Monday, July 1, 2013

Swindell Notches Seventh Victory at Cedar Lake


Photo courtesy of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars
For the first time in a long time, the Outlaws were met by blue skies and no threat of rain on race night. Cedar Lake Raceway rolled out her best clay carpet on her 3/8-mile oval. She had a suitor on the way, or so she thought. Sadly Tony Stewart would encounter mechanical difficulties with his airplane in Kentucky and was unable to find a flight or charter a plane to get to their date. If she was disappointed it didn’t show. She had her eye on an old beau one that had claimed her trophy six times before. A man named Sammy. 

The Outlaws rolled to the post 27 cars strong with the announcement that Tony Stewart would not be arriving. They were shooting for the track record set by Terry McCarl in 2004 when he turned a lap of 10.775 seconds. They fell short of that mark tonight with Quick Time going to Paul McMahan with a lap of 11.465 seconds. The rest of the top five times belonged to Sammy Swindell, Wayne Johnson, Joey Saldana and Bill Balog.  

The first heat race went off without a glitch. Chad Kemenah took the lead on a fairly narrow track and led Craig Dollansky, Joey Saldana, Jason Sides, Paul McMahan and Cody Darrah to the checkers and the A Main. 

The second heat was a fierce battle between Sammy Swindell and Donny Schatz for the point. They banged wheels and traded slide jobs with so much ferocity it was easy to forget that you were watching a heat race at Cedar Lake and not the battle for the crown at the Kings Royal. The heat would be interrupted by two separate wrecks that happened at the same time. Tim Kaeding would get into the wall and flip the car collecting Ryan Wilson, while on the backstretch Bill Balog would get into Daryn Pittman and cause him to flip end over end down the straightaway. Pittman climbed from the car and walked to the car of Balog to “discuss” the situation with him. Balog would later say, “It was my fault. But he still didn't need to hit me. That was unnecessary.” Outlaws officials were of the opinion that there were words exchanged not blows. Kaeding, Pittman and Wilson all retired from the heat. Kaeding was a scratch for the remainder of the night, while Pittman was relegated to the backup car. Swindell came home the winner with Schatz right on his tail tank. Ian Madsen, Bill Balog, Kraig Kinser and Brian Brown also transferred to the A Main. 

The third heat race was won by Australian native Kerry Madsen, who took the lead in the first turn and never looked back. Rico Abreu, Wayne Johnson, Jason Solwold, Steve Kinser and David Gravel also advanced to the A. Wayne Johnson had a heart-stopping moment halfway through when the brakes, in his words, “fell off the car in the heat race.” The team worked quickly to repair the car and got it back on the track for the Dash.

The Dash was quick-paced and saw a flexing of muscle by Donny Schatz, who came from ninth starting spot to finish fifth in the six laps. Again Schatz would battle with Swindell for the fourth spot but would come up short and have to settle for fifth. 

The Last Chance Showdown had one of the scariest crashes of the season, when Davey Heskin hit the turn four wall and flipped side over side then end over end. Heskin crawled out of the car unhurt but his night was over. With only six cars left to run the race all six would transfer to the A, including Daryn Pittman in his back up car. Regardless of where Pittman finished he would start in the 24th spot of the A Main. The Showdown was won by James McFadden with Pittman closing fast to finish second followed by Bill Rose, Kris Spitz, R.J. Johnson, who was subbing for an injured Brooke Tatnell, and Alan Gilbertson. 

The A Main was 35 laps of hard core racing. On Lap 24, second-place runner Donny Schatz would get caught up in a wreck when a lapped car flipped and collected Schatz and Kraig Kinser. Schatz’s crew was able to make repairs and return the STP No. 15 to the track, but the difficulties were just starting for Schatz, who, with eight laps to go, got into the infield tire barrier and flipped the car in the fourth turn. The crew would again make repairs and return Schatz to the track but he would finish a disappointing 18th. The battle was now on in earnest between Joey Saldana, Sammy Swindell and Steve Kinser. Swindell would take the measure of Saldana on the final restart and jump out to a two-second lead. Kinser would try to get around the Motter Motorsports entry of Saldana but was unable to make the pass. The victory went to Sammy Swindell, who collected his seventh victory at Cedar Lake. The Hard Charger of the race was Daryn Pittman who climbed 20 positions to finish fourth. 

