WEST LEBANON, N.Y. — Waiting an extra day to tackle the high banks of Lebanon Valley Speedway proved to be beneficial for Sammy Swindell.
Swindell outlasted and out dueled the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Monday night during their lone New York appearance of the season, leading all 25 laps from the outside pole to take a $7,000 payday for his efforts, as well as his first Arctic Cat All Star victory since 2011.
Kraig Kinser chased Swindell to the final checkers, followed by series points leader Chad Kemenah.
“The CJB guys gave me a great car all night long,” Swindell explained. “The key was putting ourselves in position early tonight. I was able to climb up through the dash from fifth to start second in the A-main. That was a big step for us. I had to use a little bit of experience here tonight, too. This place can be tough. You have to race it hard, but yet still be able to race the track. It can definitely use you up.”
Back-to-back red flag incidents during the initial start would force the feature field to try three times before officially getting a lap in the books. The third start proved to be the charm with Dale Blaney and Swindell bringing the main event to life. Swindell jumped to the early advantage, leading Blaney, Kinser, and Kemenah by the flagstand at the completion of lap one.
Unfortunately for Swindell, back-to-back slowdowns would return to the speedway on lap three, in the form of red, and then yellow, lights.
Green lights brought the feature field back to life once again and allowed Swindell to continue his pace on top. Swindell and Blaney raced one-two during the next several circuits, eventually catching slower cars with 12 laps in the books.
Despite traffic acting as an obstacle for Swindell and Blaney, the two Hall of Fame inductees continued to race nearly nose-to-tail, weaving in and out of traffic through the middle of the speedway. Action would quickly come to a rest when the caution lights clicked back on at lap 16.
Meanwhile, drama started to unfold at Lebanon Valley Speedway when Blaney displayed signs of a flat right-rear tire during the pair of lap 16 cautions. The “Low Rider” attempted to bring the tire back to life on his own, but would eventually slow with 17 laps in the books.
Swindell continued to lead at that point, with Blaney surrendering his runner-up position to Kinser.
From there, Swindell drove off unchallenged during the remaining circuits, opening up a lengthy advantage in clean air over Kinser and Kemenah.
“Nobody had anything for Sammy tonight,” Kinser admitted. “I’m just happy to get out of here in one piece. It was grueling out there tonight.”
Tim Shaffer was fourth ahead of Cap Henry, who advanced 11 positions to round out the top five.
20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser finished sixth, announcing to the crowd prior to the feature that Monday night’s event was “likely” his last race.
The ‘King of the Outlaws’ retires with 577 A-Feature wins in Outlaws competition, as well as 37 All Stars wins, which is 12th on the all-time ASCoC list.
Perhaps on this night, it was only fitting that his greatest rival got the final hurrah.
“It was really nice to win on Steve’s last night,” Swindell added. “My time is coming soon. I hate to see it but I’m blessed to still be able to do this at my age. I guess I’ll just keep doing whatever the Lord lets me.”
“Things got tricky on a few occasions tonight, especially when we found ourselves in traffic. It gets a little tough to see at times, which makes it difficult to really get a run in the corner. We just had ourselves a flawless run. It feels good to be back.”
RESULTS: All Star Circuit of Champions; Lebanon Valley Speedway; Aug. 22, 2016
A-Main (25 Laps): 1. 1S-Sammy Swindell ; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 4. 13X-Tim Shaffer ; 5. 21-Cap Henry ; 6. 11-Steve Kinser ; 7. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 8. 40-Caleb Helms ; 9. 4-Danny Smith ; 10. 90-Matt Tanner ; 11. 10-Joe Kata ; 12. 1-Dale Blaney ; 13. 1Z-Stewart Friesen ; 14. 49H-Bradley Howard ; 15. 51-John Garvin ; 16. 95-Hunter Mackison ; 17. 1080-Jordan Mackison ; 18. 70-Danny Holtgraver ; 19. 57X-Andrew Palker ; 20. 53-Shawn Donath ; 21. 5-Justin Barger ; 22. 25-Aaron Ott ; 23. 1HD-Cory Sparks ; 24. 13-Brandon Matus .
CREDIT: All Star Communications