Mark Smith Takes Thrilling National Open Prelim Mechanicsburg, PA (October 1, 2004) Mark Smith held off Fred Rahmer and Donny Schatz on the last lap to win the World of Outlaws 25 lap preliminary feature Friday night to kick off the Cleveland ...
Mark Smith Takes Thrilling National Open Prelim
Mechanicsburg, PA (October 1, 2004) Mark Smith held off Fred Rahmer and Donny Schatz on the last lap to win the World of Outlaws 25 lap preliminary feature Friday night to kick off the Cleveland Brothers Williams Grove National Open. The victory was Smith's first of his entire season, and his first with the World of Outlaws.
Smith took the pole position in the A feature by winning the first Dash. The Newville, PA driver jumped to the lead on the opening lap, but Fred Rahmer muscled underneath Smith to take the lead at the end of the front stretch. Rahmer held a six-length lead over Smith, but as the field entered heavy lap traffic on lap eight, Smith caught up to Rahmer and began to challenge for the lead.
On lap 11, Smith found his opening and took the lead from Rahmer on the backstretch. Smith said after the race that negotiating lapped traffic was difficult. "I just wanted to get though (the traffic) or stay smooth behind them," Smith said in the post-race interview. "We were lapping some good cars as the race went along, and they were running almost the same speed we were."
Smith held on to the lead, as Donny Schatz and his #15 Parker Store J&J grabbed second place from Rahmer on the outside of turn two with three laps remaining. Schatz and Rahmer closed in on Smith, and on the final lap, it was three-wide racing for the win. Schatz looked like he was going to take the win as they came out of turn four, but Smith moved down and took away Schatz's inside line to take the win. Rahmer nipped Schatz at the line to take second. Steve Kinser's #11 Quaker State Maxim took fourth, with Greg Hodnett coming in for fifth.
"This is awesome!" Smith exclaimed. "This is a prelim, but it's pretty special to me because it's Williams Grove and because we haven't won a race here this year, and it's nice to do it this way." Smith dedicated his win to the family of Kevin Gobrecht, who died in a crash in 1999. "I want to dedicate this win to the Gobrecht family. Kevin used to drive this car, and I'm proud to drive it now. Some people might say I drive like him. I just hope we can keep it going tomorrow."