Sammy Swindell Takes Victory In Tony Stewarts All Star Sprint Series At Orange County Fair Speedway 7-29-17
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Sammy Swindell has visited many racing facilities during his illustrious sprint car career and has utilized that knowledge to gain an edge on the rest of his competition.
Swindell, knowing how abrasive the racing surface can sometimes be at the Orange County Fair Speedway, conserved his tires throughout Saturday night’s visit by Tony Stewart’s Artic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions en route to claiming a decisive victory in the 25-lap A Main sprint car feature race.
Swindell, who claimed his 26th career Arctic Cat All-Star triumph, picked up wins in 1991 and ’96 while competing with the World of Outlaws at this historic speed plant. Most of the other drivers in competition hadn’t even turned on lap here in the past.
But Swindell, despite his OCFS experience, proved to be the driver to beat throughout the evening. The Bartlett, TN, veteran toured the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval with the fastest lap of 17.658 seconds (over 127 miles per hour) in time trials and later won the dash-for-cash to start on the pole for the main event.
Swindell assumed command from the drop of the green as he blasted ahead of Tyler Esh and set a fast pace with Esh, Chad Kemenah, Caleb Helms and Jimmy Seger in hot pursuit.
Stewart Friesen, after starting in 12th place, worked his way into fifth place by the ninth lap before forcing a caution with a flat rear tire. Both Lee Jacobs and Seger pitted to change flats as well. Seger was forced out of competition for adding fuel to his sprint car – a violation of the rules.
Swindell maintained his cushion when racing resumed and coasted ahead of the rest of the 24-car field until Esh was forced out of competition to force a caution with 17 laps completed. Justin Barger, who was racing fifth, was forced to pit for a flat right rear tire.
Scott Flammer spun in the second turn to slow things once again with 19 laps in the books as Kemenah, Helms, Brandon Spithaler and Paulie Colagiovanni were now chasing Swindell.
Helms nosed ahead of Swindell entering the first turn on the 22nd circuit, but the lap wasn’t scored as Kemenah forced a caution and retired for the evening.
Swindell then pulled away as he finished ahead of Helms, Spithaler, Colagiovanni, Friesen, Davey Sammons, Mike Mahaney, T.J. Michael, Ryan Smith and Anthony Fiore.
Matt Shultz put the finishing touches on the best weekend of his young racing career as he captured his second victory of the season in the Sportsman 20-lap feature ahead of Leo Fotopoulos, Roger Henion Jr., Greg Sleight and Mel Schrufer.
Shultz, who also won the Sportsman feature at Accord Speedway Friday night, swapped first place back-and-forth with Dan Morgiewicz and Fotopoulos before earning his third career Sportsman win.
“This has been a great weekend for me,’’ said the 15-year-old Shultz. “This car has really been fast and winning at both tracks is just fantastic. The outside was really fast tonight, and I think that made the difference.’’
Stewart was able to pass Fotopoulos down the backstretch on the 14th lap and then held his ground to the finish.
Morgiewicz started on the pole and was enjoying a comfortable lead until Jesse Leiby forced a caution with nine laps completed for a broken rear on his car. Shultz got the jump on Morgiewicz on the ensuing restart to grab the lead and R.J. Smith spun on the backstretch with 11 laps down.
Fotopoulos used the outside groove to his advantage to move past Shultz following a 12th lap restart as he was searching for his first career win. But after Tommy Vigh Jr. brought out another caution with an incident between the first and second turns, Shultz pulled off his race-winning move to power ahead of Fotopoulos.
Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car A-Main Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Sammy Swindell, 2. Caleb Helms, 3. Brandon Spithaler, 4. Paulie Colagiovanni, 5. Stewart Friesen, 6. Davey Simmons, 7. Mike Mahaney, 8. T.J. Michael, 9. Ryan Smith, 10. Anthony Fiore, 11. Caleb Armstrong, 12. Justin Barger, 13. John Garvin. 14. Chad Kemenah. 15. Lee Jacobs, 16. Joe Kata, 17. MaxStambaugh, 18. Dan Shetler, 19. Scott Flammer, 20. Tyler Esh, 21. Jimmy Seger, 22. Brandon Matus, 23. Coleman Gulick, 24. Jordan Mackison. Did Not Start: Tony Stewart. Did Not Qualify: Scott Goodrich, Thomas Radivoy, Hunter Mackison, Brent Matus.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Matt Shultz, 2. Leo Fotopoulos, 3. Roger Henion Jr., 4. Greg Sleight, 5. Mel Schrufer, 6. Jeff Hulseapple, 7. Joe Bonetti, 8. Jimmy Johnson, 9. Joey Bruning, 10. Jared LaBagh, 11. Patrick Murphy, 12. Anthony Falanga, 13. Brad Horton, 14. Howie Finch III, 15. Troy Arnold, 16. Danny Carlough, 17. Bobby Flood, 18. Tommy Vigh Jr., 19. Joe Conklin, 20. Jimmy Leiby, 21. Dan Morgiewicz, 22. R.J. Smith, 23. Austin Smith, 24. Jesse Leiby. Did Not Qualify: Connor Otten, Chris Grispin, Dylan Smith, Mike Bull, Bob Wosyluk, Brett Weslowski, Jeff Jones, Keith Still, Art Jones, Corey Cormier, Michael Orlando, Trevor Arnold, Tommy Zwart.