Mark Smith Wins USCS Feature at Ocala

Mark Smith. (Sprint Fun photo)

From Pete Walton

OCALA, Fl. (November 11, 20Mark Smith from Sunbury, Pennsylvania raced from the K&N Filters Pole Position into the USCS Victory Lane on Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park in the 3rd annual 2017 United Sprint Car Series Florida State Championship Race 30-lap finale for winged sprint cars. Smith led all thirty circuits around the 3/8 mie semi-banked oval for his first series win. Smith was a surprise unannounced entry on Friday night when he finished a disappointing 21st. He bested a stellar field of 35 entries on Saturday night with drivers from at least ten states entered.

Smith finished ahead of the event’s second night talent laden field including Terry McCarl from Altoona, Iowa, who was the runner-up for the second night in a row in the Championship final. The 2016 and two-time Top Gun Sprints Champion, Matt Kurtz from Jacksonville, Florida followed in the K&N Filters Podium Award third place to represent his home-state in a respectable manner after winning the evening’s Butlerbuilt Third Heat Race. Kurtz was followed across the finish line by veteran National Sprint Car Hall of Famer and 2017 Ohio Sprint Car Series Champion, Danny Smith from Chillicothe, Ohio in fourth place. The previous night’s winner, Trey Starks from Puyallup, Washington, who Championed the inaugural USCS Florida State Championship Race in 2015, charged from fourteenth starting position to complete the top five finishers in the 2017 finale and garner the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.

Brandon, Florida’s A.J. Maddox led the next group in sixth place. Maddox was running in the third position behind Mark Smith and McCarl when he had a right rear tire go flat during the lap eleven red flag period for Mark Ruel’s turn four accident. Maddox went to the pits and got another tire to return to action prior to the re-start at the tail-end of the field to charge back to sixth place. He was followed by home-track hero and 2017 BRP USCS Spring Speed Xplosion prelim winner, Tyler Clem from Tampa, Florida in seventh place. The 2016 USCS Rookie of the Year, 15-year-old Danny Sams III from Northport, Florida followed in eighth place and the 2016 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year and another Ohio traveler, Greg Wilson from Benton Ridge, Ohio was ninth after starting seventeenth. The defending USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour National Champion from Cordova, Tennessee, Morgan Turpen rallied from an eighteenth place starting position to round out the top ten drivers.

Shawn Murray from Jacksonville, Florida kicked off the evening’s winged sprint car action with a win in the USCS Mystery Dash. USCS National points leader, Jordon Mallett bested the six-car, six-lap USCS Hoosier Tire Speed Dash that includes the top six cars from the previous event’s main event finish.

Heat race victories went to Danny Sams III in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat and Mark Smith in the Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat. The Butlerbuilt third heat checkers was claimed by Matt Kurtz. The Schoenfeld Headers fourth heat was won by Mark Ruel, Jr. from Jacksonville, Florida. The fifth and final Pro Shocks heat race was won by young gun A.J. Maddox.

The first of two B-Main wins went to veteran Tampa, Florida racer, Robbie Smith. Jordon Mallett from Greenbrier, Arkansas who is the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour National points leader, won the second B-Main. The K&N Filters Pole Award and pole position was garner by Mark Smith after he earned the most passing points, then had first heat winner Danny Sams III draw a zero in the K&N Filters Pole Award drawing. Trey Starks as previously mentioned earned the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger award after passing nine cars in the main event.

The next USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour event is set for Saturday night November 18th at famed Talladega Short Track a.k.a. the Hornet’s Nest in Eastaboga, Alabama in the season finale for both the series and the track. For info on Talladega Short track PLEASE VISIT WWW.TALLADEGASHORTTRACK.COM For updated schedules and other USCS info please visit or call the series at 770-865-6097.917) —