He leads all 25 laps to pick up his eighth World of Outlaws feature victory of the season
GRANBY, Quebec – July 27, 2012 – Uh oh.
Sammy Swindell recently found the problem for his so-called slump and he answered it with an emphatic victory on Friday during the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series inaugural visit to Autodrome Granby.
“We’ve kinda been struggling a bit, but we found out we had a car from some of those little skirmishes that we had was a little twisted so our setup wasn’t where it was supposed to be,” he said. “It’s nice to be back in a car that you can just run hard.”
Swindell did just that to dominate for his series-leading eighth feature win of the season in the Outlaws first of six races in Canada this season. He set a blistering pace while claiming the dash and then led all 25 laps of the main event, although it wasn’t decided until the checkered flag.
The fifth-and-final caution of the race came while Swindell was exiting turn four on the final lap, signifying a green-white-checkered finish and erasing nearly a half-a-lap lead.
“I thought well maybe they’d thrown the checkered and I kept looking,” Swindell said. “When I got there it was another yellow, so you have to endure that again. I’ve been bit a few times on that.”
He choose the outside lane and rocketed into a sizeable lead over Joey Saldana, who charged from sixth to second during the first nine laps.
“We chose a pair of 100 tires,” he said. “Sammy had a 200 on the right rear. I would say the longer the race went, the better he got. Early on to get from sixth to second, the 100s got me there and then they fell off at the end.”
There were four cautions, including two red flags, during the opening dozen laps to slow the pace of the main event. Donny Schatz stopped on the backstretch while running in the top 10 on the second lap. After a quick pit stop, he restarted last – 24th – and later finished 10th .
Rick Wilson brought out the second caution of the race on lap eight when he stopped in turn four. Three laps later Kerry Madsen spun in turn two while running 10th and fast qualifier Kraig Kinser tipped over in turn three as the caution started to be displayed, prompting the initial red flag of the event.
The second red flag happened after Alain Bergeron crashed into the frontstretch wall on the restart. Bergeron didn’t flip, but the fuel window was reached and all the teams were able to make changes during the red flag.
Swindell quickly sailed to a large lead on each restart while Saldana held off Cody Darrah for the runner-up position. Steve Kinser found grip on the bottom in the closing five laps and rallied to finish third.
“I was terrible at the beginning of the race,” he said. “I was just too tight. When you’re tight you can’t get no speed up going into (turn) one and lose a position every time. I made it all back up at the end, but not a good way to do it starting on the front row.”
Darrah was fourth and Dollansky placed fifth. Lucas Wolfe was sixth, James McFadden seventh, Chad Kemenah eighth, Jessica Zemken ninth and Schatz rounded out the top 10.
Autodrome Granby Notebook
NOTES – Kraig Kinser established quick time in qualifying for the fourth race this season. … Joey Saldana claimed his ninth heat race victory, Chad Kemenah his 10th and Donny Schatz his seventh of the season. … Sammy Swindell won his series-leading fourth dash of the year. … Swindell has led a series-best 213 feature laps this season.
WINNERS – Sammy Swindell – 8 (Autodrome Granby on July 27, Eldora Speedway on July 14, Lakeside Speedway on June 30, Red River Valley Speedway on June 16, Eldora Speedway on May 5, Knoxville Raceway on April 28, Missouri State Fair Speedway on April 20 and Merced Speedway on March 30); Craig Dollansky – 6 (Lebanon Valley Speedway on July 22, Lernerville Speedway on July 17, I-96 Speedway on June 2, Hagerstown Speedway on May 20, Tri-State Speedway on April 21 and Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 19); Kraig Kinser – 4 (Beaver Dam Raceway on July 7, Dodge City Raceway Park on June 23, River Cities Speedway on June 15 and Kokomo Speedway on June 5); Joey Saldana – 4 (Eldora Speedway on July 13, The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 25, Paducah International Raceway on April 13 and Perris Auto Speedway on March 10); Tim Kaeding – 3 (Cedar Lake Speedway on July 6, Thunderbowl Raceway on March 16 and The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8); Steve Kinser – 3 (Dodge City Raceway Park on June 22, Orange County Fair Speedway on May 19 and Williams Grove Speedway on May 12); Kerry Madsen – 3 (Limaland Motorsports Park on July 11, Belleville High Banks on June 29 and Knoxville Raceway on June 9); Donny Schatz – 3 (Farmer City Raceway on April 25, Silver Dollar Speedway on March 23 and Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 19); Chad Kemenah – 2 (Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 28 and Eldora Speedway on May 4); Cody Darrah – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 21); Danny Dietrich – 1 (Lincoln Speedway on May 10); Mark Dobmeier – 1 (Huset’s Speedway on July 3); Danny Lasoski – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 18); Paul McMahan – 1 (Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on May 16); Fred Rahmer – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on May 11); Tony Stewart – 1 (Lernerville Speedway on July 17) and Brad Sweet – 1 (Clay County Fairgrounds on June 8).
