PEVELY, Mo. — Sammy Swindell had a Jekyll and Hyde weekend. A rough Friday night left him using a provisional starting position for the feature in Salina, Okla. Saturday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway the driver of the Big Game Treestands No. 1 reversed course and started on the outside pole of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series feature event and won his first race of the season.
Following Swindell across the line was Joey Saldana, who was battling for both a weekend and event sweep after winning Friday at the Salina Highbanks Speedway and starting off the Spring Classic by setting quick time and winning his heat race before contending for the win. Donny Schatz crossed the line in third place with David Gravel and Daryn Pittman rounding out the top five.
Brad Sweet and Swindell led the field to the green flag with Sweet jumping to the early lead. Sweet pulled away while the battle raged behind him. Sweet led early until lap five when he tapped the wall with the right rear and contacted the wall and rolled to a stop.
Swindell inherited the lead on the ensuing restart. Swindell and Schatz pushed into one and brought Saldana into the battle for the lead. Saldana took the lead behind the wheel of his Motter Equipment/HE&M Saw No. 71 in turns three and four to lead lap seven. While Saldana’s lead increased, Swindell and Schatz battled for the second position with Swindell riding the high side of the track as the cushion pushed closer and closer to the wall, and Schatz working the bottom of the track. The leaders had to hold their composure on lap 12 when a car dropped oil entering one, causing the leaders to check up, while several of the top cars were able to hold on, Madsen slid into the wall.
Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser gained the crowd’s attention as the pair cut through traffic and earned a pair of positions each to put Lasoski second and Kinser sixth. Saldana and Saldana led the field to green on a lap-18 restart. Swindell fell to third in an exciting start that saw Lasoski lead down the backstretch while Kraig Kinser roared from the fourth position to the lead.
The pass for the win was made on the lap-21 restart with Swindell starting to the outside of Kinser. Swindell got a great start on the outside and flung his machine into turn one. Swindell would have to hold on for another restart on lap 27. Swindell brought the field to green at a slow pace and his car exploded off of the bottom and to a strong lead. On lap 29, Saldana had reeled in the Germantown, Tenn., native for a final attempt to lead, and threw a slide job at Swindell in turn three, but Swindell held strong to keep the position. Schatz attacked Saldana in the next corner, but Saldana was able to fend off the attack.
Swindell led the field across the finish line by less than half a second (0.471 seconds).
“We’ve been close, but sometimes it’s just positioning,” admitted Swindell. “If you didn’t start right or if you didn’t do everything exactly right you might just get cars going everywhere. I was in the right place at the right time I guess. I finally found a place that I liked and the car liked if I hit it, but if you missed it you kind of paid a big price. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Saldana capped off a win on Friday with a second place on Saturday.
“I actually really enjoyed it, I feel like the fans, that was pretty cool race,” said resident Saldana. “You’ve got to hit your marks every single lap and I missed a couple and that cost me. Great effort this whole weekend with a first and a second with these guys, if you can be on the front straightaway that’s a great effort. Hopefully we’ll go to Eldora and keep running the way we’re running.”
Schatz took third behind the wheel of the STP/Armor All No. 15 entry of Tony Stewart Racing.
“Third feels kind of like a win for the way we were,” admitted Schatz. “We tried a little something there and we weren’t exactly where we wanted to be. We felt good early tonight, but we just needed to make some other changes. That’s how you learn and hopefully next time we’ll come back and be a little better.”
Saldana stretched his championship lead with a second place lead to 14 points over Daryn Pittman. McMahan holds third place trailing by 18 points and Schatz sitting 19 points out of the lead.