Smith Snares First ASCS National Score in Friday Feature at Poplar Bluff POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (April 28, 2006) -- Heavy rain throughout the area Friday night stayed away from Poplar Bluff Speedway long enough for Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Nick Smith...
Smith Snares First ASCS National Score in Friday Feature at Poplar Bluff
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (April 28, 2006) -- Heavy rain throughout the area Friday night stayed away from Poplar Bluff Speedway long enough for Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Nick Smith to capture his first career O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour feature win in the 25-lap Sprint Car debut atop the 3/8-mile red clay oval.
Smith fought off a tenacious Jason Johnson, flashing underneath the checkered flag with a mere car-length advantage to take the win aboard the Ostr ich-powered MPHG Promotions No. 15s J&J. With the triumph, Smith closed to within one point of fifth-place finisher Gary Wright in the championship points chase.
"Man, that was a lot of laps to have to hold off that guy there (Johnson), he 's tough," an ecstatic Smith explained afterward. "Jimmy Jones had this car working perfect tonight, even when Jason got by me that one time the car was so good I was able to get right back in front. I've just got to thank Dallas and Plew at MPHG Promotions for all they've done to help, along with my Mom and Dad."
Smith earned the pole position for the feature after racing from fourth to win his heat race, then had to wait out a brief rain delay after the initial pair of starts were waved off for minor tangles.
Once the rain subsided, Smith out dueled fellow front row starter Sean McClelland through the opening two corners to take the early lead in front of McClelland, fourth-starter Johnson and Joey Montgomery.
Montgomery then surrendered the fourth position when he looped his mount in turn two on the third lap, with Jason Evans and Jan Howard getting together in the ensuing scramble. Evans retired to the pit area, while Montgomery and Howard rejoined the chase.
Following a turn four tangle that eliminated Trey Robb and Tim Montgomery two laps later, Smith and Johnson set sail with McClelland and Zach Chappell dicing for third.
Smith held a narrow lead over Johnson as lapped traffic came into play after ten laps. Battling through traffic, the red flag flew after 13 rounds when Smith slid in front of Jan Howard exiting the fourth turn. Howard jumped the cushion and tagged the turn four wall, resulting in a flip down the front stretch. Howard was uninjured but done for the night.
The final twelve circuits were run in nonstop fashion, with the 22-year-old Smith riding a perilous rim just ahead of Johnson. Johnson worked the low line repeatedly through turns one and two and when Smith briefly jumped the turn four cushion on the 21st lap, Johnson charged by in the middle of the track to take command.
Johnson's lead was short-lived however, with Smith diving back into the lead in turns one and two. Johnson made one final bid for a third consecutive O' Reilly ASCoT National win in the final two corners, briefly pulling alongside, but Smith's topside momentum carried him off the final turn and to the finish line with a slim advantage.
Johnson settled for second aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Diesel Service No. 41 Eagle, with eleventh-starter Travis Rilat emerging from a multi-car battle for position to take third in the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction/Hard Eight Racing No. 29 Maxim.
Chappell crossed the stripe fourth aboard the Carbone-powered No. 50z Maxim, narrowly edging tenth-starter Gary Wright who rounded out the top five aboard the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim.
Jason Sides was sixth, with 17th-starter Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Jerrod Hull, 15th-starter Jesse Hockett and Darren Stewart completing the top ten.
McClelland battled amongst the top five most of the way before losing power on the final round and coasting to a stop just short of the checkered flag. Chappell, Smith, Joey Montgomery and Johnson topped heat race action for the 30-car field, with 13-year-old Robb wiring the field in the 12-lap "B" Main.
With rain threatening throughout the evening, the standard ASCS National Tour format of heats and qualifiers was altered in favor of a heats-only format to determine the "B" and "A" Feature lineups.
O'Reilly ASCoT National action continues Saturday night at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway.
O'Reilly ASCoT Poplar Bluff Speedway Results:
Heats Races (Top 18 in passing points to "A" Main; balance "B" Main)
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 50z-Zach Chappell, 2. 94-Jerrod Hull, 3. 45-Josh Howard, 4. 91-Darren Stewart, 5. 68-Danny Long, 6. 44-Ronny Howard, 7. 22-Dustin Barks, 8. 4-Dustin Adams.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 15s-Nick Smith, 2. 1-Sean McClelland, 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 75-Jesse Hockett, 5. 46-Jan Howard, 6. 14x-Eric White, 7. 7x-Kenny Pope. DNS: 7d-Dylan DeJournett.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 21c-Joey Montgomery, 2. 85-Dustin Daggett, 3 . 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 01-Tim Montgomery, 5. 98-Gabe Maycock, 6. 14-Paul . Hart, 7 d12-Doc Sloan .
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 7s-Jason Sides, 3. 88-Jason Evans, 4. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 5. 12-Trey Robb, 6. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 7. 94c-Stephen Chevallier.
"B" Main -- Top 4 advance to "A" Main
"B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 12-Trey Robb, 2. 98-Gabe Maycock, 3. 22-Dustin Barks, 4. 14-Paul Hart, 5. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 6. 94c-Stephen Chevallier, 7. 44-Ronny Howard, 8. d12-Doc Sloan, 9. 7x-Kenny Pope, 10. 14x-Eric White. DNS: 4-Dustin Adams, 7d-Dylan DeJournett.
O'Reilly ASCoT Poplar Bluff Speedway "A" Main Event
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 15s-Nick Smith, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 50z-Zach Chappell, 5. 9-Gary Wright, 6. 7s-Jason Sides, 7. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 8. 94-Jerrod Hull, 9. 75-Jesse Hockett, 10. 91-Darren Stewart, 11. 21c-Joey Montgomery, 12. 85-Dustin Daggett, 13. 45-Josh Howard, 14. 98-Gabe Maycock, 15. 68-Danny Long, 16. 1-Sean McClelland, 17. 46-Jan Howard, 18. 14-Paul Hart, 19. 01-Tim Montgomery, 20. 12-Trey Robb, 21. 88-Jason Evans, 22. 22-Dustin Barks.
Lap Leaders: Nick Smith 1-20, Jason Johnson 21, Nick Smith 22-25. O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 899, 2. Nick Smith 898, 3. Travis Rilat 867, 4. Zach Chappell 849, 5. Jesse Hockett 840, 6. Darren Stewart 813, 7. Jason Johnson 811, 8. Jerrod Hull 806, 9. Tim Montgomery 803, 10. Sean McClelland 782, 11. Jan Howard 769, 12. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 717, 13. Trey Robb 648, 14. Dustin Daggett 638, 15. Mike Chadd 634.