Monday, May 23, 2016
Mark Smith Takes Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint Checkers at Outlaw Speedway
Smith, teaming up with car owner Patrick Vigneault, dominated the 25-lap event on Friday night at the Outlaw Speedway. Smith got the lead early and never looked back on his way to his fifth career series win of his career in the NAPA Auto Parts Tour of the U.S. main-event. The victory was worth $2,275.
“This is pretty cool,” said Smith after the win. “I’m starting to figure out this dirt. This stuff is so much different than what we are used to. Tonight was a little tackier than normal but it was still slick.”
Shawn Donath opened the race leading the first lap from the outside of the front row. He worked by Larry Kelleher on the top of the speedway to take the lead. Before a second lap could be completed Sammy Reakes IV, Paulie Colagiovanni and Denny Peebles got together causing Peebles to get over on his side. All drivers were okay.
Donath was back in command when action resumed jumping in front while Smith made his move on the restart. In two laps Smith was able to go from fourth after starting eighth up to the runner-up spot on lap four.
Smith was closing on Donath once he got to traffic on lap seven. He stalked Donath waiting for his opportunity to make a move on by. Smith never had to make that move as Donath slowed on lap nine surrendering the lead and bringing out the caution.
“I was waiting on traffic to get him messing up and I was going to take advantage of that, but I didn’t have to,” commented Smith. “Something broke on his car and I hate to see that happen. I would have liked to fight it out with him instead of him breaking.”
From there Smith was in command of the race. He bolted away from the field as Jared Zimbardi and Jason Barney both tried the wrestle the lead away from him. Smith ran the middle groove while his challengers kept trying to work the inner part of the speedway.
Smith got to traffic on lap 15 and he began using whichever lane he had to in order to navigate his way through lapped cars. Whether it was high or low it didn’t seem to be of much difference for Smith as his car was able to make the transition.
“Traffic wasn’t that bad as long they didn’t change lanes every lap and stayed where they are supposed to,” he said. “It wasn’t so bad.”
By lap 20 Smith was solidly out in front in heavy traffic while Zimbardi, Barney and now Steve Poirier were waging a three car battle for the second spot. The three swapped slides jobs while making moves through slower traffic to gain the advantage.
At the checkers it was Smith by a healthy margin with Bradford, Pa., driver Zimbardi taking home the second position. Zimbardi won the last Empire Super Sprint event back in 2014. He was strong throughout but just couldn’t get close enough to muster a challenge on Smith.
“The car was really good again to be able to come from tenth to second,” said Zimbardi. “I think if we could have had some clean air we would have been alright, but that is how it goes sometimes. Black Rock (Outlaw Speedway) has been pretty good to us so we are happy with a second tonight.”
Poirier ended up third after struggling early in the main-event. He found something on the top allowing him to get into the mix near the conclusion of the race battling with Zimbardi and Poirier.
“I was going nowhere at the beginning so I thought it was going to be a long night,” said the six-time champion. “When the car got less fuel in it the car started performing better. I got racing with Jason (Barney) and Jared (Zimbardi) and it was a lot of fun. In the past I didn’t like racing here but that was the most fun I’ve had on a race track.
Barney ended up falling back and finishing in the fourth position with Jonathan Preston, of Romulus, N.Y., having one of his strongest Empire Super Sprint finishes as he completed the top five.
ESS/Outlaw Notes: The make up date from the April 22 rain out proved very successful with a huge 36 car field…Making first ever ESS starts were Josh Azzi, Dan Kuhn, Brandon Kidd and Nick Cooper…For Azzi it was a night he like to forget as he flipped wildly during hot laps, he walked away…Steve Collins turned fast time on hot lap group 1 but a magneto issue forced him on the sidelines for the night…Smith claimed $200 for taking the 7-12 Challenge, he started in eighth…Memorial Weekend will see two big events with a $3,000 to win, $300 to start A-Main at Thunder Mountain and then a $2,000 to win event at Utica-Rome.
Lucas Oil A-Main 25 Laps – Mark Smith ($2,275), Jared Zimbardi($1,025), Steve Poirier ($825), Jason Barney ($705), Jonathan Preston ($565), Parker Evans ($660), George Suprick ($505), Bryan Howland ($470), Tommy Wickham ($485), Larry Kelleher ($425), Chad Miller ($510), Paul Kinney ($145), Sammy Reakes IV ($350), Keith Granholm ($290), Dave Axton ($285), Tim Axton ($280), Ryan Kissinger ($325), Matt Tanner ($270), Mike Walter ($315), Pete Richardson ($260), Mike Stelter ($305), Shawn Donath ($250), Paulie Colagiovanni ($75), Tyler Graves ($250), James Hanson ($450), Denny Peebles ($250)
Did Not Qualify – Steve Glover, Daryl Ruggles, Josh Azzi, Dan Bennett, Dan Kuhn, Jeff Cook, Rob Dietrick, Nick Cooper, Brandon Kidd, Steve Collins
Lap Leaders – Shawn Donath 1-8, Smith 9-25
Car Mate Trailers Heat 1 – Kelleher, Granholm, D. Axton, Hanson, Graves
Car Mate Trailers Heat 2 – Howland, Stelter, Evans, Miller, Richardson
Car Mate Trailers Heat 3 – Barmey, Donath, Poirier, Suprick, Reakes IV
Car Mate Trailers Heat 4 – Zimbardi, Preston, Smith, Kissinger, Peebles
Lane’s Yamah/Cobra Coaches Dash – Miller, Suprick, Hanson, Kissinger
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main -. Walter, T. Axton, Tanner, Wickham
Provisonal – Kinney, Colagiovanni
Pitre Painting/Cobra Coaches Dash - Miller ($125), Suprick ($75), Hanson ($50),
Insinger Fuels Hard Charger - Wickham (15 pos.) $50
Engler Machine and Tool Halfway - Smith $50
E&V Energy - Barney $50, Reakes IV $50
Lacaillade Masonry - Walter $50
Ohsweken Speedway 21st Anniversary - Stelter $50
Fondations 55 Pick 5 - Preston $35
Beard Sewer and Drain Best Time - Collins, Smith, Poirier, Howland $25
Car Mate Trailers Heats – Kelleher, Howland, Barney, Zimbardi $25
911 Restoration – Wickham, Miller $25
Lucas Oil ESS 7-12 Challenge - Smith - $200 - $100 at Thunder Mtn, May 28.
Hoosier Tires - Hanson $200
Vahlco Wheels - Evans $190.
For more Information on the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints:
Android App: Empire Super Sprints
The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints are brought to you by: Lucas Oil, Mach 1 Chassis, Einstein Construction Group, SUNY Canton, NAPA Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tires, Donath Motorworx, Insinger Performance, Car Mate Trailers, Fondations 4 Saisons, Beard Sewer and Drain, Cobra Coaches, 911 Restoration, Westward Painting Company, Fondations 55, E&V Energy, Panther Frameworx, YorkMont Auctions,, Engler Machine and Tool, Northwood 2 Construction, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Lacaillade Masonry, FX Chevy, ASI Racewear and many, many associate sponsors!