Swindell Snags Win at Sixth annual PEAK Motor Oil World Finals Presented by NAPA
His 13th World of Outlaws feature victory secures the winningest driver title this season
CONCORD, N.C. – Nov. 2, 2012 – Sammy Swindell rated his feature performance slightly higher than his postrace celebration at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
However, both his late-race pass and postrace donuts in turn four provoked the spectators in the packed grandstands to their feet on a brisk Friday evening at the Sixth annual PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals Presented by NAPA Auto Parts.
Swindell earned his 13th feature victory to wrap up the title as the winningest driver this season on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series when he dove under Brian Brown in turns three and four coming to the white flag. The move allowed Swindell to pull away after the duo battled side by side for the previous two laps.
“I just tried to stay calm and stay patient, just make sure I didn’t overdrive the car, the tires, and that’s what paid off,” Swindell said. “It was all about conserving. There at the end I knew that we were in better shape, so it was just go for it. It took me a little bit to get it accomplished, but all I needed was room to get by.”
The maneuver pumped up Swindell, who concluded the entertainment after a cool-down lap with approximately a half-dozen donuts only a few feet from where he made the race-winning pass. While the fans were thrilled, Swindell said he needed to work on his finish after the engine stalled when he tried to end the celebration.
“I was trying to slow down there and I got slowed down too much, I guess, going up the hill and killed it,” he said. “There’s not too many places where you get a chance to do that so I probably need a little practice.
“Maybe tomorrow night we’ll do it a little bit better.”
The PEAK Motor Oil World Finals Presented by NAPA concludes on Saturday – the front gates open at 3 p.m. with Opening Ceremonies at 4:45 p.m. – after a tough act to follow. Slide jobs and side-by-side racing were the themes to Friday’s program – capped by the dramatic feature.
Polesitter Craig Dollansky powered to the early lead before Cody Darrah brought out a caution on lap five when he stopped in turn two. Dollansky chose the inside lane on the double-file restart, but he faded as the green flag waved. Swindell dove to the inside and Dale Blaney rocketed to the outside as the duo split Dollansky entering turn one.
Blaney edged Swindell as Brown worked his way into the top three following a three-way battle for third with Dollansky and Kraig Kinser after the restart. The leaders entered traffic on lap 15 and Brown, who was running next to the wall, advanced to the runner-up position in turn four.
Mired in thick traffic, Brown capitalized on his momentum to propel him into the lead on the high groove exiting turn four on lap 16. Brown and Blaney swapped the top spot on every straightaway for several laps before the final caution of the race came on lap 25 when Blaney’s right rear tire went flat.
Chasing his first World of Outlaws feature win, Brown chose the inside lane on the double-file restart with six laps remaining. The top three of Brown, Swindell and Kinser quickly separated themselves from the pack by several car lengths on the restart, which set up for a dynamic finish.
Swindell nearly collided with Brown on a couple of occasions as the drivers slowed dramatically to hit their marks on the very bottom in turns three and four. Swindell tried one lane higher on lap 28 and pulled aside Brown at the flagstand. With Kinser in tow, the Swindell and Brown raced side by side through turns one and two and down the backstretch.
“I’d kind of lose them in the turns because I was running so low on the race track,” Kinser said. “It wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I was just trying to go where they weren’t. You never know what can happen – they bump a little bit, kill both of their momentum and I could sneak around. That’s what I was hoping for and it just didn’t work out.”
Swindell was able to get to the bottom in turn three before Brown, which ultimately gave Swindell the lead for good. Kinser also maneuvered by Brown as the white flag was waved, but Brown regained the runner-up position in turn one.
“My tire felt like it just got a little bit low and I just couldn’t turn like I should have and just got beat,” Brown said. “Me and Sammy were just going to wear each other out if we had to, and we came up second.”
Kinser rounded out the podium with Paul McMahan driving from 13th to fourth and Jason Johnson from 12th to fifth. Bryan Sebetto earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after maneuvering from 19th to sixth with Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jac Haudenschild, Daryn Pittman and 20 th-starter Lucas Wolfe rounding out the top 10, respectively.
Points leader Donny Schatz failed to advance to the feature for the first time this season, snapping a streak of 16 races with a top-eight finish.