Swindell Breaks Through At Merced

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Yet it was NASCAR sensation Kyle Larson who jumped to the early lead. Larson led the first 13 laps before the right-rear tire on his car popped going into turn one, giving the lead to Swindell.

“I think our car was good there to run with Kyle maybe in the last half of the race,” Swindell said. “His car was pretty good to start; mine was a bit tight, but the track was going to go away and the fuel was going to come out. I felt like we had something.”

With the bottom groove favored and only one caution the rest of the race, Swindell maneuvered through traffic perfectly. Point leader Daryn Pittman was able to close within three car lengths in traffic once, but Swindell was in control.

“Things went his way tonight,” Pittman said. “Some nights things go your way and put you in the right position to win the race. He’s awfully talented and when you give him a chance to win and put him on the front row, he’s awfully hard to beat.

“Tonight track position was really important. I think Larson was going to be pretty hard to beat if he didn’t have a flat.”

Californian Tim Kaeding, who along with Pittman are the only multiple feature winners this season, passed Chad Kemenah for third place exiting turn two with two laps remaining. It was his sixth top five in eight events this season.

Kemenah placed fourth and Paul McMahan ended fifth.