Early Season Success Raises Doug Smith's Mid-Ohio Confidence
LEXINGTON, Oh., August 23, 2005 -- Doug Smith is eager to return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for the ninth and tenth rounds of the 2005 Formula Ford Zetec Cooper Tire Championship. The 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio road course is the only track on the schedule that the No. 35 Packers of Indian River LTD/ wirewheel.com/ Race-Sport.net Van Diemen will race on twice this season and the Plantation, Fla.-resident impressed in the DBS Motorsports/ GTP Motorsports entry there in May. In the first two rounds held on the 13-turn track, Doug took his first top-five finish of the year (in Race Two) and a top-10 (in Race One). Those two finishes helped rocket Doug into the top-five in the season-long point battle for the drivers championship. With only three double-race weekends remaining in the season, the return to Mid-Ohio is critical to Doug's championship aspirations.
"The EMCO Grand American weekend at Mid-Ohio will hopefully be a bit of a turning point for my championship hopes," offered Doug who finished second in the 2002 American Continental Championship. "We've had some bad luck in one of the two races in either of the last two race weekends. I'm really hoping to turn around some of those misfortunes and use Mid-O as a spring board into the rest of my championship hunt. As well, to have a good showing in front of the Rolex Series community is always important."
The No. 35 Van Diemen is coming off of the fourth race-weekend of the season, back on August 6th and 7th at Road America. Doug had to fight for every break the car would have in both of the weekend's races earning a ninth in the second 30-minute feature on Sunday and disappointing 23rd, after contact, in Saturday's race. The challenges hurt the young Floridian's effort for his quest for the Cooper Series Championship but not his drive to earn it nonetheless. With six rounds and 192 points remaining before the title is handed down in the Grand American Road Racing Association-sanctioned series, time and points remain for Doug to close the gap.
"Mid-Ohio is really the perfect track for the Cooper Championship to race on," continued Doug. "The track offers an awesome mix of corners, straights and challenges that really compliment the performance of our cars. That makes the racing here always outstanding."
For more on the Formula Ford Zetec Cooper Tire Championship, please visit www.CooperSeries.com.