By Jacob Seelman
Gastonia, NC — (April 9, 2016) — Chillicothe, Ohio’s Danny Smith won a sprint car main event for the 42nd consecutive season on Friday night, taking the lead from a slowing Trey Starks with five laps to go and holding off a hard charging Justin Barger to capture his first career United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters victory at Carolina Speedway.
Smith ran second for most of the race, but was able to take advantage when an ailing motor on the Jeff McCall-owned No. 23 sent Starks pitside and dropped the trophy into his grasp.
“I was settling for second – Starks was gone,” Smith said in www.rockauto.com Victory Lane. “I saw a car pull in off turn four though and I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if that was the leader,’ but I was so busy in traffic that I never knew for sure. I saw the [checkered] flag but I didn’t know it was for me until they told me over the radio to go to victory lane.”
“I’ll take a win any way I can get it though. This makes 42 consecutive years that I’ve won a sprint car A-main, and I’ve always run well in these USCS races but just had never won one before tonight. It’s really good to win one tonight.”
Johnny Bridges led the field to the green flag from the K&N Filters Pole Position, but Starks was ready on the initial start. He soared from top to bottom entering turn one, surging to the inside of Bridges to go from fourth to first in a half-lap. However, the initial start would be called back after a three-car crash – involving Johnny Petrozelle, Joe Larkin and Tim Perry – slowed the pace in turn four.
The second attempt at green saw Bridges get away ahead of a furious scrum for second between Starks, Danny Smith and Terry Gray that saw Starks finally prevail on the third round. From there, it took him only two more laps before the Washington state young gun dispatched Bridges for the lead.
As Starks began to pull away, Smith began to come to life. He passed Bridges for second on lap nine and got the aid of a caution at lap 12, when Perry hit the infield tire in turn two, to close up on the race leader and make a run.
That run would not happen, however, as Starks ran off to a straightaway lead just one lap after the restart. He would extend that to nearly a third of a lap advantage and appear to be on his way to a win at the four-tenths mile oval before the motor went sour.
“We ended up hurting the motor,” the Puyallup, Washington young gun would explain after the race. “It’s just something that happens that you can’t control. We had a great car all race and it looked like we were gonna get one, but it just wasn’t meant to be tonight. That’s racing.”
It opened the door for Smith, who kept Montrose, New York native Barger at bay the rest of the distance to notch the victory. Barger settled for a hard-earned second ahead of Cherryville, North Carolina’s Johnny Bridges, who rounded out the podium in third.
Five-time Carolina Speedway winner Terry Gray, from Bartlett, Tennessee, was fourth ahead of his Cordova, Tennessee teammate Morgan Turpen in fifth.
Hometown and fan favorite Eric Riggins Jr., from Charlotte, N.C., finished sixth and Canadian hotshoe Mitch Brown crossed seventh after making the haul from Brantford, Ontario. Reigning Rookie of the Year Nick Snyder, out of Marco Island, Florida was eighth and fellow Floridian, Ft. Myers native Tony Agin, finished ninth. Cumming, Georgia’s Brandon Taylor – a 2016 USCS rookie contender – rounded out the top 10 at the finish.
Snyder kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and Barger scored the win in the Engler Machine and Tools First Heat. Gray rolled to the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat.
Starks was the provisional polesitter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, but after a four was rolled on the K&N Inversion Die, Bridges received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Mitch Brown started 17th but passed the most cars in the A-main (10) to grab the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N continues their 2015 schedule on Saturday night, April 9 at Lancaster Speedway in Lancaster, S.C.
For rules and updated schedule information about the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.
RESULTS: USCS Sprint Car Series “Carolina Clash”; Carolina Speedway; April 8, 2016
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: Nick Snyder, Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Danny Sams III, Brandon McLain, Brian Thomas.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Justin Barger, Morgan Turpen, Trey Starks, Jake McLain, Nick Snyder, Eric Riggins Jr., Danny Sams III, Tim Perry, Mitch Brown.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Terry Gray, Johnny Bridges, Danny Smith, Tony Agin, Brandon Taylor, Brandon McLain, Johnny Petrozelle, Brian Thomas, Joe Larkin.
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Carolina Clash A-main: 30-laps
- #4 – Danny Smith, Chillicothe, OH
2. #5 – Justin Barger, Montrose, NY
3. #23B – Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
4. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
5. #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
6. #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
7. #10B – Mitch Brown, Brantford, Ont., Canada
8. #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
9. #38 – Tony Agin, Ft. Myers, FL
10. #07T – Brandon Taylor, Cumming, GA
11. #67 – Jake McLain, Indian Trail, NC
12. #24D – Danny Sams III, Georgetown, KY
13. #21B – Brandon McLain, Indian Trail, NC
14. #67T – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
15. #23 – Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA
16. #36 – Tim Perry, Mooresville, NC
17. #33 – Joe Larkin, Suwanee, GA
18. #59III – Johnny Petrozelle, Denton, NC
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #116 – Nick Snyder
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #5 – Justin Barger
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #10 – Terry Gray
K&N Filters Pole Award: #23B – Johnny Bridges
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #23B – Johnny Bridges (3rd place)
Bell Helmets Focus Award: #5 – Justin Barger
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #23B – Johnny Bridges
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Fourth Place Award: #10 – Terry Gray
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #10M – Morgan Turpen
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #10B – Mitch Brown
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #07T – Brandon Taylor
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #10B – Mitch Brown
The United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters would like to gratefully thank its sponsoring partners for their involvement in the 2016 and 20th anniversary USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour: K&N Filters, www.rockauto.com, Engler Machine and Tool, Butlerbuilt, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Saldana Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends. KSE Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, DSR Fuel Systems, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions and Safety-Kleen.