctuated by less-than-perfect qualifying runs, contact with other drivers, blistered and flat tires made for a long weekend.
Friday's preliminary program at the Iowa Classic saw Swindell qualify the #1 CHANNELLOCK® Stealth 19th fastest with a lap time of 15.633 seconds. He finished sixth in the third O'Reilly Heat Race of the evening. After missing the cut for the Channellock Dash, Swindell was forced to secure a starting position in the feature by first running the B Feature. He claimed a second-place finish, right behind winner Andy Hillenburg. The B Feature finish placed Swindell deep in the field at the 18th starting position for the Preliminary Feature.
Swindell learned the hard way that a new tire compound was unacceptable for a 25-lap race. "We had this new tire to try out and figured starting as far back as we were, it was as good a time as any to try something new," commented Swindell. "I was running pretty good early in the race. I was passing quite a few guys, but then they all started passing me again. The tire was blistering and pretty much coming apart on me. At least we learned that it might be a good qualifying tire. It was real fast for the first dozen laps or so." His struggles resulted in a 15th place finish in the Preliminary Feature.
Saturday's A Feature program began with an ominous sign of things to come during practice laps. "We had put in a new motor and thought we were going to be in pretty good shape to qualify at least in the middle of the field, and then we didn't even make a lap in practice before some guy ran over me," said Swindell. "It was someone we didn't know and who didn't even end up qualifying. I was driving around him just past the flag stand and he just turned up on me. There wasn't anyplace to go. I thought, 'he's got to stop,' but he didn't. So then we had to spend all our time trying to get the car ready again just to qualify, and I don't think we were able to get everything right." A 16.379-second, 20th fastest qualifying result seemed to confirm his assessment.
Swindell pulled off a respectable third-place finish in the fourth O'Reilly Heat Race, but was unable to improve more than one position from his 22nd starting spot in the A Feature. "We were running pretty good early on and had passed quite a few cars, but one guy I was following ran up on the infield berm and threw a lot of marbles out on the track right in front of me, and I almost spun out. By the time I turned around and got going again, I got lapped," recalled a frustrated Swindell. In the 36th of 40 laps, a flat left rear tire was the final straw for Swindell. He finished a disappointing 21st.
Following the taxing weekend at Knoxville, Swindell and the Channellock Racing team dusted themselves off and set their sights on a busy week of competition ahead. Tuesday, July 3rd sees the team at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, SD, followed by the three-night "Duel in the Dakotas" July 5-7 at West Fargo, ND. The July 6th race will be televised live on TNN, The National Network, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Then it's on to Cedar Lake Speedway in Somerset, WI on July 9th.