Monday September 25th, 2017 3:45AM

Kevin Swindell takes ARCA win on Springfield mile dirt

By Doug Donnelly
  Contact Editor
SPRINGFIELD, IL - As of 5 pm Tuesday, Kevin Swindell wasn't sure what he was doing this weekend, but he didn't plan on racing.<br /> <br /> That changed when Venturini Motorsports' Billy Venturini called and offered him a chance to drive the No. 15 Zaxby's Toyota in ARCA Racing Series competition on the one-mile dirt track in Springfield, IL. Swindell accepted the offer early Wednesday morning and took the team to victory lane Sunday afternoon.<br /> <br /> "This is awesome," Swindell said. "They gave me a great car and did a lot of work on it. I'm so thankful for the chance to take this car to victory lane."<br /> <br /> It wasn't easy - and Swindell's beat-up race car after the race was proof. He hit a wall during practice, and had a few hits on the track during the race. But, the Venturini team fixed it at every chance.<br /> <br /> "They kept beating and banging on the car during the pit stops and the car was good," Swindell said. "Luckily, the hits weren't too hard and didn't do a lot of damage. It didn't really affect the car."<br /> <br /> Swindell led 21 laps, taking the lead for good on lap 89 of the 100-mile, 100-lap Central Illinois 100. He held off ARCA Racing Series point leader Mason Mitchell, who got stronger at the end of the race, zipping from seventh to second over the final dozen laps. In doing so, he maintained his series point lead over Grant Enfinger, who led the most laps and finished third.<br /> <br /> "I knew we were going to be there at the end," Mitchell said. "I was digging real hard, trying to get everything I could get. We had a little something there at the end, but not enough for the 15."<br /> <br /> Enfinger was running his first dirt track race since 2011 and was pleased with his finish. He led 33 laps, compared to 31 for Mitchell.<br /> <br /> "I knew Pickle (crew chief Ryan London) would give me a good car," Enfinger said. "In practice I didn't offer him much feedback, I just was content to let him set up the car. I'll take third place for sure. This GMS Racing Team just keeps working hard every race. I'm excited now, going to DuQuoin in a couple weeks."<br /> <br /> The race took 1 hour and 17 minutes to complete and was delayed by nearly an hour as crews from the fairgrounds and Track Enterprises - the race promoter - worked on prepping the track after heavy rains hit the Springfield area Saturday.<br /> <br /> When qualifying was rained out, it forced the fastest car in practice - the No. 16 of Kelly Kovski - to start 27th. Within four laps the Springfield, IL native was in the top 10 and he took the lead momentarily in fact.<br /> <br /> "I'm comfortable driving like that, driving on a dirt track," Kovski said. "I knew I had to go early to make up all of the track position that was lost from not qualifying. I got caught up in one of those restarts and lost several spots. I didn't come here to finish second or sixth, though, I came to win, so that's a little disappointing."<br /> <br /> Shane Cockrum was another of the fast cars that started near the back. He came from 29th to ninth.<br /> <br /> "That was a lot of fun out there," said Cockrum, who lives in nearby Benton, Ill. "I got banged up a little bit. I think I was a sandwich for several cars out there. But, I'll get my body guy working on the car and we'll be ready for DuQuoin."<br /> <br /> Frank Kimmel finished fourth with his nephew Will Kimmel fifth. Kovski was sixth, Justin Boston seventh, Kenny Schrader eighth, Shane Cockrum ninth and Austin Wayne Self tenth.<br /> <br /> James Swanson finished a career best-14th, despite pitting only once for fuel only. He led four laps, the first four laps he's led of his career.