Smith Defends Iowa Classic Championship By Richard Day KNOXVILLE, IA (June 30) -- Stevie Smith has ridden an emotional roller-coaster at Knoxville Raceway in the last year. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 1990 Rookie of the...
Smith Defends Iowa Classic Championship
By Richard Day
KNOXVILLE, IA (June 30) -- Stevie Smith has ridden an emotional roller-coaster at Knoxville Raceway in the last year.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 1990 Rookie of the Year exchanged the lead with Donny Schatz three times in the final four laps to win the Iowa Classic last July 1st, but failed to qualify for the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals main event six weeks later.
Smith's fortunes spiraled skyward again Saturday when he claimed the $25,000 first prize and successfully defended his Iowa Classic championship. TNN: The National Network televised the action live.
"I really appreciate Knoxville Raceway putting up the extra money and bringing TNN in here," Smith said following the third victory of his career at Knoxville Raceway. "I'd really like to get a Knoxville Nationals win. This is a great track, and being here (in victory lane) would mean so much when we come back from the Nationals.
"This just goes to show how anything can happen at the Nationals. We won this race last year, then came to the Nationals and missed the show. Hopefully, we'll do better this year."
Smith, who finished fourth in Friday's Preliminary Feature, started Saturday's 40-lap main event outside the third row. He patiently drove his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Maxim to the front of the field, and passed Jeff Shepard for the lead midway through the race en route to his second "A" Feature victory of the season.
Preliminary Feature winner Danny Lasoski won the CHANNELLOCK Dash for the right to start the championship feature on the pole. He burst into the lead as the green flag fell and eventually finished second to regain first place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series standings.
Smith raced past Schatz, Paul McMahan and fast-qualifier Joey Saldana while Steve Kinser challenged Lasoski for the lead during the opening lap.
Kinser, who has won 30 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features at Knoxville Raceway, steered his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the high groove in the second corner to pass "The Dude" for the lead early in the fourth lap.
Jeff Shepard, who started outside the fourth row, joined the battle for first place two laps later. Kinser, Lasoski and Shepard raced wheel-to-wheel through turn four, with "The Dude" taking the lead and Shepard passing Kinser for second place.
Shepard drove six-time Knoxville Raceway champion Guy Forbrook's #5 Wirtgen Maxim past Lasoski high in the second corner two laps later. Shepard was 1.8 seconds ahead of Lasoski when he entered lapped traffic early in the 10th lap. Smith passed Kinser for third place with a high move through turn two several seconds later.
Saldana was challenging Kinser for fourth midway through the 12th lap when they collided on the back straightaway. Kinser flipped in the third corner, bringing out the red flag. "The King of the Outlaws" restarted at the rear of the field after his crew -- with help from many other teams -- repaired the damaged #11.
Smith won a back-stretch drag race with Lasoski to take over second place as the race resumed. Kinser's broken front axle forced him to stop in turn four late in the 20th lap.
Smith took the high line through the first and second corners to pass Shepard for the lead as the green flag replaced the yellow.
Craig Dollansky, who used a provisional for the second straight night, drove Karavan Racing's #7 Polydome Maxim past 18 cars in the first 20 laps. He followed 20th-starting Tim Shaffer past 1995 Knoxville Raceway champion Johnny Herrera within seconds after Smith took over first place.
"The Dude" beat Shepard down the back straightaway to claim the runner-up spot midway through the 26th lap. Smith entered lapped traffic with a 2.3-second advantage two laps later.
Shepard surrendered fifth place when he stopped in turn four with a flat right rear tire late in the 34th lap. A flat left rear tire forced Sammy Swindell to stop in the fourth corner two laps later.
Smith opened a 1.2-second advantage by the 38th lap and took the checkered flag with 1.8 seconds to spare. The victory pushed him into 10th place in the point standings.
"I ran a little harder tire tonight, and once I got the lead I thought 'just back off a little and make sure you hit the bottom -- don't miss your line,'" Smith said.
"These Goodyear tires sure did the job tonight. We've stuck with them all year long, and they're getting things straightened out and getting us some really good tires."
Shaffer finished in third place, ahead of Herrera, Dollansky, Hillenburg, Saldana, Mark Kinser, 18th-starting Brad Furr and McMahan.
Defending Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals champion Mark Kinser entered Saturday's openwheelracing.com feature program tied with "The Dude" for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points lead. He raced into eighth place from outside the 12th row to keep Lasoski from opening more than a 12-point advantage.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will run a $51,600 event at Huset's Speedway Tuesday, then sanction the Fourth Annual Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, ND, Thursday through Saturday. TNN: The National Network will televise Friday's race live, starting at 9 p.m. (EDT).