Swindell Overcomes Kinser, Schatz to Claim Victory at River Cities
He picks up his ninth Outlaws win this season in Round 2 of The Duel in the Dakotas
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Aug. 17, 2012 – It was a tale of two obstacles for Sammy Swindell on a perfect Friday evening at River Cities Speedway.
First, outduel 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Steve Kinser for the lead on the racy, action-packed track. Second, outlast the hottest driver of late – Donny Schatz – in challenging traffic.
Swindell successfully completed both tasks to record his series-leading ninth victory in Round 2 of The Duel at the Dakotas Presented by Gerdau and Sleep Inn & Suites.
“It seemed like the first part just took forever to get going and then we went on a pretty long run it seemed like,” he said. “We were able to get the win and hold everybody else off there.”
The 40-lap event began with Swindell darting to the lead before a violent crash between Kerry Madsen and Greg Nikitenko forced a red flag on lap two. Kinser, who drove from ninth to fifth place in the dash, charged to second on the restart and quickly challenged Swindell for the top spot.
After fifth-running Chad Kemenah spun in turn two on the third lap, Kinser rocketed into the lead on the restart. He then pushed his advantage to several car lengths before entering traffic on lap 10, which allowed Swindell to reel him back in.
Swindell executed a slide job in turn two on lap 13 to regain the lead amid thick traffic. The duo nearly touched wheels several times and Kinser took over the top spot on lap 16 only to end up off the track exiting turn two on the ensuing lap. Kinser spun around once and came to a stop to bring out the caution, forcing him to restart 21st.
That moved fast qualifier Schatz to the runner-up position and while Swindell pulled into the lead on the restart, Schatz stayed within striking distance. The final caution came on lap 33 when Chris Shirek sustained a blown tire in turn three, which bunched the cars together for a late-race shootout.
The restart was single file because of track conditions and Swindell powered to a sizeable advantage only to have that lead quickly erased when he reached the tail end of the field with four laps remaining.
Schatz closed to the rear bumper of Swindell with two laps remaining and pulled to the outside in turns one and two. However, Swindell was in the preferred line and maintained the lead. With Swindell struggling to get through traffic, Schatz had one last chance on the final lap when Swindell drove to the outside of a lapped car. But Swindell held off Schatz by a car length to earn his first victory since July 27.
“I had a chance at him there in lapped traffic,” said Schatz, who entered the event with two straight wins and five consecutive top-five finishes. “He got himself out of a bad situation pretty quick.”
World of Outlaws championship leader Craig Dollansky overcame a mechanical issue to finish third and maintain his points lead.
“(On the) first lap of the feature we developed a pretty serious fuel leak and then lost a cylinder,” he said. “Definitely concerned once that started happening. From the first lap on I was down a cylinder and getting drenched and just debating whether we come to the work area and try to fix it or what we do. We chose to try to stay out there and try to hang in there and try to get a finish out of it, and fortunately we did.”
Lucas Wolfe finished fourth and Cody Darrah ended fifth. Stevie Smith was sixth, Justin Henderson seventh, Joey Saldana eighth, 18th-starter Mark Dobmeier ninth and Jason Sides rounded out the top 10.
Greg Wilson earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 22nd to 11th and Kinser rebounded to place 12th.
Kemenah, Darrah, Kinser and Henderson each won a heat race, and Shirek picked up the Last Chance Showdown.