Fire and Rain Can't Keep Doug Smith from Capturing Two Mid-Ohio Top-10s Announces Piloti Racing Shoes as Marketing Partner LEXINGTON, Oh., August 29, 2005 -- Doug Smith can now sing the James Taylor lyric; "I've seen fire and I've seen ...
Fire and Rain Can't Keep Doug Smith from Capturing Two Mid-Ohio Top-10s
Announces Piloti Racing Shoes as Marketing Partner
LEXINGTON, Oh., August 29, 2005 -- Doug Smith can now sing the James Taylor lyric; "I've seen fire and I've seen rain" with full understanding following this weekend's Formula Ford Zetec Cooper Tire Championship weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Despite an electrical fire and on-again, off-again rain showers at the 2.25-mile road course in central Ohio, the Plantation, Florida-driver earned two top-10 finishes in the two 30-minute races. He qualified the No. 35 Packers of Indian River LTD/ wirewheel.com/ Race-Sport.net Van Diemen sixth and 13th respectively for the Saturday and Sunday shows on his way to the dual tenths at the checkered flag. Following the seventh and eighth rounds of the 12-race championship, Doug continues to improve his top-10 position in the point standings. Further highlighting the weekend were two events not associated with the DBS Motorsports/ GTP Motorsports No. 35. Early in the week Smith entered into a marketing partnership with Piloti Racing Shoes and, on Thursday, was given his first taste of a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class ride.
Opening the weekend, Doug and Piloti Racing Shoes North American distributor Race City Radios (www.racecityradios.com) announced an agreement for the up-and-coming driver to represent the company. Doug, who also races both an Audi R8 and Group 44 Jaguar GTP entry in the Historic SportsCar Racing (HSR) Series and instructs for a variety of racing schools, will promote the highly sought-after footwear in his racing endeavors. Piloti (www.pilotiracingshoes.com) offers a range of driving shoes for both the racecar and the street in nine different styles and multiple colors.
"I'm really excited to be beginning a great relationship with a company like Piloti driving shoes," remarked Smith. "They have such an awesome line of products and it's great to have them on board with us at DBS Motorsports. This relationship is already paying off for everyone as I was stopped all weekend at Mid-Ohio and asked about the shoes. It's great having them on board along with Packers of Indian River LTD, Annese and Associates, wirewheel.com and Race-Sport.net "
Opportunity continued on the track. Doug was handpicked by Horizon Motorsports for a handful of laps in their Pontiac GTO-R Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class entry. While he did not qualify or race the car, it was his debut in a Rolex Series machine. The test laps went well, impressing the team and opening the door for conversations for the future.
"I was thrilled to get the opportunity to test with Horizon Pontiac GTO," commented an enthused Doug Smith. "I'm hoping my career path is leading me into the Rolex Series and having the opportunity to show what I can do in a GT car was a valuable step. The GTO was a lot of fun to drive. It surprised me with how well mannered it was and how solid the car felt under you. That comfort, I think, showed in my lap times. There are a few people I would like to take the opportunity to thank. First, Jim Harrell, team principle of Horizon Motorsports and Charles Espenlaub, Horizon team driver. And, very importantly, Jill Swanson of F.A.S.T. [Fresh Air Systems Technologies] for all her help, guidance and support in making this test happen. Thank you all".
The weekend got off to a hot start for DBS Motorsports. As Doug wheeled the Packers of Indian River LTD/ wirewheel.com/ Race-Sport.net Van Diemen out on course for Friday's final warm-up, the No. 35 lost power entering the section of track known as "Madness". Smelling burning electronics, Doug quickly found a place to pull the car safely off course. While the electrical fire, due to a short in the electrical system between the battery and the engine, was not severe, the cleanup and repair from the effort to extinguish the fire was substantial. Doug and the DBS Motorsports/ GTP Motorsports operation would make repairs and clean the car in time for qualifying. As it had in the Series' first appearance at Mid-Ohio in May, rain began to play a part in the competition. Starting qualifying on the rain variant of the Cooper race tire, Smith would put in the sixth fastest time despite not being able to put in a time on dry weather racing slicks as most of the competitors had as the track began to dry at the end of the session.
Race One continued the string of interesting scenarios. Doug quickly made his way up to fifth and was fighting for fourth position when he was pushed wide and hit a curb launching the car into the air and into the muddy grass. Though he would fall several positions while getting back on course, Doug fought back to finish 10th despite a bent tie-rod, broken engine mount as well as a piece of the bell housing being torn away.
His times were fast enough in the Saturday's race to start the No. 35 13th on the grid for Sunday's race. For the first time of the Zetec weekend, Doug was able to race problem free and showed his strength. Despite a yellow flag that limited the amount of on-track racing for position, Doug made-up three spots, crossing the finish line in 10th position again.
"The weekend here was definitely a roller coaster ride and I don't mean just because of the track," laughed Smith on Sunday. "Thursday's test started out promising, but with the major electrical problems that we faced in final practice on Friday, I knew the number 35 GTP Van Diemen may be a little behind the eight ball. The wet track really played nicely into our favor for qualifying. Deciding to stay out and run some laps on the wet tires, instead of waiting in the pits for slicks, was also a good call. After the start of Race One, I was able to hold fifth and drive at a strong pace. But, after that slight off course excursion, I was happy to salvage a 10th- place finish for the day. Race Two was a lot less heart stopping than race one. GTP Motorsports gave me a well balanced car that lasted throughout the race. Once I got around a few fellow competitors, the field had a large gap and I just ran out of time. But we'll take a top-10 and look forward to VIR next month."