New Team, New Title Sponsor, New Car - - Moses Smith ...
New Team, New Title Sponsor, New Car - - Moses Smith #76
Moses Smith headed to Sebring for the first of 10 events to take place in the hunt for the 2004 championship title.
The theme for Sebring this year can be summed up in one word - - -NEW. Moses is joining a new team, has a new title sponsor and the biggest new of all, he is competing in a new car. All of these elements came together two weeks before the Sebring event; except for the new car, which arrived only one week before the event.
Moses' new team is American Speed Factory, located in Florida. The American Speed Factory will be supporting Moses' efforts throughout the season. The new title sponsor on the car is 3 Dimensional Services. Along with this new title sponsor, HASA Pool Products has signed on again for another exciting season of racing.
Upon delivery of the car one week prior to the event, the team worked feverishly to get the car ready for a "shakedown" day. They then turned around and got it prepped for the race in Sebring. It was a lot to ask, but the team was determined to have the car right before showing up at Sebring. The team's hard work was about to pay off.
Sebring was scheduled to be a long week. The teams would arrive and set up on Sunday, to prepare for the 8:30 a.m. session Monday morning. The series promoter allowed the racers an extra day of testing, due to the fact that the cars were so new. As testing commenced, Moses was turning times that put him towards the top of the timesheets.
For the first official practice season on Wednesday, Moses would head out on new tires, and a full fuel load. "I felt that a race set-up was going to be more important than a qualifying set-up, so I really wanted to focus on that." commented Moses on the team's decision to work on race strategy.
Over the next two days of practice, the team continued to dial in the race set-up. The race was scheduled for 45 minutes, or 75 miles, which ever would come first. A big part of the race strategy was to make the Good Year tires last the entire race, and be strong in the end for a race finishing charge for the win. As the practice seasons ended, Moses was back at the top of the charts and feeling very good about the car.
"This car is going to be great in the race, I just need to qualify towards the front, and the car will do the rest." Moses expressed about his 3 Dimensional Services race car.
As Friday would start with a 45 minute qualifying window, strategy was going to be very important. There are many variables to factor in, tire wear, track conditions, and fuel load. John Shapiro of the American Speed Factory decided that the best times were going to happen early in the session, so we needed to get on track early and put down the best possible lap. By the eighth lap of qualifying, only 20 minutes into the season, Moses would find himself third on the grid for the start of the race that afternoon.
This is the part that the whole team was waiting for, the race. Moses explained the team's race strategy, "I knew we had a great race car, but I also realized that there were a lot of new people that I had not raced with before, so my plan was to play it safe and let the race come to me."
As the green flag dropped and 33 cars raced into turn one, the race for the lead was on. By the exit of turn one, most cars had found their way into a single file line towards turn three. Before the first lap was complete Moses would be in third position with plenty of pressure from behind. As Moses and the fourth place car battled for position, the leaders were able to build a quite substantial lead. Once Moses was able to break free, and start chasing down the leaders, the gap was diminishing by over half a second a lap.
"I saw that the leaders were getting away from me and knew that I needed to start chasing them down, my car was getting faster every lap so that just inspired me to drive harder," Moses explained about his mid-race charge to the front.
In no time at all Moses would be overtaking the second place car and never looking back. First place was within reach, when lap traffic would hinder the progress Moses was making on the leader. As the checkered flag was displayed, Moses would find himself in second place.
"Second place is a great way to start the season, I am looking forward to an exciting season, and just want to say thank you to 3 Dimensional Services, HASA Pool Products, and the American Speed Factory for giving me this opportunity!" Moses expressed excitedly regarding his Sebring results.
This race will be televised on the SpeedChannel on 04/04/04 at 9:00 am PST and then again on 04/08/04 at 11:00 am PST. Be sure not to miss this special one-hour program.