Late Model: Baer Field race notes

Smith Wins ASA Late Model Series Event at Baer Field Speedway FT. WAYNE, Ind. (May 16, 2004) - Round two of the ASA Late Model Series saw 41 teams head to Baer Field Speedway in Ft. Wayne, Ind., for the running of the First General Homes of Fort...

Smith Wins ASA Late Model Series Event at Baer Field Speedway

FT. WAYNE, Ind. (May 16, 2004) - Round two of the ASA Late Model Series saw 41 teams head to Baer Field Speedway in Ft. Wayne, Ind., for the running of the First General Homes of Fort Wayne 100, presented by Fort Wayne Vehicle Auction and U.B. Machine of New Haven.

In qualifying it was Bobby Stremme in the No. 53 Meijer Chevrolet taking the pole with a time of 17.948 seconds, the first driver to break the 18-second barrier and one of just three to do so in qualifying on the flat .50-mile oval. Stremme drew the inversion pill after qualifying, pulling the number eight, which put Jack Smith on the pole for the feature race.

Smith took advantage of the situation, leading the final 99 of the 100-green flag laps, but it wasn't an easy win. Lapped traffic was difficult to work around on this tight track, even with as dominant car as he had in the No. 64 Greg's Performance/Lenny's Collision Chevrolet.

"When you run against guys every week you learn who's going to go high and who's going to go low," Smith said. "It's just a learning thing with this being a new series."

Smith qualified eighth, and obviously was the beneficiary of the invert which put him out at the front of the field where he stayed for all but one lap, despite the event being slowed 13 times for cautions.

"I really thought I would be fast qualifier or second-fast qualifier and I kind of slipped up," Smith said regarding his starting position on the invert. "But hey, I would rather be lucky than good any day."

Trailing Smith the entire race was local Fort Wayne, Ind., driver Tommy Cook in the No. 58 First General Homes Chevrolet. Cook could get close, and even got a nose under Smith a couple of times, but could never make the pass stick.

"I was really tight right through the middle and he (Smith) was really good off," Cook explained. "Everyone ran us clean and we ran them clean and that's what racing is all about."

A very scary incident occurred on lap 9 when Mike Carter in the No. 44 Chevrolet was tagged from behind and turned hard into the wall coming out of Turn 4. As Carter was sliding back down the track he was hid mid-vehicle by Dave Lawrence in the No. 45 CTI/ManonaTire Ford who had no room to maneuver around Carter. Both cars sustained heavy damage in the impact, and Lawrence was transported to Lutheran Hospital for evaluation. The race was red flagged for clean-up for approximately 20 minutes.

Unofficially, the top 10 finishers in the event were Smith, Cook, Dan Lensing, Brian Campbell (who led the first lap, the only other lap leader of the event), Stremme, Scott Baker, Jason Setser, Tony Rosebrugh, Michael Gruenberg and Jack Moore. There were 13 of the 28 starters finishing on the lead lap.

The ASA Late Model Series is next in action at Lake Erie Speedway in Erie, Pa. on Saturday, May 29. The American Speed Association is based in Pendleton, Ind., and has offered stock car racing programs since 1968, including the ASA National Tour, ASA Late Model Series, several regional touring series and the ASA Member Track programs. For additional information, visit asaracing.com.

- www.asaracing.com -

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jack Smith