There was plenty of racing action Oct. 15 at Tony Stewart Speedway when the Columbus Speedway Go-Kart Racing held one of its biggest racing programs of the season at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Brayden Smith won three divisions of racing, capturing feature wins in the Clone Lite, Clone Medium and Clone Heavy classes. Cole Huard won two races, taking first place in the Junior 3 and Pro Purple divisions. Other winners were Connor Perry (rookies), Macy Staton (junior 1), Cash Johnson (junior 2), Buddy Wilson (clone super heavy), Kyle Willis (rwyb) and Brenden McGlothlin (mod lites).
The next-to-last race of the season will be held today with racing starting at 5:30 p.m.
Smith wins Dirt Track World Championship
Garrett Smith picked up the biggest win of his career Oct. 15 at Portsmouth Raceway Park in Portsmouth, Ohio, winning the $100,000 42nd annual General Tire Dirt Track World Championship Presented by Optima Batteries.
Smith at age 19 becomes the youngest driver to ever to win the crown jewel event, which was sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The previous youngest competitor to win the race was Brandon Sheppard at 20 in 2013.
Tim McCreadie, who had already clinched the 2022 LOLMDS championship before the race began, finished second to Smith. Mike Marlar came home in third, followed by Hudson O’Neal and Earl Pearson Jr.
Smith, who started from the pole and was making his first start in the DTWC, took the lead at the start of the race with McCreadie and Brandon Overton in tow. Overton was able to take over the second spot from McCreadie right before the first caution of the race with 13 laps completed.
The top three of Smith, Overton and McCreadie stayed that way until McCreadie regained the second slot on a Lap 89 restart as Overton started to have a tire issue as he slowed a couple of laps later with a flat tire.
With some of the front runners starting to slow with flat tires in the late stages of the race, including Shannon Babb, Overton and Chris Ferguson, that would leave Smith and McCreadie to decide the outcome in the closing laps after Ferguson brought out the last caution for a flat tire with two laps to go.
McCreadie tried in vain to look for an avenue around Smith in the green-white-checker finish, but the teenager kept his cool and crossed the line a little over a second ahead of McCreadie.
Smith, a Georgia native who just graduated from high school in May, became the 27th different driver to win the event. He was emotional in Victory Lane after he climbed from his car after his first career LOLMDS win.
“I have been working so hard to get here, and I finally got it done,” said Smith, who became the 21st different winner this year with the series after he survived a rash of flat tires that happened during the closing laps of the race. “I was just making sure I wasn’t getting (the tires) overheated and going down like happened to those other guys. I was just trying to stay straight there at the end and not wheelspin any. I talked to Scott Bloomquist all week. He’s a really good guy, and I used everything he told me, and I put all of that into play tonight.”
McCreadie, with his second straight LOLMDS championship worth a dirt late model record $150,000, came up just short of his first DTWC win.
“It was tough out there,” McCreadie said. “(Smith) did a great job. Hats off to him. That was a very poised drive for someone his age. They did a phenomenal job. I tried early and thought if I could get in traffic and try to move off the bottom, that was my only shot, and then I fell back and then Brandon (Overton) was on a softer tire than I was, and he just kind of kept me behind him. I hated that I got into him on the restart there. It looked to me like he was having a right rear flat, and he was wheelieing it down the frontstretch, and I had such a good run on him.”
Marlar, who tried to move through the middle of the track to gain some positions, fell back and then with the flat tires suffered by both Overton and Ferguson was able to round out the podium with a third-place finish.
“I was moving around there trying to pass people, and it cost me a few times, and somehow, I fell back into getting third,” Marlar said. “I fell back there quite a bit early trying to pass people. It worked out tonight. It was a good season. It’s always fun to race with Lucas. They have lots of big races and big crowds, and it’s a cool environment, so we always enjoy it. Congrats to Garrett for winning the race and Timmy on a great season with two championships in a row. That’s hard to do, so we’re really proud of him.”
Completing the top 10 were Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens, Ricky Thornton Jr., Daulton Wilson and Brandon Sheppard.
Florence finale set for today
Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky, will bring the 2022 season to a close today with the annual Fall 50.
The on-track action will be highlighted by a $10,000-to-win, $700-to-start, 50-lap feature for Late Models.
Also racing will be full programs for the Modifieds, G&G Express Sport Mods, Adams Core Buyer Hornets and Crown Vics. There are no car entry fees for any division racing this weekend.
A bonus will be awarded to the top three finishers of the Late Model feature, who are utilizing a steel block engine. The top three Steel Block Late Models in tonight’s Fall 50 Late Model feature will receive $250, $150 and $100, respectively. Steel Block Late Models must declare at time of pill draw to be eligible for bonus money.
Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. For information, visit florencespeedway.com.
This week in racing history
From 60 years ago in 1962, the Columbus Go-Kart Club winners were Lee Nichols, Jon Boeschen, Harold Reeves, Bill Ault, Dick Metz and Gerald Reeves.
James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected]