GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA (June 19, 2015) – The upper Midwest is a beautiful part of the country and the JJR team and Sammy Swindell were looking to put a complete night of racing together as they focused on continuous learning and improvement. Swindell and the Jason and Bobbi Johnson owned JJR team headed to River Cities Speedway to kick off a weekend of racing in the Dakotas. There were 32 sprint cars ready to fire their engines and get their wheels turning on the 3/8 mile, high banked clay oval in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Sammy was in Flight A for time trials aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/FK Rod Ends #41 Maxim. After climbing into the cockpit, checking the gauges, and pulling down on his safety belts one last time, the Kistler Engine under the hood of the forty one came to life as the push truck tapped the rear bumper. Ah, the sweet sound of sprint car power filled the North Dakota air. The three-time World of Outlaws (WoO) champion dropped his heavy Tennessee right foot and laid down an impressive first lap of 10.158 seconds. His second lap was slower at 11.606 seconds, but the quicker of his two laps was fourth quick in the Flight A group and eighth quickest overall.
The 10 lap heat races were scheduled and posted. Swindell would find himself in the second of four heat races where he would start on the inside of row two in the Waco Metal/Hoosier Racing Tires Maxim with Donny Schatz to his outside. It was an all local front row as Mitch Mack was on the pole with Dave Glennon to his outside. When the green flag waved, Mack took control of the top spot with Swindell moving the #41 into the runner up position. The action on the track was at a rapid pace with each of the high speed artists doing their thing. As the laps were winding down, Swindell knew he had to make his move on Mack for the lead. The two were putting on one heck of a show for the fans in Grand Forks, but in the end Swindell made the right move and the pass to take the lead and the win over Mack, Kinser, and Schatz with Mark Dobmeier rounding out the top five.
The heat race win put Sammy and the JJR team in the Dash where he would start fifth. The finishing order in the Dash establishes the first eight positions for the A-Main, so racing hard and improving your position, even by one position, is important. Swindell did just that over the eight laps bringing the Kistler powered Maxim home in the fourth spot behind Dusty Zomer, Schatz and Shane Stewart.
Starting from the outside of row two for the 40 lap feature, Swindell was ready to get rolling in the immaculately presented Waco Metal/Schoenfeld Headers JJR dirt track missile. When the green lights were brightened around the oval, the Tennessee speedster got moving. Zomer took the early race lead with Schatz, Stewart and Swindell chasing him hard. Schatz would get him on the third lap as Sammy continued to race in the top five. After a few cautions slowed the show and regrouped the field, they were back racing at speed. Slammin’ Sammy was banging the cushion and keeping the forty one cruising. As the laps clicked down, Swindell got up and over the cushion in turn four spinning to a stop. He tagged the rear of the field and in the remaining laps powered his way back to an eleventh place finish as Donny Schatz secured his 15th win of the season over Zomer, Stewart, Brad Sweet and Joey Saldana.
Knowing that a top five was in their grasp, Swindell reflected and stated, “We learned a few good things tonight.” He continued, “We should have had a top five finish tonight, but had a driver error. We are going in the right direction.” Team owner Jason Johnson added, “We win as a team and lose as a team.” He further explained, “We are making progress as a team. I am excited about the direction we are going and appreciate all the hard work from the JJR guys and our partnership with Sammy. We are learning and making progress together as a team.”
The team will now make the 315 mile tow to Huron, South Dakota to compete at Dakota State Fair Speedway on Saturday night. Come out to the track and catch up with Jason, Sammy and the entire JJR team and our valued sponsorship partners. We look forward to seeing you at the track!