Showdown Top-Ten for Moses Smith and the #16 Hasa Pool Products Team
Sunny California did not disappoint the racing crowd at the Toyota Speedway last weekend. The weather was in the warm seventies and the crowds were passionate.
While first practice on Friday proved challenging for the #16 Hasa Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota Camry, the team's drastic adjustments sparked optimism for the second/last practice. Their hard work was rewarded with improved lap times. Despite the tight competition (only 0.133 separated 10th position from 21st); Moses qualified in twenty-first position. He started the showdown just one place behind action sports star, Travis Pastrana.
Having successfully gained their spot in the Showdown, the team had a rare opportunity to relax together and watch the 50-lap "last chance" K&N Pro Series Qualifying race to finish up their night.
Race day started with a packed autograph session. Over 500 fans arrived early to speak to their favorite drivers and collect race memorabilia. At 8:35 p.m., Grand Marshal and NASCAR star Michael Waltrip waved the green flag to start the forty-car 225-lap K&N Pro Series Toyota All-Star main event.
It did not take long for the #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota Camry's strategy to go awry. On lap twenty-seven, Moses was among those involved in multi-car accident between Turns one and two. Left with nowhere to go, he t-boned his teammate, Eric Holmes.
This contact caused damaged the front of the Camry and force the toe out of alignment. Moses had to make two unscheduled pit stops to address the damage. Thanks to the skillful efforts of the Hasa Crew, the #16 Hasa Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota Camry rejoined the field in back of the pack, but on the lead lap.
For the remainder of the first one hundred lap segment, Moses protected his equipment as much as he could while avoiding several other crashes. The first competition pit stop afforded the crew the opportunity to complete additional repairs to the injured race car
During the long green flag runs in the second one hundred laps, Moses patiently moved up through the pack. For the start of the last twenty-five lap portion of the 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, Moses took the green flag from thirteenth position.
He worked his way up to fifth place before oil from a competitor's race vehicle made it difficult to maneuver the corners. During the last few laps of the race, caught up high and on the outside, Moses lost a crowd pleasing three-wide battle to finish the race in ninth place.
"It was a tough night, but we managed to salvage a top 10 out of it. At the end of the race, we were up to fifth. Unfortunately on that last restart, the #16 Hasa Pool Products / White Flyer Toyota got stuck behind another car that was dumping a bunch of oil. It cost us a few spots and we brought her home in ninth. What an awesome race!" Moses reported. "Thanks to all of the fans who came out or watched Team HASA on TV."
The race lasted an hour and fifty minutes and was slowed by 11 cautions including two red flags and two completion yellows. The 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series season opener will be with the top three national touring series at Phoenix International Raceway on February 24th.