<br /> <br /> "Pit strategy worked out for us for once," Swanson said. "Plus, Hoosier gave us a great racing tire - good enough that we could go all 100 laps on it. It was a good race."<br /> <br /> The race had six cautions for 32 laps.<br /> <br /> The ARCA Racing Series goes next to Madison International Speedway in Madison, WI for the Herr's Live Life With Flavor 200 on Sunday, August 24.<br /> <br /> <strong>ARCA Racing Series</strong><br /> <strong> Illinois State Fairgrounds - Sprinfield, IL</strong><br /> <strong> 100 - Aug. 17, 2014</strong><br /> <br /> FIN STR NO DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS<br /> 1 8 15 Kevin Swindell/Germantown TN Zaxby's Toyota 100 Running<br /> 2 1 98 Mason Mitchell/West Des Moines IA Musselman's-Wildlife Foundation of Florida-TTS Ford 100 Running<br /> 3 2 90 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL Casite-Motor Honey-Allegiant Travel Chevrolet 100 Running<br /> 4 3 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Ansell-Menards Toyota 100 Running<br /> 5 10 69 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN Messinas Ford 100 Running<br /> 6 27 16 Kelly Kovski/Springfield IL Billingsley Towing-Fire & Ale-Schluckbier Chevrolet 100 Running<br /> 7 9 25 Justin Boston/Baltimore MD ZLOOP Toyota 100 Running<br /> 8 5 52 Ken Schrader/Fenton MO Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet 100 Running<br /> 9 29 71 Shane Cockrum/Benton IL Tim Cooksey Oil Ford 100 Running<br /> 10 7 22 Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX AM Technical Solutions Dodge 100 Running<br /> 11 4 77 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Dodge 100 Running<br /> 12 28 24 Ryan Unzicker/El Paso IL Hendren Motor Sports Chevrolet 100 Running<br /> 13 24 27 A.J. Fike/Galesburg IL Liberty Village-McGladrey-Office Specialists Ford 100 Running<br /> 14 15 0 James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ Wayne Peterson Racing Dodge 99 Running<br /> 15 12 2 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL DK LOK Ford 99 Running<br /> 16 19 97 Roger Carter/Sunfield MI Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 98 Running<br /> 17 20 5 Mark Littleton/Arenzville IL Birdsley Electric Chevrolet 97 Running<br /> 18 25 73 Dale Shearer/Alhambra IL Dale Shearer Racing Ford 92 Running<br /> 19 11 3 Ron Cox/Soddy Daisy TN Hixson Construction Chevrolet 65 Radiator<br /> 20 14 48 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI Ford 56 Radiator<br /> 21 22 80 Brian Finney/Merritt Island FL Eagle Jet Int'l-Finney Racing-Bob Steele Chevrolet 52 Engine<br /> 22 18 40 Ray Ciccarelli/Elliott City MD Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 49 Overheating<br /> 23 6 55 Brennan Poole/The Woodlands TX Venturini Motorsports Toyota 36 Radiator<br /> 24 30 89 Brad Dubil/Bettendorf IA J.C. Dubil Dodge 30 Engine<br /> 25 17 06 Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN Wayne Peterson Racing Ford 14 Brakes<br /> 26 16 68 Chris Bailey/South Park PA Kimmel Racing Ford 6 Handling<br /> 27 23 7 Brent Cross/Cortland NY Northeast Transformer Chevrolet 3 Accident<br /> 28 13 66 Bob Strait/Manteno IL Hendren Motor Sports Chevrolet 2 Transmission<br /> 29 26 50 Karl Weber/Ambia IN Silveus Insurance Group Chevrolet 1 Engine<br /> 30 21 00 Dale Matchett/Cherry Hill NJ Wayne Peterson Racing Chevrolet 0 Vibration<br /> Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell: None (rained out)<br /> Margin of Victory: 8.317 seconds Cautions: 6 for 32 laps<br /> Time of Race: 1:17:53 Average Speed: 77.045 mph<br /> Lap Leaders: Mitchell 1-30 (31); Swanson 31-34 (4); Boston 35-45 (11); Enfinger 46-51, 62-88 (33); <br /> Swindell 52-61, 89-100 (21)
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