Story by John Rittenoure
South Coffeyville, Oklahoma (May 5, 2012) – For Danny Smith Saturday night’s Oil Capital Racing Series run to the “Goodyear Tire & Rubber Championship” event at Mid-America Speedway marked a new beginning.
Smith last visited victory lane on August 14, 2010 at Lawton Speedway. But the year that followed was full of obstacles. Smith was injured in the 2010 season finale at Enid Speedway then an off track accident forced him to miss five shows in 2011.
But Saturday night Smith served notice he was back leading the final six laps of the 25-lap feature to post his first OCRS victory in 29 events.
However a pair of young drivers were making their presence known and appeared on the verge of a 1-2 finish. Fred Mattox started on the pole after winning his heat and the pole dash. Young Terry Easum, who was making his first OCRS start since July 2010, ran second in the dash and started the main event outside front row next to Mattox.
When the green dropped on the third OCRS event of 2012 Mattox quickly checked out with the early lead over Easum in second. But inexperience caught up with Mattox nine laps into the 25-lapper. Mattox found himself facing lapped traffic and made contact with Jeremy Allen in turn three. The two became locked together and spun to a stop forcing a yellow. That gave Esaum the lead while Mattox made a pass through the pits and returned to the rear of the lineup.
When the race resumed Easum took his turn setting the pace as defending series champion Sean McClelland was battling for second. Smith, who started seventh, was on the move and finally got past McClelland and set his sights on Easum. On lap 19 Smith saw his opportunity and gassed his Same Day Auto number 5$ under Easum to take a lead he would not give up.
“It was slick down low and they were sliding up,” Smith said of the track conditions that made it tough to run down low. “I just adjusted my line accordingly.”
Smith’s patience paid off not only with a victory but moved him into the series points lead over three-time champion Jamie Passmore who had swept the first two events and built up a 44-point lead. Passmore was forced to run the B feature after a very slick track in the heat races left him with a seventh place finish. The former champ worked his way to a third place transfer finish behind B winner Whit Gastineau and second place Kyle Clark to earn the final A feature starting position. But after nine laps Passmore had to pit and was not allowed to return. He was credited with a 20th place finish.
When the checkered finally fell McClelland was running in second leaving Easum with a very respectable third place finish. Brian McClelland finished fourth after starting eighth and Casey Wills rounded out the top five. It was a great run for Wills who won the second heat and ran third in the dash to earn a second row inside starting position in the main.
The next OCRS event is Saturday, May 12, at Oklahoma Sports Park in Ada for the Harold Leep, Jr. Memorial.
Oklahoma Sports Park: www.oklahomasportspark.com
Heat winners were:
M&W Aluminum Heat: Fred Mattox
Bob Hurley Auto Family Heat: Casey Wills
Drive Shafts Inc. Heat: Alex Sewell
Car & Fleet Parts Heat:Tim Kent
AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories “Hard Charger” recipient went to Johnny Kent
Wesmar Racing Engines B-Feature winner: Whit Gastineau.
Grand Prix Auto, Lightning Wings, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Schoenfeld Mufflers, Brodix Cylinders and PM-Pro are sponsors who also contribute to the OCRS sprint car series.
Race date: May 5, 2012 – Event 3
M&W Aluminum Heat 1: 1, Fred Mattox. 2, Rafe Essary. 3, Russell Boren. 4, Kevin Cummings. 5, Kyle Clark. 6, David Stephenson. 7, Len Larkin.
Bob Hurley Auto Family Heat 2: 1, Casey Wills. 2, Danny Smith. 3, Shayla Waddell. 4, Jeremy Allen. 5, Beau Gastineau. 6, Josh Toho. 7, Jamie Passmore.
Drive Shafts, Inc. Heat 3: 1, Alex Sewell. 2, Terry Easum. 3, Sean McClelland. 4, Johnny “Hotrod” Kent. 5, Whit Gastineau. 6, Daniel Rogers. 7, Rob Hooper.
Car & Fleet Parts Heat 4: 1, Tim Kent. 2, Brian McClelland. 3, Frank Sudduth. 4, Kenneth Walker. 5, Colton Brewer. 6, Layne Himebaugh. 7, Michael Bookout.
Pole Dash: 1, Fred Mattox. 2, Terry Easum. 3, Casey Wills. 4, Sean McClelland. 5, Alex Sewell. 6, Tim Kent.
Wesmar B Feature: 1, Whit Gastineau. 2, Kyle Clark. 3, Jamie Passmore. 4, Josh Toho. 5, Colton Brewer. 6, Layne Himebaugh. 7, Beau Gastineau. 8, Michael Bookout. 9, Rob Hooper. 10, Len Larkin. 11, David Stephenson. 12, Daniel
A Feature: 1, Danny Smith. 2, Sean McClelland. 3, Terry Easum. 4, Brian McClelland. 5, Casey Wills. 6, Johnny “Hotrod” Kent. 7, Tim Kent. 8, Rafe Essary. 9, Kyle Clark. 10, Whit Gastineau. 11, Alex Sewell. 12, Shayla Waddell. 13, Josh Toho. 14, Frank Sudduth. 15, Kevin Cummings. 16, Kenneth Walker. 17, Fred Mattox. 18, Jeremy Allen. 19, Russell Boren. 20, Jamie Passmore.
Car Count: 28.
AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories Hard Charger: Johnny Kent.