KOKOMO, INDIANA (June 3, 2015) – Success is hard to earn. Sustaining that success is even more difficult. Jason and Bobbi Johnson welcomed Sammy Swindell to the seat of the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) entry on Wednesday night at Kokomo Speedway, as Jason continues his recovery from an early season injury. Slammin’ Sammy, as he is affectionately known throughout the motorsports world, has built a successful career that has covered the last five decades. The JJR team worked very hard earlier in the week to go over their Priority Aviation Services/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Fischer Body Shop speed machine from front to back, corner to corner and top to bottom in order to make sure it was race ready when they rolled out the trailer.
The pit area was loaded as there were 39 teams ready to take to the semi-banked oval at Kokomo Speedway. The fruits of the team’s labor appeared early as Sammy was the fifth car to push off for time trials in the Dissolvalloy Frac Ball Revolution/K&N Filters #41 Maxim. His first lap was in the 11.7 second bracket, but he ran a cleaner and faster lap the second time around and crossed the stripe at the 11.312 second mark, which was tied for the top of the leader board at the time. After the last competitor finished his time trial laps, Sammy’s quickest lap held up to be eighth quickest overall on the night.
With four heat races on the horizon, Sammy and the JJR team readied their equipment for qualifying action where he would line up on the inside of row two from the third starting spot. Formidable Donny Schatz was directly in front of him on the starting grid and Shane Stewart shared the outside of row two with him. Schatz jumped into the early lead and set the pace as Sammy slid into the second position ahead of Tyler Courtney and Stewart. Swindell and Stewart were both fast and fighting for command of the runner-up spot. When Schatz ran under the checkers, it was Stewart who would win the battle to finish second with Sammy close behind in the third position, securing one of the coveted transfer spots to advance directly to the feature event.
Kokomo is a rugged quarter mile speedway that takes its toll on the best of them. The 40-lap feature field was set and Sammy was going to start his run from the outside of row six in the Jonestown KOA/Weld Racing #41 Maxim. Chad Kemenah was to his inside in the #10H entry with Schatz and Stewart pacing the field from the front row. Following the World of Outlaws traditional four-wide salute to the fans, the three-time WoO champion was ready to go in the MVT/Kenny’s Components #41. The green flag waved and the Bartlett, Tennessee native did what he does best . . . race hard and fast. He had the forty one moving forward and making tracks. He moved into the top ten early. After the race was brought under red flag conditions for a flipping Brad Sweet, racing resumed. The southern gentleman kept his right foot planted and moved into the eighth position. He was digging. The battle for positions four through eight was fast and furious and Sammy was right in the middle of it all. He made his way as far up as sixth before crossing the finish line with a hard fought seventh place finish, as Joey Saldana took the win over Schatz and third place finisher Kyle Larson.
It was a good first night of action for Sammy and the team. They will now focus their attention on I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska on Friday night and Lakeside Speedway on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kansas. If you are in the area, stop out and catch up with the #41 team.