ALGER - Enumclaw native Kasey Kahne holds the track record at Skagit Speedway again ... sort of. Sammy Swindell from Germantown, Tenn., meanwhile, can most definitely call himself a winner at the track after a 35-year hiatus following the first night of the World of Outlaws' annual visit to the Pacific Northwest.
Kahne, who owned the record on the three-tenth mile, high-banked clay oval for six years before Travis Rutz broke it in 2009, is the car owner for World of Outlaws series points leader Daryn Pittman, who blistered the track in a record time of 10.718 seconds on his second qualifying lap on Friday, Aug. 30.
Jason Sides was the previous track record holder with his 10.872-second lap, set when the national winged sprint car touring series visited the speedway in 2009.
The track certainly was fast on Friday, as four cars surpassed Sides' mark. Joey Saldana was the first to do so with his first-lap time of 10.821 seconds, but Pittman, who took over the seat of the No. 9 Great Clips machine this season, was the first car in track history to run a sub 10.8-second lap. Brad Sweet, who also drives for Kasey Kahne Racing, became the second when he timed in at 10.787 on his second lap, while Paul McMahan was fourth quick at 10.867 seconds.
Though it was obviously a fast track, it wasn't necessarily a good track, as it didn't yield a whole lot of passing once racing started. Swindell started on the pole and never lost the lead throughout the 25-lap feature event.
"I've been qualifying in the wrong place and having to start way far back," Swindell said. "But tonight we got a good spot and everything worked out just right."
In doing so, Swindell earned his first win at Skagit Speedway since June 15, 1979 - the last year the World of Outlaws visited Alger until it returned in 2004.
"It's been a while since I've won here at Skagit," Swindell said. "Actually, it's been a while since I've won anywhere."
The win was the third of the season for Swindell, who entered Friday fifth in the series points.
He earned the top starting spot by qualifying ninth and drawing the pole for the dash, where he led all eight laps to claim the pole for the feature.
"The biggest thing is we've been qualifying in the wrong spot, and then we don't get in the dash and have to start on the sixth or seventh row," Swindell. "It just seems like it's been a while since we've gotten to start up here and it was nice to capitalize on it."
And capitalize on it he did.
Swindell controlled the pace from the start and all three restarts, making sure nobody got the drop on him to seriously challenge for the lead.
McMahan did get within striking distance when Swindell got into lapped traffic in the closing laps, but a lap 19 caution for Craig Dollansky's stopped car between Turns 1 and 2 gave Swindell open track to the checkers.
Kerry Madsen, who held off Swindell for the first-night win a year ago, got under McMahan on the restart and managed to keep Swindell within striking range, but the three-time series champion held him at bay to claim his first win since June 30 at New Richmond, Wis.
"Everybody's been doing a good job; we just haven't got the results," Swindell said. "Hopefully this will kick us off to a good finish the rest of the year."
Madsen finished second, McMahan was third, Saldana fourth and Pittman fifth.
The most surprising fact about the B-Main was that Donny Schatz, winner of 10 of the past 20 World of Outlaw events, was even in it. But Schatz made his last chance count, running away in an uneventful race to lock up his spot in the main event. Bellingham's Jonathan Jorgenson wasn't as fortunate, though, as he finished ninth and did not advance.
The World of Outlaws wraps up its 2013 visit to Skagit Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
WORLD OF OUTLAWS
When: Saturday, Aug. 31
Site: Skagit Speedway, Alger
Gates open: 5 p.m.
Racing starts: 7 p.m.
Tickets: $35 adult; $25 junior (7-17), senior (65 and older) and military; $10 child (6 and under)
WORLD OF OUTLAWS
Friday at Skagit Speedway
A-Main (25 laps): 1. (1) Sammy Swindell, 2. (29) Kerry Madsen, 3. (51) Paul McMahan, 4. (71M) Joey Saldana, 5. (9) Daryn Pittman, 6. (11K) Kraig Kinser, 7. (11) Steve Kinser, 8. (4) Cody Darrah, 9. (63) Chad Kemenah, 10. (83) Tim Kaeding, 11. (15) Donny Schatz, 12. (26) Sam Hafertepe Jr., 13. (7S) Jason Sides, 14. (9W) Brandon Wimmer, 15. (49) Brad Sweet, 16. (44W) Austen Wheatley, 17. (6) Bill Rose, 18. (88) Jesse Whitney, 19. (7) Craig Dollansky, 20. (77) Shane Stewart. 21. (18) Travis Jacobson, 22. (55) Trey Starks, 23. (39C) Travis Rilat, 24. (0) Jonathan Allard.
B-Main (12 laps, top 6 advance): (15) Donny Schatz, 2. (77) Shane Stewart, 3. (88) Jesse Whitney, 4. (0) Jonathan Allard, 5. (44W) Austen Wheatley, 6. (39C) Travis Rilat, 7. (5D) Josh DeWitt, 8. (5R), 8. (5R) Robb Vaughn, 9. (2J) Jonathan Jorgenson, 10. (7X) Kevin Smith.
Top qualifier: (9) Daryn Pittman 10.718 seconds. Heat 1 winner: (7) Craig Dollansky. Heat 2 winner: (6) Bill Rose. Heat 3 winner: (1) Sammy Swindell. Dash winner: (1) Sammy Swindell.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.