World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Adds Merced Speedway to Spring Swing
The March 29 race is part of a dozen events throughout Nevada, Arizona and California
CONCORD, N.C. – Jan. 18, 2013 – The spring Western swing has now become the Western dozen as the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series has added Merced Speedway to the schedule.
The March 29 event marks the third consecutive year for the series at the tight third-mile oval, where Sammy Swindell has won each of the two previous World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series races.
The last time the series competed in the West, Donny Schatz capitalized on a hot streak en route to his fifth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship. In nine races along the West Coast last August and September, Schatz won twice, finished second four times, placed fourth twice and his worst result was 11th.
“I don’t know that the facilities or the tracks really suit me any different, I think it was just my guys wanted to be better than everyone else and I wanted to be better than everyone else and we put in a good hard month of focus and got the job done,” he said. “Hopefully we’re in a position where we can do that again. Maybe we can ride on it a little longer and go back and use it to our advantage at the beginning of the year.”
This spring’s jaunt to the West includes 12 races at 10 tracks in Nevada, Arizona and California throughout March and the first two weeks of April.
It leads off with a two-day Las Vegas event at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on Wednesday and Thursday, March 6-7. The series caps that weekend by making its return to Tucson International Raceway on Saturday, March 9, for the first time since 2007 at the Wildcat Shootout.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series then finishes the trip with five consecutive weekends in California, beginning with a doubleheader at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare the following weekend, March 15-16.
The series will debut at the new Stockton 99 Dirt Track in Stockton on Friday, March 22, before the annual Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico on Saturday, March 23.
The Merced event is the only race currently scheduled the following weekend to close the month of March.
April begins on Friday, April 5, at Antioch Speedway in Antioch, where Californian Tim Kaeding threw a thrilling slide job on Schatz in turns three and four on the last lap to win last year’s lone event.
Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga hosts a race on Saturday, April 6. Schatz claimed last season’s race during his hot streak.
The trip west concludes with an event on Friday, April 12, at Kings Speedway in Hanford and on Saturday, April 13, at Perris Auto Speedway in Perris. There has been a different winner in the past five races at Perris Auto Speedway, including Joey Saldana last year.
Tickets for the races at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas, Tucson International Raceway, Stockton 99 Dirt Track, Silver Dollar Speedway, Merced Speedway, Antioch Speedway, Calistoga Speedway, Kings Speedway and Perris Auto Speedway can be ordered online by clicking WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or by calling 877-395-8606.
He retakes the World of Outlaws points lead as the top five are separated by only 14 points
MERCED, Calif. – March 30, 2012 – There was a special person on the mind of Sammy Swindell as he climbed down from his wing dance on Friday.
Swindell’s granddaughter, Zoe, delivered a special message before the veteran picked up his first World of Outlaws feature victory of the season in front of a rowdy crowd at Merced Speedway.
“She called me, wished me good luck and hoped I won, so I might have to make sure she makes more of those calls,” Swindell said with a grin.
It was Swindell’s 277th career World of Outlaws feature win and one when he used every bit of his experience. A year after winning the first-ever World of Outlaws race at Merced Speedway, the track was different – reconfigured from a quarter-mile bullring to a one-third miler with wider turns and it was a lot more slick than last year’s heavy track.
“It was definitely a tough race track,” he said. “You had to be real patient and stay on line. I was watching some of the guys when we got to traffic and it still looked like the bottom was probably a little bit better lane. So it was just making sure I didn’t miss my marks and I just tried to stay down there.
“I was going to make them try to take it from me. I just didn’t want to give it up and slip off the bottom.”
Swindell, who started on the pole of the 40-lap feature after winning the dash from the pole, was challenged the entire race by Cody Darrah. He stayed within striking distance and even pulled within a car length on several occasions, but Darrah was unable to make a move for the lead.
“On my restarts I could never gain anything,” he said. “I’d always lose a little bit. We had a pretty good car. I’d get up to his left rear (tire) and never really be able to capitalize. I was just kind of waiting on him to make a mistake.
“When we got into traffic I thought something would happen.”
After four timely cautions within the first 16 laps of the race reset the field just as Swindell was entering lapped traffic each time, the final 35 laps were caution free. Swindell reached lapped traffic for the initial time just past the midpoint of the feature and Darrah gave chase the entire time.
On a couple of occasions, Darrah pulled to the bumper of Swindell, including on the second-to-last lap. However, Swindell was smooth and Darrah finished a couple of car lengths behind the veteran as Jason Sides tried to make it a three-way battle just as the checkered flag was waved.
“We were kinda catching those guys toward the end, but just ran out of laps,” Sides said. “(Swindell is) really good in traffic. On a small track like this, that’s what a lot of the key things are. I saw Cody right there with him and he was following his every move. It was going to be hard to get by them unless we had something happen, some kind of spin or something.”
