Swindell Slides to Fifth World of Outlaws Feature Victory of Season
Kemenah a close second in first Outlaws race at Red River Valley since 2009
FARGO, N.D. – June 16, 2012 – Sammy Swindell parked his dust-covered sprint car next to the grandstands and hopped onto the rear bumper, waving five fingers in the air to the roar of the crowd located only a couple feet away.
Victory Lane was almost as close as the racing on Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway, where the near-capacity crowd was treated to a handful of slide jobs in the final 10 laps and side-by-side racing throughout the first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature at the 3/8-mile track since 2009.
“We were real close, but we weren’t roughing each other up,” Swindell said. “It was just good, clean fun. Even if I hadn’t have won, it still would have been fun because we did race each other hard and close and clean. I look forward to doing that every night if I can.
“As far as racing wheel to wheel that was definitely the best race.”
Swindell led the first eight and the final eight of the 30-lap feature en route to his fifth Outlaws victory of the season and 281st of his career. It’s the most World of Outlaws wins Swindell has earned in a season since 2000.
However, his road to victory was anything but smooth and Chad Kemenah made sure of it.
After starting eighth, Kemenah maneuvered into the third place by the fifth lap. On lap seven he passed Joey Saldana for second and two laps later, Kemenah drove around Swindell for the lead exiting turn two.
Kemenah entered traffic on lap 10 and set a blistering pace. He put a handful of cars and nearly a straightaway between himself and Swindell before a caution on lap 19 for a spin by Greg Nikitenko in turn two brought the field back together.
“When they dropped the green flag I knew we were pretty good,” Kemenah said. “It seemed like I could run in underneath them and get to what little cushion that was there. I was using it all up.”
Swindell took the lead on the restart only to have it negated when sixth-running Steve Kinser, who entered the race with a series-best nine victories in 30 World of Outlaws features at Red River Valley Speedway, stopped on the backstretch with apparent mechanical issues. Kinser went to the pits and was credited with a 19th-place finish.
Kemenah capitalized on the redo and rocketed to the lead with Donny Schatz sliding into second on the ensuing restart. Kaley Gharst then brought out a caution with 10 laps remaining to set up an epic finish.
Swindell, who restarted third, slid by the front row of Kemenah and Schatz as they entered the first turn. Kemenah rallied back into the lead by turn two, but Swindell was a close second. The duo then slid each other for the lead the next three times they entered a corner before Kyle Fedyk’s flip on lap 24 forced the final caution.
“That’s the fun part, being able to go out here and race real close,” Swindell said. “There were a few times with Chad we were only inches apart in a nice drift. I wasn’t trying to give and he wasn’t either, but we weren’t really pushing each other around. It’s fun to have that kind of respect and race like that.”
Swindell restarted in the lead and narrowly held off Kemenah for the final seven laps.
“It was really, really close and he raced me really, really clean,” Kemenah said. “That makes it so much better for the fans when we get to slide each other. I don’t know how many times it was, but I think we put on a really good show here for these fans who came out to support this deal.”
Schatz, whose split time working as the race promoter because his family owns Red River Valley Speedway, ended third. It was his best finish in the past seven races and was good enough to regain the World of Outlaws championship points lead.
“It’s a very difficult night trying to play driver and promoter, track prep and a little bit of everything,” Schatz said. “It was a great capacity crowd here tonight and I’m glad to be a part of this event.
“Promoter is a lot tougher job than anybody thinks. At the end of the day when you hear the cheers of the fans and the roar of the crowd when the racing is going on, it’s well worth it.”
Jason Sides was fourth and Kraig Kinser finished fifth. Craig Dollansky placed sixth and fast qualifier Saldana was seventh. Kerry Madsen worked from 17 th to eighth and Chris Shirek earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 19th to ninth. Cody Darrah rounded out the top 10.
Kemenah, Kraig Kinser and Austen Wheatley each claimed a heat race, and Bob Martin won the Last Chance Showdown.