Columbus: Don Smith preview

Texas Harley-Davidson Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck Don Smith Owner / Driver The Senior Tour Takes Aim At Columbus COLUMBUS, Ohio (Pre-Race) - Don Smith, driver of the Texas Harley-Davidson Chevrolet S-10 Pro Stock Truck, has by all counts had a...

Texas Harley-Davidson
Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck
Don Smith Owner / Driver

The Senior Tour Takes Aim At Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Pre-Race) - Don Smith, driver of the Texas Harley-Davidson Chevrolet S-10 Pro Stock Truck, has by all counts had a successful season to date. As Smith and the 'Senior Tour' arrive in Columbus, Ohio for the 37th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, they have a record that many within the class envy.

This team has made an amazing turn around. From a team that was not taken very seriously last season, to a racing machine that is striking fear in the hearts of the other competitors in the Pro Stock Truck class. This turn around did not come all of a sudden. It has taken Smith and his 'Senior Tour' team a years worth of work to arrive here.

To date Smith has won one race, the Advance Auto Parts Nationals in Topeka, Kan. He has qualified at every race this season. He has qualified in the top half of the field at the last four race (narrowly missing the prestigious Number 1 qualifying spot in Topeka on mile per hour) and is currently sixth in the Winston Pro Stock Truck points.

"We have worked hard for the last year, to get where we are today," said Smith of Keller, Texas. "Last season started out slow for us. We knew we where making good horsepower, but our program was not coming together. We tried a number of things, and nothing seemed to work out for us. That is until Sonny Ray came to work for us.

"Last year at St. Louis I convinced Sonny to come to work for us. I felt like it was a good time to make a change, right before the summer break. Sonny came on board and from our first race out we saw improvement. That race was Indy, and we qualified number 2 there.

"But as so many times happens in racing, we got bit by a gremlin. We had a hidden problem with a throw out bearing that we chased all fall, and until the end of the season. We basically wasted the last part of the 2000 season looking for what turned out to be a simple problem, but we did not let that deter us.

"At the start of this season our goal was to simply qualify at every race. It sounds simple, but as tight as the competition in this class is, qualifying at every race is a feat in itself. We knew that with the horsepower Bill Jenkins is providing for us that qualifying at every race was a realistic goal for this team.

"Once we started qualifying well, then we wanted to start going some rounds. We were pretty sure we could win a race this year but we did think it would come as soon as it did. In Topeka we proved that it is true; that anyone in this class can win at anytime.

"This team has one more goal for the season, which we plan on addressing in Columbus this weekend. We are going for that white number 1 qualifier hat again this weekend. We barley missed it in Topeka, and were in striking distance in Chicago. We would like to get it this weekend.

"I would have to say that this team has had the opportunity to win and be the Number 1 qualifier since Atlanta. It is easy to say, but I feel like we are not done for the season. I think we can win some more races, and the Number 1 spot is within our grasp. I think this race in Columbus is as good a time as any to get back to the winner's circle."

Qualifying at the 37th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals begins on Friday June 15th and continues on Saturday June 16th. Pro Stock Truck eliminations will take place on Sunday June 17 at 11:00 AM EST. <pre> Pontiac Excitement Nationals

TV Schedule Qualifying Highlights - Saturday June 16 ESPN2 10:00 - 12:00 PM EST

Eliminations Coverage - Sunday June 17 ESPN2 8:00 - 10:00 PM EST

-THD-

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Series NHRA