But at the end his car was going away quickly despite changing tires at the halfway break, as did the entire field.
“Getting through traffic. I got to Paul McMahan and Cody Darrah and they were running side beside and I was 20 car lengths behind, wondering what I was going to do here. Cody got around Paul and then I tried to pass Cody. I slid it pretty bad there and I tried to use every bit of gas pedal that I could and I just couldn’t get the car going again.
“I went through three and four through the middle on the last lap and it spun. I spun all the way to the checkered. It was either going to have the rods hanging out of it or I was going to win and just did get it done.”
Craig Dollansky finished third for the fourth time in this race.
“We made some adjustments at the break and we went the wrong way a little bit and should have left it the way it was,” Dollansky said. “We had a great week. We put ourselves in position to win and we just weren’t good enough. Donny and his team, they have this place wired. My hat’s off to them. Six of these things, that’s pretty incredible.”
Kraig Kinser finished fourth and Jason Meyers was fifth.
But the other story of the night was the end of 12-time Knoxville Nationals winner Steve Kinser’s 35-year streak of starting A mains at the Knoxville Nationals. The streak dated back to 1977. Swindell finished fifth in the B main, missing the feature by a single spot. It marked the first time since 1975 that both drivers missed the feature in the same season.
As well, four-time Nationals winner Danny Lasoski also failed to qualify for the feature.
“There is a lot of disappointment for not seeing those guys,” said Schatz. “Anybody that degrades them for not making this race should be kicked in the butt. Those guys paved the way and they bring the fans here. Danny was someone who helped me a lot as a kid to keep me from killing myself. To see those guys not in the show is really disheartening. That just shows you how tough the competition is right now.”
Brown, who is Lasoski’s nephew, does not believe the torch has been passed.
“I am not sure the torch has been passed,” Brown said. “Those guys can still get the job done night in and night out. The torch hasn’t been passed. Next to Donny Schatz, Steve Kinser is still the best out there. And Sammy has been on top of his game this year. If the torch has been passed, it has been six times now.”
Six times indeed.