Sammy Swindell sounded relieved in his post race comments saying, "It's great to finally get another win here, especially after last night and some of the things we have been through that have happened. We just worked real hard today on some things and just tried to put it all together. So it definitely shows we gotta get our act together and get everything in the right place and this Big Game Tree Stands team, we're capable of winning a lot more races. So we just gotta put it together and make it happen. We got this Eagle flying tonight it was fast right out of the box and we didn't do very many changes. It's just this tire deal you run crazy with the thing it just seems like you're beating the cars and the tires to death but I guess that's what it takes. From the last three years trying to win as slow as you can to now you gotta be a little out of control, I guess, I gotta get use to being like that but it doesn't seem right. But whatever goes fast that's what I gotta do. Everyone here, our partners have been great and our cars have been good, Hoosier tires they're good, we just got figure out what to do with them. Our super shocks we have chased that all over the place trying to find something. Now we're kind of back to where we were so we kind of did a lot of the things that we would normally do here hopefully we got the direction going for us and it pans out and we'll have a lot of notes.” 

When asked about the difficulty of passing on the track, Swindell commented, "It's just I had to get it timed right and a couple of times I did but a time or two I missed there when Schatz got in there and the time when Steve was flying through the grass. I thought I was on the bottom but he found something a little lower. But these restarts can either make or break you. Just finally we got to be in the right place there and he (Saldana) didn't get the good start and spun the wheels right out here at the flag stand and I had it locked down so it gave us the shot we needed to get through I think we had a good car it's tough to run behind somebody especially on a track when you got be right on the curbs It was a lot easier when I got out in front. I messed up with one deal when I tried to go to the middle down here in three and four that was a mistake and let Schatz get by but that took care of itself I guess.” 

For Joey Saldana, his second-place finish was a disappointment after leading for so much of the race, but he was optimistic as he and the Motter Motorsports team move forward. "Yeah, I didn't know what to do. I mean maybe I should have gone back to the top on the restart but these guys are pretty smart in what they do so he just got position on me then you just gotta ride her out. But we had a good car we just came up short. But this is nice. Dan and Ruth Motter are here tonight it's kind of their closest to home track for them. We didn't get her done but we definitely were better tonight than what we've been so at least it was job well done by the whole Motter team and hopefully we can get a little better for Wednesday.” 

For the King, Steve Kinser, it was yet another breakthrough in a long season of searching. "Yeah, we actually had a good start and showed Sammy that bottom there on that restart. Which allowed him, when Dollansky spun out, I knew where Sammy was going on the restart. And Joey didn't know it was coming either, so it showed him what was going on and we just kind of hung in there in third once we got going. I had a good line I could run actually really good down in 1 and 2. I don't know if anybody could hit 3 and 4 or not, but then I was tight in 3 and 4 - if I could have ever stayed up with them through 3 and 4 I could have probably passed cars in 1 and 2 but we had a good car better than we been running. We're getting a little more consistent so we're starting to get there so we'll just keep working at it.”  

The crazy night was over. Cedar Lake had her date with an old friend that she hadn’t seen in awhile. Her friend is a legend known near and far, whose reputation for speed and daring combined with engineering genius have garnered him the mystique of being known by simply one name. Her friend Sammy treated her to a night of thrills and delights. She treated him to her trophy for the seventh time. 

