EL CAJON, CA. Everyone is into categorizing things nowadays in sports. There is the best golfer who has never won a tournament and the best baseball player never to play in the World Series. At Cajon Speedway, Marty Schmidt may be the best active...
EL CAJON, CA. Everyone is into categorizing things nowadays in sports. There is the best golfer who has never won a tournament and the best baseball player never to play in the World Series. At Cajon Speedway, Marty Schmidt may be the best active racer never to win a main event.
Schmidt is currently in his third year of competition in the pony stock division on the 3/8-mile paved oval. In his two previous years only one driver who also had never won a main event finished ahead of him in the pony stock point standings. That driver, Hector Leon, has vacated the driver's seat, so Schmidt has inherited the "still looking for that first win" honor (if that is what it should be called).
This Saturday night the 33-year-old El Cajon racer will be back in action when the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series invades the Gillespie Field track once again. Race time is 6:45 PM. Qualifying runs start at 5:15 PM. Practice starts at 4:00.
Sharing the pavement with the pony stocks will be the late model sportsman, street stocks, bomber stocks, and the factory stocks. The night will conclude with a destruction derby. This will mark the second event at Cajon for the new factory stock class. Vernon Gilmore, who holds down the title of crew chief for street stocker Rob Freeman, won that division's first 20-lap feature two weeks ago.
Schmidt is currently fifth in the pony stock standings. That is the same position where he finished a year ago. He was eighth during his rookie season in 1999. Despite being winless, strong, consistent finishes have propelled him to his strong point finishes. He has 18 top five finishes during the 48 main events he has started. That is a batting average of .375, a great mark in both baseball and auto racing.
For some this winless string could be frustrating. But Schmidt is matter-of-fact about it. "I don't know," he responds when asked what it is going to take for him to finally come home first in front of the field. Like Stevie Beaumont says, 'I have no idea'. I'm just going to have to be in the right place at the right time and have the right combination. I don't spend a lot of money as far as tires. I put on one tire every third week and try to do the best I can with what I got. I think I am a little outgunned with some of the other guys with the amount of money they're spending. It's supposed to be an entry level, beginner class. It's supposed to be low budget but (some of) these guys are dumping serious money into these cars. But in order to keep up with the guys that are spending three times they money that I am, I don't know when it's going to happen. But I'm going to keep trying."