TIME TRIALS – Kraig Kinser was the fastest qualifier around the half-mile oval with a time of 16.040 seconds to earn five championship points. Also earning points were Steve Kinser (4 points), Lucas Wolfe (3), Sammy Swindell (2) and Cody Darrah (1).
Autodrome Granby Statistical Report; Granby, Quebec; July 27, 2012
A-Main – (25 Laps) – 1. 1-Sammy Swindell  [$10,000]; 2. 9-Joey Saldana  [$5,500]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser  [$3,200]; 4. 4-Cody Darrah  [$2,800]; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$2,500]; 6. 5W-Lucas Wolfe  [$2,300]; 7. 55X-James McFadden  [$2,200]; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah  [$2,100]; 9. 1Z-Jessica Zemken  [$2,050]; 10. 15-Donny Schatz  [$2,000]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$1,500]; 12. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$1,200]; 13. 25-Michael Parent  [$1,100]; 14. 6-Bill Rose  [$1,050]; 15. 3-Dale Gosslin  [$1,000]; 16. 36-Mike Stelter  [$900]; 17. 24K-Devin Caron  [$800]; 18. 15AW-April Wilson  [$800]; 19. 84-Tyler Rand  [$800]; 20. 8B-Alain Bergeron  [$800]; 21. 46-Kayle Robidoux  [$800]; 22. 42W-Rick Wilson  [$800]; 23. X2-Curtis Bradshaw  [$800]; 24. 422-Etienne Girard  [$800]. Lap Leaders: Sammy Swindell 1-25. KSE Hard Charger Award: 3-Dale Gosslin [+8].
Qualifying – 1. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 16.040; 2. 11-Steve Kinser, 16.257; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 16.269; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell, 16.298; 5. 4-Cody Darrah, 16.317; 6. 7-Craig Dollansky, 16.330; 7. 9-Joey Saldana, 16.339; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah, 16.377; 9. 1Z-Jessica Zemken, 16.494; 10. 29-Kerry Madsen, 16.633; 11. 6-Bill Rose, 16.634; 12. 15-Donny Schatz, 16.634; 13. 55X-James McFadden, 16.740; 14. 25-Michael Parent, 17.049; 15. 8B-Alain Bergeron, 17.332; 16. 42W-Rick Wilson, 17.670; 17. 24K-Devin Caron, 17.738; 18. 84-Tyler Rand, 17.961; 19. X2-Curtis Bradshaw, 18.499; 20. 36-Mike Stelter, 18.501; 21. 46-Kayle Robidoux, 18.565; 22. 15AW-April Wilson, No Time; 23. 3-Dale Gosslin, 18.299; 24. 422-Etienne Girard, 18.074.
Heat 1 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana ; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen ; 5. 55X-James McFadden ; 6. X2-Curtis Bradshaw ; 7. 15AW-April Wilson ; 8. 42W-Rick Wilson .
Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 2. 4-Cody Darrah ; 3. 11-Steve Kinser ; 4. 6-Bill Rose ; 5. 25-Michael Parent ; 6. 36-Mike Stelter ; 7. 24K-Devin Caron ; 8. 3-Dale Gosslin .
Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 1Z-Jessica Zemken ; 3. 7-Craig Dollansky ; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe ; 5. 8B-Alain Bergeron ; 6. 422-Etienne Girard ; 7. 84-Tyler Rand ; 8. 46-Kayle Robidoux .
Dash – (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 2. 11-Steve Kinser ; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe ; 4. 7-Craig Dollansky ; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 6. 9-Joey Saldana ; 7. 4-Cody Darrah ; 8. 15-Donny Schatz ; 9. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 10. 1Z-Jessica Zemken .
25th annual Sonoma NHRA Nationals
July 27-29, 2012
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COURTNEY FORCE TOPS FOR JFR ON FRIDAY AT SONOMA
SONOMA, CA — On a record setting day at Sonoma Raceway Rookie of the Year front-runner Courtney Force and the Traxxas Ford Mustang were tops of the field for JFR racing to the provisional No. 5 spot with a career best 4.059 second pass. The Funny Car provisional No. 1 qualifier was Cruz Pedregon who covered the 1000 ft. track in 4.028 seconds. In four Full Throttle Drag Racing Series professional categories all eight track records, four elapsed time and four speed records, were reset today.
