Sammy Smith kicked off the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) with a trip to victory lane. Since that night, Smith and his Kyle Busch Motorsports team have struggled to replicate their opening night victory. They hope they have found what it takes to get back on top Wednesday night.
Smith won on opening night last Friday in a 35-lap Super Late Model feature, flexing the same muscle the Iowa racer displayed while winning the 2019 Pro Late Model World Series Championship.
However, the team has struggled at times since then, finishing ninth in Tuesday night’s 50-lap feature. Smith now sits fourth in World Series points, 14 points behind leader Derek Griffith.
The struggles have resulted from searching for better handling on the Super Late Model, which was too loose for Smith’s liking.
“We struggled a little bit last night,” Smith told Speed51. “We were just fighting loose. It was just too loose.”
Smith believes they have solved the handling woes, and it showed on the practice charts on Wednesday afternoon. He placed the No. 51 atop the standings for the final practice session, with a time of 17.959 seconds around the Florida half-mile.
“Today, we really got back to what we needed a little bit,” explained Smith. “I think we’ll have a really good car. We found a lot that we fixed, and got a lot better last night.”
Part of the challenge for racers throughout the week has been adapting to an ever-changing racing surface. Temperatures have increased at New Smyrna throughout the week of racing, and more rubber from various classes and series have been laid upon the track since Friday’s opener.
“The track has just changed so much, with all the different kind of rubber going down. It was so much hotter yesterday, and with the [ARCA] rubber and the Modified rubber, it’s just so much different. It changes the track so much.”
Smith admitted that he and his team have not done a great job adapting to those conditions at times in the week, but feel they are dialed in for Wednesday’s showdown.
“You have to be on top of that. I think we were a little behind on that, but I think we got it back where we needed to be.”
Race fans can follow Speed51’s Trackside Now coverage from Wednesday at New Smyrna Speedway by clicking here.
Fans can also visit Speedweeks Central for updates, news, videos and more from Florida Speedweeks.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Kyler Hope