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WOO: Andy Hillenburg Wins 'Springfield Mile' Race

8 June 1998

By Richard Day

SPRINGFIELD, IL - After going more than 10 months without a victory, Andy Hillenburg has won twice in four days.

Hillenburg, who drove his #2 J&J to victory at Rolling Wheels Raceway Wednesday, led all the 30 laps from the pole in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' annual visit to Illinois State Fair Speedway Sunday.

Hillenburg, often considered a short-track specialist because 11 of his 20 career victories have come on tracks smaller than a half-mile in length, thoroughly enjoyed Sunday's race.

"When your car is running good and the setup is right, a mile track can be a lot of fun," Andy said following his first career victory on a mile oval. "I like to go fast, and you don't go any faster than you do here."

Fifteen of the 24 cars in Sunday's event ran laps faster than the previous single-lap record at "The Springfield Mile." The fastest was Sammy Swindell, who chopped 1.147 seconds off the single-lap record he set at Illinois State Fair Speedway last June 8th. His 24.719-second, 145.637-m.p.h. lap broke the world record for speed on a one-mile oval, eclipsing the standard Billy Pauch set at New York State Fair Speedway on October 8, 1994, by .106 seconds. Swindell received his third Vivarin Dash award of the year for his historic effort.

Hillenburg, the seventh-fastest qualifier, caught a break when sixth-quick Tyler Walker suffered a blown engine and finished seventh in the Second Racing Champions Heat Race. That kept Walker from qualifying for the Channellock Dash and put Hillenburg on the pole.

Steve Kinser, whose crew changed the engine in his #11 Quaker State Maxim between hot laps and the qualifying session, joined Hillenburg on the front row after finishing second in the Channellock Dash.

Hillenburg, who also won the First Racing Champions Heat Race, burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature. Donny Schatz, who had high hopes for his second visit to "The Springfield Mile" after finishing fifth there last year, brought out the first caution flag when he hit the outside retaining wall and stopped in turn two early in the second lap.

Hillenburg controlled the ensuing restart and opened a 15- car-length advantage within six laps as Swindell challenged Greg Hodnett for fourth place. Andy entered lapped traffic nine laps into the 30-lap race. He lost his comfort zone the next time around, however, when Danny Lasoski stopped in the third corner with a flat right rear tire.

Swindell and Hodnett were still battling for fourth place during lap 13 when Ron Standridge stopped in turn one with a blown engine. Lasoski and Hodnett restarted the race at the rear of the field after changing tires during the caution period.

Hillenburg raced away from the field as the green flag replaced the yellow, and was a half-straightaway ahead of his closest pursuers when he caught the backmarkers again during the 23rd lap. Andy, Danny Smith, Kinser and Swindell raced nose-to- bumper through the first and second corners as they encountered dense lapped traffic with four laps remaining.

Walker, who passed Second Racing Champions Heat Race winner Mark Kinser for eighth place early in the 26th lap, took the high line into the first corner to pass second-quick Craig Dollansky for seventh place two laps later.

"The King of the Outlaws" took second place with an inside move past Smith through turns three and four later in lap 28. He was unable to gain on Hillenburg, and was a half-straightaway behind when Andy took the checkered flag.

"We got a good break starting up front in the dash," Hillenburg admitted, "and that helped us get here (to victory lane).

"Traffic wasn't that much of a problem, except right there toward the end when I came up three guys who were racing each other. I had to take my time and pick them off one-by-one. The J&J car just felt really good."

Smith finished third, ahead of the Swindell brothers - Sammy and Jeff - Dale Blaney, Walker, Dollansky, Mark Kinser and Stevie Smith.

Jeff Swindell recorded his sixth fifth-place finish of the season in Two Winners Racing's backup #104+ Octane Boost J&J.

Dollansky's eighth-place finish was the best for the #75 Mopar Schnee this year. Schatz drove his family's #15 Blue Beacon Gambler past 13 cars in the final 29 laps to finish 11th.

