Fan Notes from Attica Ambush Night #2 9-2-17

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Sammy SwindellSammy Swindell (Tom Myers) Attica, Ohio 9/2/2017 – 49 cars showed up for a chance to win $10,000 on night #2 of the 2017 Attica Ambush, sanctioned by the Dirt Classic and the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions. In addition to the main event, a makeup feature from the washed out All Star speed week show was scheduled as well. The makeup feature paid $5,000 to win and with it a bonus...if the makeup feature winner had already won a speed week show this year. Cole Duncan was on hand and had won one of the speed week shows so he was eligible. Tim Shaffer was the only other driver present who won a show during speed week this year…actually he won two shows. So if he wins this make up feature, he would get a $3,000 bonus…in addition to the $500 he had already won for winning two speed week features. Spencer Bayston and Kyle Larson were the other two winners during speed week but they were not able to be here tonight. So, let the racing begin!

It was nice to see and talk with Bill Wright, who made his annual journey east and was in the pits covering the Attica action. As a fan for many years, I always took it for granted that there would be a race review and stats posted in the Speed Sport News and more recently online somewhere…covering the races I could not get to. The last couple of years I have been fortunate enough to get a little closer to the sport and as a result, I have a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication that many put in to promote sprint car racing and to report on it as well. So a huge thank you goes out to the tracks, promoters, reporters, media folks and the drivers and teams that run back and forth and up and down the highways all summer long…. to race and bring entertainment and information to race fans!

The skies were again overcast and the temps were cool, but not as breezy as the day before. The track was again tacky and looked great for racing. Sammy Swindell was competing tonight in his son’s Swindell Speed Lab 39 car. I was excited for a chance to see Sammy race again…..and we certainly don’t know how much longer Sammy will be racing.
Cole DuncanCole Duncan After hot laps, the track developed a tall and heavy cushion. You could lean on it and be fast. All the cars were up against it for their time trial runs for the Dirt Classic but that cushion could bite you if you were not careful. For example, Brady Bacon almost tipped over on the first lap of his time trial. He bounced it a bit in the middle of turn three and then gathered together by the time he was exiting turn four. He then turned into the infield to avoid taking the green flag…..and came back on the track in turn three….getting a good run for another first lap try. Brady then went on to time fourteenth quick overall. Gary Taylor hit the cushion in turn two during his time trial and bounced up and landed on all fours.. however, he ended up breaking the frame on his mount and was done for the evening! Many of the drivers had a right rear catch on the cushion and that would kick the nose of the car to the right. Big clods of dirt were flying high into the air as some drivers tried to ride their right rear on top of the ledge. The top 10 timers for the $10,000 to win Dirt Classic were 1. 23-DJ Foos, 12.315; 2. 1080-Jordan Mackison, 12.358; 3. 33M-Max Stambaugh, 12.377; 4. 22C-Cole Duncan, 12.387; 5. 71-Joey Saldana, 12.397; 6. 5T-Travis Philo, 12.401; 7. 70-Rob Chaney, 12.427; 8. 3G-Carson Macedo, 12.465; 9. 39-Sammy Swindell, 12.475; 10. 4-Cap Henry, 12.478;.

