PORTSMOUTH, OH -- Danny Smith made it seven winners in seven races Saturday night at Portsmouth Raceway Park in the Arizona Sport Shirts All Star sprint Ohio Sprint Speedweek 40-lap feature. The non-stop finale of the week-long series paid Smith...
PORTSMOUTH, OH -- Danny Smith made it seven winners in seven races Saturday night at Portsmouth Raceway Park in the Arizona Sport Shirts All Star sprint Ohio Sprint Speedweek 40-lap feature. The non-stop finale of the week-long series paid Smith $10,000 to win and after the race Chad Kemenah was crowned the 2002 Ohio Speedweek champion, worth $5,000. Kemenah beat out Byron Reed by a mere seven points in the final standings. The event was run non-stop in a time of 11 minutes flat in front of a huge crowd.
"We've had less than a stellar week. We haven't hit the top five all week. I never, ever in my racing career have won a Speedweek show. We've tried for the past 10 years," said Smith. "The key tonight was qualifying in the right spot. A couple guys missed it (the top six) and put us on the pole and it turned into an old man's track and we stayed on the bottom. We didn't make any mistakes," Smith revealed. "I have to thank Guy Webb for putting me in this car, my chief mechanic Willie Ator, his helper Brian, Eagle Chassis, Foxco, Hoosier tires - everything's going good. We've got to thank Arizona Sport Shirts, too for the extra support they gave us this week."
Smith was on the pole for the start with Byron Reed alongside. Kelly Kinser and John Ivy were in row two with Jeff Shepard and Kemenah in row three. Reed ducked in second behind Smith as everyone ran the inside groove on the black and slick racing surface as the race got underway. Kinser was third with Kemenah fourth and John Ivy fifth. By the ninth lap the leader was in lapped traffic, allowing Reed and Kinser to move right back onto the leader's back bumper. Smith had trouble lapping Nick Naber, and Reed and Kinser watched for Smith to make a bobble, but he never did. Once past Naber, Smith pushed back out to a two car length advantage over Reed and Kinser.
At the half way point, the running order around the bottom was Smith, Reed, Kinser, Kemenah, Jimmy Stinson up from ninth, Joe Gaerte, Ivy, Kenny Jacobs and Jeff Shepard.
The next lap Reed slid up slightly, allowing Kinser to duck under and into second. By lap 27 Smith moved back into lapped traffic as the lapped car of Mike Wagner loomed ahead. Wagner was running the same groove as the leaders, and Smith moved up to him, but dared not move out wide a car length to pass him. Instead, Smith was content to follow Wagner, and he slowed a bit to let Wagner pull away. The top three ran nose to tail, bumper to bumper, for the rest of the way.
The final order was Smith, Kinser in the Kinser Racing Eagle-Gaerte, Kemenah's Eagle-Kistler, Reed in the Reebar Die Casting Maxim-Kistler, Joe Gaerte's Mopar powered Eagle (up from 13th starting spot), Jimmy Stinson in the Stinson Concrete Maxim-Dargie, Kenny Jacobs in a Maxim-Kriner (after starting 11th), John Ivy, Jeff Shepard and Dean Jacobs who started 17th.
"The way the track was tonight the leader had to make a huge mistake for me to get by him," Kinser said after finishing second. "Danny's been around this game a long time and I wasn't expecting him to make a mistake. I was hoping he would, but he did a good job. We had a little tough luck Thursday night but to come back and to run second, we'll take it."
"I've been coming to this Speedweek deal my whole life and to be the champion -- It's good," Kemenah said after finishing third and receiving the Speedweek champion's check. "And special thanks to Arizona Sport Shirts for putting up the money for us to take home."
The Crown Battery heat fell to Dean Jacobs, the B&B Products heat went to Rodney Duncan, the Engler Machine and Tool heat was won by Mark Keegan and the TP Wings heat fell to Joe Gaerte. Kenny Jacobs won the United Aluminum Window Sales & Consulting B Main and Chad Kemenah set quick time and captured the Haulmark Dash.