Southern Modified Racing Series driver John Smith knows Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) like the back of his hand. Sure, he had only one prior win before coming into the Fall Spectacular, but his stats showed that it’s his type of track.
In eight starts across all series, Smith has never been lower then ninth and has six top-five runs. Those numbers carried on into this weekend's race and yet it was almost like he was sleeper and the spoiler in the final laps.
“I didn’t think we were that good today after practice, but we made some changes. I could get up off the corner and not bur the tires up. It’s been a while since I have had one like that and it felt good to be strong.”
Smith took the lead with 30 or so laps to go, but he came from fourth to the lead in what seemed like 15 laps, saving his stuff until the end which allowed him to secure his second win of the 2019 season.
“I saw Jason (Myers) in the mirror and I thought 'Oh boy,' but I still had enough at the end to hold him off.”
Fast qualifier Jason Myers drove one of his best races of the season and charged to second, lurking behind Smith when the races only yellow came out with five laps to go. The restart proved to be null and void as Smith got away and Jason Myers was left to fend off his brother Burt for the second spot.
“I kept saying to myself, 'Don’t spin the tires,' and when I went to high gear it almost felt like the clutch went cause the tires were hoping cause we ended up spinning the tires,” said Myers. “I don’t think Smith and I were that much different at speed, I just couldn’t get around them. Congrats to them, they did great tonight. I still want to win and we’ll be back next week.”
Burt Myers ended up third. Tom Buzzie and James Civali made up the rest of the top five.
A lot will be on the line at Caraway Speedway next week as the season long championship will be decided. Smith won four races in 2016 and lost the championship at the final race at Caraway to Burt Myers. Now as Smit and Jeremy Gerstner are squaring off for the title it appears that maybe momentum is on his side for the season finale. However, Gerstner is wanting to complete his three-peat in the SMRS series with a third championship.
A championship will be settled in the 75-lapper on October 19th.
1 John Smith
2 Jason Myers
3 Burt Myers
4 Tom Buzze
5 James Civali
6 Jeremy Gerstner
7 Tim Brown
8 Brandon Ward
9 Jared Fryar
10 Trey Hutchens
11 Chris Finocchario
12 Tommy Neal
13 Bobby Measmer, Jr.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo