LAWRENCEBURG, IN (May 6) - Danny Smith made World of Outlaws Sprint Series history Thursday when he won the "A" Feature at Lawrenceburg Speedway. Smith, who has raced with sprint car racing's premier series off and on since its inception in...
LAWRENCEBURG, IN (May 6) - Danny Smith made World of Outlaws Sprint Series history Thursday when he won the "A" Feature at Lawrenceburg Speedway.
Smith, who has raced with sprint car racing's premier series off and on since its inception in 1978, won his first World of Outlaws Sprint Series main event since the 1985 Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. No driver in series history has ever gone 18-plus years between "A" Feature victories.
"That was better than winning my first race here back in 1975," Smith yelled to the capacity crowd. "We ran the first World of Outlaws race in 1978 and we've run here forever. I can't believe this is my first World of Outlaws race here. I guess you could say this is my home track. I've been running here since 1975. I just want to say that Lawrenceburg Speedway has the greatest sprint car fans in the country!"
Smith, the 10th-fastest qualifier in the 43-car field, won every race he entered Thursday: the Second Heat Race, the Second Dash and the "A" Feature. The $10,000 victory was Smith's eighth in World of Outlaws Sprint Series competition.
Donny Schatz, who won the First Dash Race, drove the #15 Parker Store J&J into the lead as the green flag fell in the 40-lap main event. Smith, who started outside the front row, took the low line through the first and second corners to pass the 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year early in lap two.
Danny Lasoski, who set the single-lap record with a 10.136-second lap around Lawrenceburg's semi-banked, ¼-mile oval, used a similar move to pass Kraig Kinser and Kelly Kinser for fourth place three laps later.
Schatz was just inches from the rear bumper on Smith's #4 Pence Oldsmobile/GMC Maxim when the leaders entered lapped traffic during the sixth lap. Dean Jacobs spun in front of the leaders in turn one three laps later. A collision sent Rookie of the Year candidate Jonathan Allard spinning in the fourth corner as the race resumed.
Lasoski and Paul McMahan exchanged third place during the 10th and 11th laps, and Joey Saldana rode the rim around "The Dude" in turn four to take over the fourth position late in lap 15.
Schatz took the lead with a high move into the second corner the next time around, only to have Smith regain the position deep in turn three several seconds later. The battle for first place continued through the race's middle stages as Schatz and Smith passed each other with high moves through the third and fourth corners during laps 20 and 21.
Brian Paulus took the leaders out of lapped traffic
late in lap 22 when the #28 Arnold Transportation Maxim spun in turn four. Saldana, who started outside the fourth row, raced around Schatz in the high groove between the third and fourth corners within a lap after the green flag replaced the yellow.
Half the field passed World of Outlaws Sprint Series points leader Steve Kinser when his #11 Quaker State Maxim turned completely around in turn four late in the 23rd lap. Jason Sides and Erin Crocker spun in the second corner as the race resumed.
Saldana drove the #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Maxim past Smith in the low groove between the first and second corners early in lap 29, only to have Smith regain the lead deep in turn four.
Tim Kaeding took the leaders out of lapped traffic three laps later when the #83JR spun over the bank in the first corner. Smith raced away from Saldana when the green flag replaced the yellow, and opened a six-car-length advantage by the time he caught the back-markers during lap 37. The 1996 Rookie of the Year closed to within two car-lengths of the leader one lap later, but was three car-lengths behind when Smith took the checkered flag.
"To be honest, I was glad to see those yellows at the end because it gave me an open track," Smiths aid. "We got stuck down there at the bottom, and Donny got by me and made me move up to the top of the racetrack, and I found a little bit of rubber up there. I was just trying to run as fast as I could but still conserve my tires enough to win the race. I ran with the World of Outlaws for about 12 years, so I know how tough it really is to beat these guys."
Schatz passed Tim Shaffer in the point standings with his series-leading 10th top-10 finish of the year.
"Any time you start on the pole, you really feel like you should win the race," Schatz said. "My hat goes off to Danny Smith. We had a good race going with him and were side by side several times. I was able to pass him back, but he still able to get back by me. We had a pretty good night, but like I said starting up front and not finishing up there seems to cloud the big picture. As bad as we were here last year (sixth in the "B" Feature), I'm sure before the night started all of us would have been thrilled to leave here with a third-place finish."
McMahan and 13th-starting Jason Meyers each improved three positions to fifth and sixth place in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series point standings by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Lasoski cut Kinser's advantage to 37 points in the standings by finishing in sixth place. Shaffer finished seventh, ahead of Mark Kinser, Kelly Kinser and First Heat Race winner