Smith Wants Rookie of the Year, But Wants Win More 19-Year-Old Wants To Better His Seventh at Lowe's Just Two Weeks Ago AUSTIN, TX (October 27, 2004) -- It's still possible for Casey Smith to win the ASA National Tour's Rookie of the Year award...
Smith Wants Rookie of the Year, But Wants Win More
19-Year-Old Wants To Better His Seventh at Lowe's Just Two Weeks Ago
AUSTIN, TX (October 27, 2004) -- It's still possible for Casey Smith to win the ASA National Tour's Rookie of the Year award for 2004. He sits fourth in those standings with one race to go. However, that is not the Texas teenager's main goal as he heads to the Atlanta Motor Speedway (GA) this week with his family-owned #19 team.
Smith is going to Atlanta to win.
That might seem like a bold goal for a 19-year-old rookie with a small team behind him. The #19 operation does not even have a back-up car and they are racing against teams with big league NASCAR affiliations. But after their performance in the last ASA race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, nobody knowledgeable with the series would be surprised by a Smith win.
"We're just going to Atlanta to try and win the race," said Smith. "To win there would be awesome. I wanted to get a short track win this year and I'm surprised being this competitive at the speedways having only one car."
Having a few less resources just means a little more hard work for the team.
"I've seen what the other teams are doing with their bodies and all that we've done is add a little bit more bracing to our only car," said Smith. "Still, we had a good car at both Kentucky and Lowe's. We were running fourth at Kentucky and finished sixth. At Lowe's, I got jumped on the restart and dropped back to finish seventh. That just shows how good our set-up was in the corners. We're going to Atlanta with a combination of both set-ups and we'll have a good car."
That's not to say that the Rookie of the Year award can't be won. Taking the race victory could go a long way towards that goal, but Smith knows that at this point there is only so much under his control.
"To win Rookie of the Year, we need to have the three guys in front of us to run into bad luck," said Smith. "If we were chasing one person, it would be easier. We'll just do what we need to do at Atlanta and not worry about it."
The Lowe's Motor Speedway boxscore shows that Smith started fifth and finished seventh, but it does not tell the true story of the team's race. Smith crashed in the last minute of final practice and the team scrambled to rebuild their car. They took it to a local raceshop and returned just two hours before the race with a patched-up car and no sleep among themselves.
"We stayed up all night to fix the car and got it the best that we could," said Smith. "We couldn't get it perfect under those conditions. We got back to the shop and redid the body. We did some measuring and worked with the suspension geometry. The car was good in the race at Lowe's, but we were off a little bit because of the wreck. Now, it's back like it was and hopefully it's as fast as the first practice at Lowe's. We ran a 50-lap run there and the car just got faster. It didn't drop off at all."
Lowe's was not the only race where Smith had to overcome bad luck. They have definitely paid their dues in the first season of ASA racing.
"We've had a lot of chances to win this year," said Smith. "But we've also had a lot of bad luck. We looked back at our notes and if it wasn't for electrical problems at Milwaukee and Elko, we'd be contending for the championship and not even concerned about Rookie of the Year."
The ASA National Tour rounds out the season with World Financial Group 150 Oct. 29 following NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race is set for 9 p.m. EDT Friday evening.