Eldora Clash, Friday, July 14th, race report
Swindell Edges Blaney in Eldora Clash By Richard Day ROSSBURG, OH (July 14) -- Just when TNN executives thought they might have to rename their Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series telecasts "The Sammy ...
Swindell Edges Blaney in Eldora Clash By Richard Day ROSSBURG, OH (July 14) -- Just when TNN executives thought they might have to rename their Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series telecasts "The Sammy Swindell Show," Dale Blaney almost stole the spotlight. Swindell, who has won three of the series' last four televised races on TNN Sports, appeared to be on his way to a convincing victory in the Eldora Clash Friday when Blaney cut 3 1/3 seconds off his advantage in the last seven laps and came up only .18 seconds short. "I really didn't know how close he (Blaney) was getting there at the end," the defending Kings Royal champion said. "I was trying to get by some lapped cars, and there were a couple out there who I don't think wanted to be a lap down." Blaney, who won the 1998 Historical Big One at Eldora Speedway, thought he would have won the race had it lasted another lap. "The Amoco car was really good tonight," Dale said. "I knew we were gaining there, and it got pretty close there on the last lap. I didn't know if Sammy was going to go low to block or if he was going to run high, and I had about a tenth of a second to make a decision, and I didn't try to slide him there. Hopefully, we'll be in the same position to try it again tomorrow night (in the Kings Royal)." Swindell, who started outside the second row, passed Preliminary Feature winner Johnny Herrera for the lead late in the ninth lap and opened a 2.6-second advantage in lapped traffic within five laps. Blaney, whose fourth-place finish in the First CHANNELLOCK Dash put him outside the sixth row when the green flag fell in the 30-lap main event, passed early leader Jac Haudenschild and Herrera during the 20th lap. Swindell opened a 3.5-second advantage by lap 24, only to have Blaney narrow the gap to .7 seconds with two laps remaining. "Slim" steered the #93 Amoco Maxim to the deepest point between the third and fourth corners as they headed for the checkered flag, but was unable to claim the $12,000 first prize. "We have this CHANNELLOCK car working pretty good here, especially around the middle," Sammy said. "It seems like we're pretty locked down there. We made some changes last night for the Preliminary Feature, and went the wrong direction. I think we have everything straightened out now, and we should be pretty good tomorrow night." Swindell's fifth "A" Feature victory of the season, coupled with Mark Kinser's 13th-place finish, pushed Sammy into second place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings. Herrera, who won the Second CHANNELLOCK Dash, burst into the lead from the pole as the green flag fell in the main event. Haudenschild, who has won three Kings Royals and the Inaugural Historical Big One, steered the #22 fetchOmatic.com into the high groove in the third corner to take over first place several seconds later, however. Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser and 18th-starting Andy Hillenburg tangled in turn two early in the third lap. They continued racing, but Greg Hodnett and Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner Phil Gressman collided trying to avoid them. The crash put Hodnett -- the race's only provisional starter -- out of action. Herrera drove the #20 Networks Eagle deep in the first corner to pass "The Wild Child" for the lead as the green flag replaced the yellow. "B" Feature winner Brooke Tatnell hit the wall and flipped in turn one the next time around. World of Outlaws Gumout Series points leader Craig Dollansky hit the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim and also flipped. The impact broke a bone in Dollansky's right leg. Swindell passed Haudenschild for second place as the race resumed, then steered his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth low in turn four to take the lead from Herrera four laps later. Blaney passed Kenny Jacobs for sixth place between the first and second corners early in the 13th lap, then rode the rim toward the front of the 24-car field. "Dave (Blaney, Dale's brother and car owner) was one of the best to ever get around this place," Blaney said. "I don't know if you could say he's given me any of his secrets, but he gets me really pumped to race here." Haudenschild finished in third place, ahead of Joey Saldana, Steve Kinser, Hillenburg, Herrera, Danny Wood, First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner Donny Schatz and Jason Meyers. Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year points leader Danny Wood was the 31st-fastest qualifier in the 41-car field. He won the "C" Feature, passed 12 cars to finish third in the "B" Feature, then raced into eighth place from outside the 12th row in the main event. WoO
World of Outlaws point standings through July 13th
Kings Royal, Saturday, July 15, race report