On deck was the Sprint Speed Week makeup feature. The track crew cut the top off of the cushion and ran the track in again and that made for a really smooth surface. Before the makeup feature started, there seemed to be some confusion or controversy. Some of the drivers who had qualified in that feature back in June were not on hand, so I guess the All Stars picked guys that missed the original feature by a few spots to fill in for those who were not present? Well, I don’t know how they figured it out…..but Chris Andrews put a number 2 on his wing pretending to be Parker Price-Miller. Rob Chaney, who was in the blue Grove 70 car tonight, changed his number too…..Dale Blaney had qualified the 11n car back in June but Craig Mintz drove it in this race. Anyway…….
Tim ShafferTim Shaffer The make-up feature was a 35 lapper. At the start, Travis Philo got out front and pulled away on a fast, tacky track. The race went non-stop for 29 laps as fourth starting Tim Shaffer had reeled in Philo and had attempted to pass him three or four times with no luck. As the action up front heated up, sixth starting Chad Kemenah had worked his way up to third with Cale Conley sitting in fourth after starting second. The yellow on lap 29 was for Craig Mintz who had an engine lock up on him. Well it looked good for Shaffer as far as that bonus was concerned and I was rooting for him to pass Philo on the restart. When the green fell, Kemenah got a great start and squeezed under Shaffer going into turn one and grabbed second! Oh wow, there goes Shaffer’s chance I thought, as Kemenah had just shuffled Tim back to third. But as I watched the front three cars streak down the back straight, it became apparent that Shaffer was having none of this! Tim kept his foot in it and worked right to the tail of Kemenah as they powered out of turn four and Kemenah was right on Philo. As the three drivers barreled into turn one, Philo went high and Kemenah low….Shaffer went high on the cushion and didn’t lift. He did a diamond off of turn two and split both Kemenah and Philo at the turn two exit and won the drag race into turn three and proceeded to drive away for the cash! Wow, I though all three cars were going to go flipping it was so close, Shaffer threading the needle like that…now that was exciting! I pounded my fist in the air as Shaffer flashed by the flag stand on his way to the $5000 victory and the $3000 bonus. That sweet move was something Kinser or Wolfgang or Swindell or Haud would pull off….like a shark smelling blood in the water. Man I love that! So, Tim has pulled $13,000 out of here yesterday and today with another $10,000 feature coming up. Kemenah finished second with Conley third and Rob Chaney finishing fourth. Philo and Cale Thomas both stop on the last lap.

That feature was hard on some equipment….Shaffer hurt his motor and had to change it, Mintz was changing a motor, Cale Thomas was changing a motor…..and we had heat races and another feature to go.

For the Dirt Classic portion of the show, there was a different heat format. Instead of five heats, there were ten heats. The first five heats were lined straight up, fastest at the front and on back. The second round of heats inverted everyone, so those who were slowest started at the front. The cars with the most points accumulated awarded based on your finishing position and qualifying time, made the feature.
Joey SaldanaJoey Saldana The first two heats were not too eventful as the front cars stayed there. In heat three, Carson Macedo, driving the Joe Gearte 3g car tonight, punted Max Stambuagh into the air at the turn two exit. Stambaugh gets good air but lands on all fours and keeps going! In the fourth heat, Mintz hurts A SECOND motor and is done for the evening. In heat six, DJ Foos and Roger Campbell tangle out of turn four and Foos flips it…trashing his car. He would later return after changing almost everything on the car….except the engine. They changed the front axle, rear axle, wheels, shocks, wings, hood cowling….it looked like a different car! Rob Chaney flips his ride in the seventh heat. Repairs were quickly made and he made it back out later in the program. As the night went on, a hump developed after the turn four exit. This hump, combined with the tacky track, produced a plethora of wheelies down the front stretch that were quite entertaining.

When we got to the feature, the lineup was Cole Duncan on the pole with Saldana on the outside, Cap Henry in third starting position alongside Carson Macedo. Foos started fifth alongside Sammy Swindell. Shaffer was starting twenty second so it didn’t look good for him to win another race on this evening.

At the start, Duncan grabbed the lead with Saldana close behind. Duncan would get to lapped traffic and a yellow would come out. Actually, there were many yellows and stops in this race. On lap 9 the yellow flew and on lap 15 there was a red for Macedo. Each restart, Duncan would battle Saldana to keep the lead. A couple of times they exchanged the lead a few times on the same lap with Duncan finally able to get out ahead and extend the distance…and then another stoppage. This time on lap 21 for Justin Peck who flipped off of turn two but he was okay. Then two more cautions kept Duncan from extending his lead, but he was able to keep Saldana behind him on each restart….until the last one with three laps to go. Joey got a good run and was able to make the winning pass in turn two and he made it stick to the checkers. Saldana was patient and finally got a good run and took the $10,000. I felt bad for Duncan…he raced his butt off…. but Saldana looked like a real pro. You have to hand it to Saldana. He’s the real deal….like a big bass just laying in the weeds. The 71 Indy Race car parts car has a good motor in it…it hums along like new and Joey drives the heck out of it.

Wow, what an awesome evening of racing. Henry finished third followed by Philo, Andrews, Reed, Shaffer, who was up from the twenty second spot, Swindell, Kemenah and Foos. Sammy won the wheelie award as he executed quite a few during the feature. Unfortunately, he broke a lifter on the final lap and that ended the weekend for the Swindell team. Shaffer, on the other hand, ended up adding another $1,320 to his Attica take for a total of $14,320 dollars. Now, off to Wayne County for the Pete Jacobs Memorial. The fourth race in three days for me!