The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' fire-breathing, mudslinging sprint car racing teams will have five days to change their cars' setups from the fastest track on the tour to the quickest. The 9.780-second lap Stevie Smith recorded at Bloomington Speedway on June 14, 1996, is the lowest in series history. After Friday's visit to Bloomington, the tour heads for Eldora Speedway - "The World's Fastest Half-Mile" - Saturday.

1998 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series
Illinois State Fair Speedway, Springfield, IL
Sunday, June 7, Feature Program #25

Qualifications: 1. Sammy Swindell, Swindell 1, 24.719 (new world record); 2. Craig Dollansky, Stanton 75, 24.874; 3. Greg Hodnett, Helm 11H, 25.050; 4. Steve Kinser, Kinser 11, 25.073; 5. Danny Smith, Brazier 21S, 25.082; 6. Tyler Walker, Walker 35, 25.202; 7. Andy Hillenburg, Hillenburg 2, 25.180; 8. Mark Kinser, Kinser 5M, 25.196; 9. Jeff Swindell, Two Winners 104+, 25.268; 10. Dale Blaney, Hylton-Blaney 93, 25.411; 11. Danny Lasoski, Roth 83, 25.481; 12. Stevie Smith, Smith 19, 25.567; 13. Brian Paulus, P&P Motorsports 28, 25.574; 14. Johnny Herrera, Sonner 47, 25.794; 15. Donny Schatz, Schatz 15, 25.820; 16. Joe Gaerte, Holbrook 8H, 26.035; 17. Ron Standridge, Standridge 10, 26.582; 18. Tommy Scott, Scott 4S, 26.842; 19. Jimmy Moughan, Jr., Smith 4, 27.239; 20. Terry Babb, Babb 88, 28.843; 21. Bruce Oldenburg, Oldenburg 0, 28.943; 22. Eddie Lynch, Lynch 29L, 28.943; 23. John Barrick, Barrick 2J, 30.623; 24. Mike Thomas, Thomas 37, 31.274.

First Racing Champions Heat Race (seven laps): 1. Andy Hillenburg, 2. Sammy Swindell, 3. Danny Smith, 4. Jeff Swindell, 5. Greg Hodnett, 6. Danny Lasoski, 7. Brian Paulus, 8. Ron Standridge, 9. Bruce Oldenburg, 10. Donny Schatz, 11. John Barrick, 12. Jimmy Moughan, Jr. (first 12 qualified for the "A" Feature)

Second Racing Champions Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Mark Kinser, 2. Steve Kinser, 3. Craig Dollansky, 4. Dale Blaney, 5. Stevie Smith, 6. Johnny Herrera, 7. Joe Gaerte, 8. Tommy Scott, 9. Tyler Walker, 10. Terry Babb, 11. Mike Thomas, 12. Eddie Lynch. (first 12 qualified for the "A" Feature)

Channellock Dash (five laps): 1. Andy Hillenburg, 2. Danny Smith, 3. Steve Kinser, 4. Greg Hodnett, 5. Sammy Swindell, 6. Craig Dollansky, 7. Jeff Swindell, 8, Mark Kinser. (finish determined the first eight starting positions in the "A" Feature)

A Feature (30 laps): 1. Andy Hillenburg ($12,000); 2. Steve Kinser ($6,000); 3. Danny Smith ($6,000); 4. Sammy Swindell ($2,500); 5. Jeff Swindell ($2,300); 6. Dale Blaney ($2,200); 7. Tyler Walker ($2,100); 8. Craig Dollansky ($2,000); 9. Mark Kinser ($1,700); 10. Stevie Smith ($1,600); 11. Donny Schatz ($1,200); 12. Johnny Herrera ($1,150); 13. Danny Lasoski ($1,100); 14. Brian Paulus ($1,050); 15. Joe Gaerte ($1,000); 16. Tommy Scott ($800); 17. Greg Hodnett ($700); 18. Terry Babb ($600); 19. Ron Standridge ($600); 20. Jimmy Moughan, Jr. ($600); 21. Eddie Lynch ($600); 22. Mike Thomas ($600); 23. Bruce Oldenburg ($600); 24. John Barrick ($600).

Lap leader: Andy Hillenburg 1-30

Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner: Sammy Swindell