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report;
Qualifying: 1. 51-Paul McMahan, 11.465; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell, 11.505; 3. 77X-Wayne Johnson, 11.533; 4. 71M-Joey Saldana, 11.599; 5. 17B-Bill Balog, 11.619; 6. 82-Jason Solwold, 11.645; 7. 63-Chad Kemenah, 11.657; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman, 11.657; 9. 29-Kerry Madsen, 11.663; 10. 7-Craig Dollansky, 11.682; 11. 15-Donny Schatz, 11.686; 12. 24-Rico Abreu, 11.695; 13. 7S-Jason Sides, 11.697; 14. 21-Brian Brown, 11.702; 15. 11-Steve Kinser, 11.710; 16. 4-Cody Darrah, 11.718; 17. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 11.718; 18. 6R-Bill Rose, 11.733; 19. 56-David Heskin, 11.750; 20. 18-Ian Madsen, 11.787; 21. 6-David Gravel, 11.848; 22. 55X-James McFadden, 11.853; 23. 83-Tim Kaeding, 11.859; 24. 4K-Kris Spitz, 11.999; 25. 55-R.J. Johnson, 12.063; 26. 19-Ryan Wilson, 12.422; 27. 97-Alan Gilbertson, 12.670

Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 63-Chad Kemenah [2]; 2. 7-Craig Dollansky [1]; 3. 71M-Joey Saldana [3]; 4. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan [4]; 6. 4-Cody Darrah [6]; 7. 55X-James McFadden [8]; 8. 56-David Heskin [7]; 9. 55-R.J. Johnson [9]

Heat 2 - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [4]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [1]; 3. 18-Ian Madsen [7]; 4. 17B-Bill Balog [3]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [5]; 7. 19-Ryan Wilson [9]; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman [2]; 9. 83-Tim Kaeding [8]

Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [2]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu [1]; 3. 77X-Wayne Johnson [4]; 4. 82-Jason Solwold [3]; 5. 11-Steve Kinser [5]; 6. 6-David Gravel [7]; 7. 6R-Bill Rose [6]; 8. 4K-Kris Spitz [8]; 9. 97-Alan Gilbertson [9]

Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 63-Chad Kemenah [1]; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana [3]; 3. 17B-Bill Balog [2]; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell [5]; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [9]; 6. 77X-Wayne Johnson [4]; 7. 7-Craig Dollansky [8]; 8. 51-Paul McMahan [6]; 9. 29-Kerry Madsen [7]; 10. 24-Rico Abreu [10]

Last Chance Showdown - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 55X-James McFadden [3] [-]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [7] [-]; 3. 6R-Bill Rose [1] [-]; 4. 4K-Kris Spitz [4] [-]; 5. 55-R.J. Johnson [5] [-]; 6. 97-Alan Gilbertson [6] [-]; 7. 56-David Heskin [2] [$200]; 8. 83-Tim Kaeding [8] [$180]; 9. 19-Ryan Wilson [9] [$175]

A-Main - (35 Laps): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [4] [$10,000]; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana [2] [$5,500]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser [14] [$3,200]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman [24] [$2,800]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan [8] [$2,500]; 6. 17B-Bill Balog [3] [$2,300]; 7. 4-Cody Darrah [15] [$2,200]; 8. 82-Jason Solwold [11] [$2,100]; 9. 63-Chad Kemenah [1] [$2,050]; 10. 7S-Jason Sides [12] [$2,000]; 11. 55X-James McFadden [20] [$1,500]; 12. 29-Kerry Madsen [9] [$1,200]; 13. 21-Brian Brown [13] [$1,100]; 14. 7-Craig Dollansky [7] [$1,050]; 15. 18-Ian Madsen [18] [$1,000]; 16. 11K-Kraig Kinser [16] [$900]; 17. 77X-Wayne Johnson [6] [$800]; 18. 15-Donny Schatz [5] [$800]; 19. 97-Alan Gilbertson [23] [$800]; 20. 24-Rico Abreu [10] [$800]; 21. 55-R.J. Johnson [22] [$800]; 22. 6R-Bill Rose [17] [$800]; 23. 4K-Kris Spitz [21] [$800]; 24. 6-David Gravel [19] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Joey Saldana 1-27, Sammy Swindell 28-35. KSE Hard Charger Award: 9-Daryn Pittman [+20]

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