MEADVILLE, PA - September 4, 2001 - Sammy Swindell had his ups and downs at Calistoga Speedway during the three-night "Harvest Classic" last weekend, but was unable to record the finish he wanted at a track where he's been known to tear up the ...
MEADVILLE, PA - September 4, 2001 - Sammy Swindell had his ups and downs at Calistoga Speedway during the three-night "Harvest Classic" last weekend, but was unable to record the finish he wanted at a track where he's been known to tear up the competition in years past.
The World of Outlaws sprint car series rolled into Calistoga, CA on Friday, August 31st for its opening night event. Swindell qualified the #1 Channellock Stealth fourth-quick with a lap time of 16.390 seconds around the semi-banked half-mile oval. He then grabbed third place in the fourth O'Reilly Heat Race. A seventh-place finish in the Channellock Dash placed Swindell on the outside of the fourth row for the start of the first Preliminary Feature. The three-time series champion was able to advance four positions to finish third behind Paul McMahan and race winner Jeff Shepard.
Things got off to a good start again on Saturday night as Swindell qualified seventh-quick with a time of 16.704 seconds. Then it was deja vu from Thursday night as Swindell again finished third in the third O'Reilly Heat Race and seventh in the Channellock Dash. But problems during the second Preliminary Feature caused Swindell to drop rather than advance through the field. He eventually finished 16th.
"I was pretty pleased with the way things started tonight," said Swindell afterward. "I was running about fourth when something went wrong with a pressure bleeder in the left rear tire. The tire went flat and I ended up starting back in 24th for the restart, so that set us back quite a bit. All things considered, we were pretty fortunate to be able to pass eight more cars and finish 16th."
The Outlaws began Sunday's "Harvest Classic" finale with the heat races, as each driver "qualified" by virtue of his points earned in the first two nights. And this time Swindell won the third O'Reilly Heat Race, advancing straight to the A Feature, where he would line-up in the seventh spot for the drop of the green.
Swindell described Sunday's main event: "We were running pretty good there at first. I had moved up a spot to sixth and ran there for a while. Then on a restart, something broke on Stevie Smith's car and he was trying to go down on the track. (Danny) Lasoski tried to get underneath him and he came back up when I was trying to go around both of them, so I had to steer clear of them and wound up losing a bunch of spots. I went all the way back to 11th and worked my way back up to eighth from there. So it was a good and bad weekend in some respects. The car was running pretty good and I felt good physically, but we just needed some things to go our way a little better and we could have finished real strong."
Jeff Shepard won Sunday's Ninth Annual "Harvest Classic" championship.
Swindell is running a partial schedule this year and, after an abbreviated California tour, he and the Channellock Racing team will compete next at Texas Motor Speedway on September 14th and 15th. The September 14th race will be televised on TNN: The National Network at 9:00 p.m. ET.