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HE'S BACK: SWAN VICTORIOUS IN MID-AM'S MARSHFIELD DEBUT

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  James Swan, Faith’s Luxury Spas and Billiards 40

HE'S BACK: SWAN VICTORIOUS IN MID-AM'S MARSHFIELD DEBUT

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
September 22, 2007


(Marshfield WI), September 22 -- This is more of what James Swan and his team had in mind when they pictured their 2007 campaign to defend the Mid-American Stock Car Series championship. Heading into the Faith’s Luxury Spas and Billiards Fall 40 at Marshfield, Swan was winless but had four second place finishes to keep his head above water in the points standings after several disappointing runs. Swan notched his first “W” of the season on Saturday night strengthening his point lead heading into Mid-American’s final two events. “This was excellent,” said Swan who had a crowd of sponsors on hand to witness the event. “I had never even seen this place before.” Swan took the lead on lap 33 after a three lap side-by side shootout with 2002 series champion Rod Brewe.

Hank Tews and Troy Shear Jr. paced a field of 23 cars to Dave Sankey’s green flag. The inside line immediately took off as Tews moved into the lead and Shear struggled on the outside line. Brewe, Lyle Nowak and Swan who started seventh, ninth and eleventh respectively used Shear’s misfortune on the outside line to move into fourth, fifth and sixth on the second lap. As those three moved through the field Tim Schmitt who started right behind Tews swiped the lead from him on lap 6. Schmitt had no time to try to build an advantage over the field as a spin by Louie Goss in turn four brought out the first caution of the event.

On the lap 8 restart after a Danny Powell spin Schmitt and Damrow, who had worked his way around Tews, broke away from Tews. While Damrow was looking for a line around Schmitt, Brewe, Nowak and Tews went three-wide for the third spot on lap eleven. Nowak wisely backed out as Brewe took third and Tews settled in fourth. The next lap Damrow finally seized his opportunity to work the inside line and nosed ahead of Schmitt at the line for the lead. At the same time Swan and Piontek worked their way around Nowak and Tews using the outside line.

Photos of this event have now been posted

In a preview of things to come, Swan and Brewe went side by side for the third spot. Brewe, who was trapped on the outside line shot past Schmitt and again Swan and Piontek did the same. Brewe then began to reel in Damrow. Brewe’s car was too strong on the outside line for Damrow to hold off his charges and on lap 20 Brewe was the new leader. That very same lap another caution flew for a Bobby Gutknecht spin. It was a rough night for Gutknecht who was fighting an ill-handling car all day long, he ended up 18th.

Three laps after the restart Swan and Piontek again stuck their machines on the outside line and both moved around Damrow into second and third. Brewe had built a strong advantage by that time, yet he was still running the outside line. “It wasn’t by choice,” said Brewe of his preferred line. “At first I thought I was going to get ‘freight-trained.’ I tried the high line and it kind of surprised us that that’s how the car liked it,” he added.

While Swan was reeling in Brewe, Nowak and fast qualifier Bill Prietzel were engaged in a battle of the Mid-American veterans. First Nowak and Prietzel used a three wide pass on Damrow to move into fourth and fifth. They then wrestled for the fourth spot for the final fourteen laps of the contest.

By lap 30, Swan had caught Brewe. Just as they had done earlier, the two went side by side as Brewe’s machine used the momentum of the high line to rocket down the back stretch. Finally, on lap 33 Brewe could not find the grip on the outside and Swan took the lead away. “I was getting a little intimidated trying to hold on out there. I knew he was fast. I got too high in the marbles and heated up the tires a little too much,” said Brewe.

Piontek continued right in the tire tracks of Swan taking the second spot away from Brewe with four laps remaining. One lap later the caution flag flew again for a spin by Tews out of turn four. Swan looked strong on the restart as he broke away from Piontek. That advantage was short lived as another caution flew for an incident involving Tews and Louie Goss on the backstretch that brought out the red flag due to debris on the track.

With only two laps to go, sitting idle on the backstretch, hoping for his first feature win of 2007, Swan had a lot on his mind. “I was sitting on the backstretch looking at the wrecked cars thinking, ‘I’ve been there,’” commented Swan. I told the guys on the radio that I was happy just to be leading a race. The told me to relax and run smooth. That’s what I did.”

However, Piontek did not go away with out a fight. Piontek stayed with Swan on the restart and got his nose onto Swan’s back bumper on the final two laps. “He made me nervous,” said Swan. “Piontek was pretty good. I was pretty impressed,” he added.

Piontek was happy with his run as well. “We were set up for shorter runs anticipating a lot of cautions. We got a couple but not as many as we planned,” said Piontek. Brewe held on for third as he clipped Nowak at the line. Prietzel rounded out the top five.

The next event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series is next Sunday, September 30th at the Rockford Speedway in Love’s Park, IL as part of the 42nd Annual National Short Track Championships. The series will end the 2007 regular season at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday, October 6th as part of the Oktoberfest Race Weekend. For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series including results, standings, the remaining 2007 schedule and driver info visit www.midamericanracing.com.

RESULTS

Faith’s Luxury Spas and Billiards 40
1. James Swan, Genoa City, WI; 2. Brett Piontek, Green Bay, WI; 3. Rod Brewe, Menominee, WI; 4. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, WI; 5. Bill Prietzel, Richfield, WI; 6. Kevin Damrow, Manitowoc, WI; 7. Jake Finney, Sycamore, IL; 8. Jeremy Spoonmore, Somonauk, IL; 9. Kyle Shear, Roscoe, IL; 10. Tim Schmitt, New Berlin, WI; 11. Troy Shear, Jr., Roscoe, IL; 12. Tom McClintock, Onalaska, WI; 13. Darren Wolke, Belle Plaine, MN; 14. Scott Null, Lake Mills, WI; 15. Dave Obermeyer, Slinger, WI; 16. Maxwell Schultz, Reedsville, WI; 17. Danny Powell, Polo, IL; 18. Bobby Gutknecht, Oak Creek, WI; 19. Hank Tews, Batavia, IL; 20. Louie Goss, Green Bay, WI; 21. Joe Monti, Irma, WI; 22. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, WI; 23. Jimmy Wilson, Appleton, WI; DNS - Tony Habeck, Black Creek, WI
Lap Leaders: Tews 1-5; Schmitt 6-11; Damrow 12-19; Brewe 20-32; Swan 33-40
10 Lap Heats
Heat 1: Kulka; Obermeyer; Null; Schultz; Monti; Goss; Wilson; Habeck
Heat 2: K. Shear; Finney; Piontek; Gutknecht; Spoonmore; T. Shear, Jr.; McClintock; Prietzel
Heat 3: Nowak; Powell; Damrow; Swan; Brewe; Schmitt; Tews; Wolke

Fast Time: Prietzel - 19.504 seconds

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