Swindell Claims Third Crown at 29th Annual Kings Royal
The World of Outlaws event taped by SPEED will be broadcast on Saturday, July 28
ROSSBURG, Ohio – July 14, 2012 – There was a brief moment when the bitter disappointment of last year flashed through Sammy Swindell’s mind as he raced around Eldora Speedway at more than 125 miles per hour.
It was a year ago at the Kings Royal when the veteran sustained a blown tire on the last turn of the last lap, which knocked the prestigious win and the $50,000 prize out of his grasp only feet from the finish line.
On a muggy Saturday evening, Swindell was forced to ignore that nightmare while he once again led the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series race in the closing laps.
“We came so close last year and had a great car and a great race going until the very last corner,” he said. “That was in the back of my mind. Once I thought we were losing a left rear tire and I just told myself, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just hit your marks and keep going and whatever happens is going to happen.'”
Swindell erased all doubts and outlasted a late charge from Kerry Madsen to claim the 29th annual Kings Royal – and the $50,000 winnings – in front of a packed facility and television cameras that will broadcast the event on Saturday, July 28, at 2 p.m. (Eastern) on SPEED.
The victory was his 20th career at Eldora Speedway and his third career Kings Royal title, which ties him with Jac Haudenschild for second on the all-time list.
“It would have been nice to be back to back,” Swindell said. “I was just trying to be as conservative as I could; to run hard where I needed to and be careful where I needed to. We pulled it off.”
After qualifying 22nd of the season-high 50 drivers and winning his heat race, Swindell started third in the feature based on the special format. He passed Paul McMahan for the runner-up position on lap seven and then drove into the lead on the restart following the first caution – on lap 11 for Stevie Smith, who came to a stop in turn four.
Tim Kaeding hit the wall in turn two while running fifth on the restart and came to a stop on the frontstretch, bringing out another caution. Swindell chose the inside lane on the double-file restart and rocketed to the lead while Chad Kemenah and Dale Blaney, who restarted second and fourth, respectively, made contact on the ensuing lap.
Kemenah faded and eventually pulled into the pits, while Blaney lost several positions after nearly getting into the wall during the melee. Daryn Pittman closed to the rear of Swindell as a couple of drivers who transferred out of the B Main started to charge prior to the halfway point.
By lap 14, B Main winner Donny Schatz had advanced from 21st to fifth, while 23rd starter Kraig Kinser moved to eighth and 24 th starter Steve Kinser was in 10th.
However, the car on the move was Kerry Madsen. He restarted 11th on lap 11 and advanced to third place as Swindell entered traffic near the halfway mark of the feature. Madsen and Pittman then traded slide jobs in every corner for two straight laps before Madsen held onto the spot on lap 27. Two laps later the final caution waved for debris in turn three and the field was stopped to refuel.
Madsen and Pittman continued their sliders on the restart while Swindell checked out. Madsen again regained the position for good with 10 laps remaining and began chasing Swindell. With five laps remaining Madsen dove to the inside in turn one, pulling up next to Swindell but eventually losing ground exiting turn two.
“I didn’t really try a slide job, I just tried to run the middle and thought I could get a run to do a slide job a lap later and it completely backfired on me,” Madsen said. “I just lost too much ground.”
As the duo entered traffic with three laps remaining, Madsen again began to reel in Swindell. However, a last-ditch slide job in turns three and four ended with Swindell’s momentum carrying him past a sliding Madsen in turn four with the checkered flag in the air.
Haudenschild finished third – his eighth career Kings Royal top three and first since winning the event in 1998.
“Any time you can get on the podium it’s a good feeling,” he said.
Justin Henderson placed fourth and Kraig Kinser earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from the last starting row to fifth. Pittman ended sixth, Joey Saldana seventh, Schatz eighth and Greg Wilson charged from 22nd to ninth. Steve Kinser rounded out the top 10 after starting last.
Kemenah, Henderson, Pittman, Swindell, McMahan and Kaeding each claimed a heat race victory, and Dallas Hewitt won the C Main. Craig Dollansky established quick time in qualifying with a lap of 13.338 seconds.