Smith Wins I-55 Feature With Last-Lap Pass By Richard Day PEVELY, MO (July 14) -- Stevie Smith has won 60 "A" Features in his outstanding Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series career, and he has won them in many different ways. The 1990 Rookie of...
Smith Wins I-55 Feature With Last-Lap Pass
By Richard Day
PEVELY, MO (July 14) -- Stevie Smith has won 60 "A" Features in his outstanding Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series career, and he has won them in many different ways.
The 1990 Rookie of the Year pulled off one of one of his most exciting victories Saturday at I-55 Raceway, passing defending series champion Steve Kinser late in the final lap to win by less than a second.
"Steve's tire was really going down there the last few laps, and with him getting slower I was afraid someone might get by me for second," Stevie said. "I hate that it happened that way, but I've lost races the same way, too. I saw a lane open up there on the bottom, and I just went for it. We're just glad to get a win. The track was great all night long until it took rubber there with about 15 laps to go."
The $10,000 victory was Smith's third of the season and the second of his career at I-55 Raceway. He also won at Pevely's high-banked, 1/3-mile oval on July 25, 1998.
Smith, the 10th-fastest qualifier in the 29-car field, won the First O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the right to start the 40-lap main event inside the third row by following Joey Saldana, Kinser, Danny Wood and Brad Furr across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash.
Saldana drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature, only to have Kinser pass him with a slide move between the third and fourth corners late in the opening lap.
Paul McMahan raced wheel-to-wheel with Smith and Furr through turn one early in lap three, and passed them both in the second corner for third place.
Jason Meyers, whose blown engine cost him a victory in the First O'Reilly Heat Race, spun in turn two the next time around. Smith passed Wood for third place with an inside move between turns one and two as the green flag replaced the yellow, but Wood regained the position in the same spot four laps later.
Kinser, a three-time winner at I-55 Raceway, was .9 seconds ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic during the 10th lap. Saldana caught Kinser two laps later, however, and passed him for the lead deep in the second corner.
Donny Schatz, who started outside the sixth row, steered his family's #15 Parker Stores J&J to the lowest point in turn one to pass fast-qualifier Tim Shaffer for fifth place early in the 13th lap.
"The King of the Outlaws" chased Saldana for nine laps before regaining the lead with an inside move between the third and fourth corners. Smith continued his run toward the front during the 22nd lap, passing Wood for third place deep in turn two.
Johnny Herrera took the leaders out of lapped traffic late in lap 26 when he stopped the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim on the back straightaway with a flat right rear tire. Tim Montgomery stopped on the back stretch six laps later, bringing out the yellow flag again. Saldana surrendered second place during the caution period, pitting so his crew could change his flat right rear tire.
Smith restarted in second place and immediately started battling him for the lead. He steered his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Maxim deep in the third corner to take the lead as they headed for the checkered flag and was .8 seconds ahead when he crossed the finish line. Kinser's runner-up run pushed him into third place in the point standings.
Wood, who won the Second O'Reilly Heat Race, was in third place when the right rear tire on the #21W Pepsi Avenger lost air pressure in turn four on the final lap, causing him to drop five positions.
Schatz finished in third place, ahead of Shaffer, McMahan, 14th- starting Mark Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Wood, Furr and Jac Haudenschild.
Shaffer set quick-time for the second straight night, driving Dave Helm's #11H Vivarin Maxim around the high-banked, 1/3-mile oval in 10.989 seconds, an average speed of 109.200 m.p.h. His 11th top-five finish of the season moved him into 11th place in the point standings.
Schatz and Mark Kinser had problems during hot laps, but their crews had their cars ready for time trials. Schatz suffered a broken rear end, while a flat right rear tire sent the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader into the second-corner retaining wall.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction its final Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals tune-up at Knoxville Raceway Monday. The series will run a $51,600 event at the Terre Haute Action Track Wednesday before heading to Eldora Speedway for Friday's Eldora Clash and Saturday's 18th Annual Kings Royal. TNN: The National Network will tape the Kings Royal for a July 28th telecast.