Kraig Kinser, who posted the fastest lap in qualifying at 10.878 seconds, finished fourth and Jason Meyers rounded out the top five in the final race of his Allstar Appreciation Tour.
After flipping on the final lap of his heat race, Craig Dollansky claimed the Last Chance Showdown and earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 14th to sixth. Steve Kinser was seventh, Joey Saldana eighth, Chad Kemenah ninth and Terry McCarl placed 10th.
Steve Kinser, Saldana and Kemenah each won heat races.
Swindell’s win also put him back atop the World of Outlaws points standings. He has a six-point lead over Donny Schatz with Sides in third – eight points back. Saldana is fourth and trails by 12 markers with Kraig Kinser climbing to fifth – 14 points behind Swindell.
Merced Speedway Notebook
NOTES – This race capped the Allstar Appreciation Tour for two-time defending World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers, who likely won’t race with the Outlaws until the Knoxville Nationals in August. … Kraig Kinser has a streak of six consecutive races of qualifying in the top five, including two straight fast-time awards. … The World of Outlaws was able to complete five of the eight scheduled events during this spring swing through Nevada and California. Three races were rained out.
Swindell Holds Off Kaeding in World of Outlaws Debut at Merced Speedway
Experience pays off for Tennessee legend at California bullring as he earns second victory of season
MERCED, Calif. – April 1, 2011 – Sammy Swindell is one of the most accomplished Sprint Car drivers anywhere. At the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series inaugural event Friday night at Merced Speedway, Swindell used lessons learned from an off-season of racing in Australia to hold off a late charge from California native Tim Kaeding.
“I drew from a lot of knowledge from racing down there (Australia) tonight,” said Swindell, who won for the second time this season in his Big Game Treestands Maxim. “We’ve been a consistent top-five car all year long and tonight I just used my experience and put it to good use with the awesome car we had.”
Swindell was indeed the class of the field, posting the fastest time in time trials to kick off the evening. Kaeding was on the pole for the main event after an impressive performance in the dash that had the Roth Motorsports driver feeling confident, but it was Kasey Kahne Racing’s Joey Saldana who used a quick jump to get around the polesitter and lead lap the first lap. Swindell, who started fourth, worked his way around Saldana to lead the second lap and he never looked back.
“Sammy was just the class of the field tonight,” said eventual runner-up Kaeding, who resides in San Jose, Calif. “You always hate to finish second but we had a great battle and if you have to finish second, it better be to one of the best.”
Jason Sides wound up third with Jonathan Allard and four-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz rounding out the top five.
Kaeding and the rest of the field had a few chances to reel in Swindell. First was a red flag for a violent flip in Turn 2 that resulted in Trey Starks’ car landing on its side near a concrete barrier. Track and series officials worked fast to remove Starks. On the restart, which was single-file on the small quarter-mile oval, Saldana and Jason Sides mounted a charge. The drivers duked it out with Swindell for the top spot until the field was slowed again for an incident involving Saldana. Lapped traffic was the culprit as Saldana’s Red Bull Maxim made contact with Californian Justin Sanders’ car. The damage was extensive to Saldana’s machine but the crew, led by Kale Kahne, managed to get Saldana back on track.
After a quick restart and spin by Kerry Madsen, the field strung out during a prolonged green flag period. A spin by Chad Kemenah prompted a restart with just 11 laps to go. Kaeding mounted one final charge as the white flag flew. He and Swindell raced side-by-side but Swindell powered up off of Turn 2 and held on to take the checkered flag.
Saldana, who was tied with Steve Kinser atop the World of Outlaws championship standings entering the night, rallied to finish 16. Saldana added three points for his qualifying effort, but Kinser raced to a 10th-place finish to retake the points lead.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returns on Saturday night for the first time since 2007 to Calistoga Speedway, where it will wrap up its California Spring Break tour. The ‘Greatest Show on Dirt’ will then head back to the Midwest for events on Friday, April 15, at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway followed Saturday, April 16, by series first race of the season at high-banked of I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., just south of St. Louis.
MERCED SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
QUICK TIME – Sammy Swindell was the night’s fastest qualifier on the Merced quarter-mile by turning a lap in 11.238 seconds at 80.085 mph, earning five more championship points. Jonathon Allard, Joey Saldana, Jason Sides and Jason Meyers also earned qualifying points.
WINNERS – There have been 10 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series races completed in 2011. The winners include: Steve Kinser – 4 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 11 and 12, Pike County Raceway on Feb. 25, the Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 4), Joey Saldana – 2 (Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 3, Thunderbowl Raceway on March 19), Sammy Swindell – 2 (Royal Purple Raceway on Feb. 26, Merced Speedway on April 1), Craig Dollansky – 1 (Silver Dollar Speedway on March 12), Jason Sides – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13).