In the first session the youngest racing Force was the quickest Funny Car of the session with a then career best run of 4.083 seconds at 307.16 mph. Her previous quickest run was 4.099 seconds in Phoenix earlier this season. She picked up three qualifying bonus points and had bragging rights over the provisional No.2 driver at that time Alexis DeJoria.
“It was a good day for our team. First session out getting my career-best ET at 4.08 was definitely exciting and to get that no. 1 spot along with it was a really cool moment. I know we have a great car. Our Traxxas Ford Mustang has been running consistent and. To come out here to Sonoma, a track that means so much to all of us and it’s my first time here in a Funny Car, it’s even more awesome to get my career-best here and then to do it again in my second qualifying session,” said Force. “So you know starting out qualifying with two good runs like that under my best definitely gives us a little more confidence going into Saturday qualifying. We’re in the top half of the field and all our other cars are right there as well.”
As the last John Force Racing Funny Car to run in the second session Courtney had seen her time fall from No. 1 to No. 6. She was running beside veteran Johnny Gray and she crossed the finish line in front of Gray with a time of 4.059 seconds at 312.71 mph. The run moved her up to No. 5 and has her excited about going into the second day of qualifying.
“I knew the second session was going to be tough to hold onto the no. 1 spot. I knew everyone was going to fight to run in the .0’s since they saw our car could run it and I knew a lot of these guys could run it too. I was hoping we could get it back in that last qualifying session, but to go back out and run another personal career-best ET with a 4.05 all in the same day is definitely a good start to the weekend out here in Sonoma,” said Force.
Points leader Robert Hight smoked the tires in the first session but made a strong comeback in the second session. He posted a 4.102 second run and grabbed the No. 9 qualifying spot guaranteeing that the Auto Club team would carry a time over into Saturday.
“You get behind the eight ball when you don’t go down the track the first run. I do believe that we were actually ahead of Courtney, if you look at her drive shaft to ours, ours was going good, it was flipping, it wasn’t piling up, but something was wrong with our tires. I almost didn’t make the run,” said Hight, the 2008 Sonoma Nationals winner. “During the burnout it had a vibration that was unbelievable. Backing up, that thing was hoping off the ground. And anyway, it started shaking on the run, not tire shake but a vibration and it eventually just came loose, but you can see it on the drive shaft on the computer. It caused it to smoke the tires.”
“We came back here and a tire was just about to blow out. Anyway, you can look at it a lot of ways; lucky, you know, that it didn’t happen. I honestly thought it was coming off, it was vibrating so bad. But I believe that it caused us to smoke the tires and it put us behind. We went back up there thinking that we would be conservative in the second session and we’re number 9,” said Hight.
“It’s a better car than that, but I’m just glad to be in there. There are some good cars on the outside. It’s going to be hotter tomorrow and we’re stuck with where we are at. We just have to do better than everyone tomorrow and that will determine the winner on Sunday. If you can do good tomorrow and be on the top with each qualifying run and build points each session, you got a good shot.”
Mike Neff opened up the second session of Funny Car qualifying and quickly showed the rest of the field that the Sonoma Raceway track was ready for record times. Neff’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang clicked the clocks on a single run with a time of 4.102 seconds. For Neff, the driver and crew chief, of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang getting a quick enough time get him near the top half was a good effort considering he was so early in the session.
The seven time Sonoma NHRA Nationals winner John Force struggled on Friday. In the first session Force made his best run of the day a 4.218 second pass. It was the second quickest run for JFR in the first session but in the final session his Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang slowed when it smoked the tires just past half track. He will have to grab one of the four available slots along with notable drivers Matt Hagan, Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham who are also on the outside of the top twelve qualifiers.
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JOHN FORCE, 63, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 13th quickest at 4.218 seconds, 294.50 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
MIKE NEFF, 45, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 10th at 4.102 seconds, 305.77 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
ROBERT HIGHT, 42, AAA Insurance Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 9th at 4.090 seconds, 309.27 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
COURTNEY FORCE, 24, Traxxas Ford Mustang Qualifying: 5
at 4.059 seconds, 312.71 mph Bonus Qualifying Points: +3 (quickest of Q1)
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Saturday, July 28
3rd round qualifying 12:30 p.m.
4th round qualifying 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 29
Final Eliminations 11 a.m.