The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Motorsports

September 12, 2011

Smith wins his 2nd Tuscarora 50

PORT ROYAL — From the outset, Stevie Smith had one fast race car.

The son of legendary sprint car driver Steve Smith won his heat, then won the six-lap dash which earned him the pole. He then led all 50 laps to win the 44th Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night. It was his second Tuscarora 50 win, his last coming in 1988.

It’s the 11th time in his career that Smith has won a feature at the track.

Smith wasted no time in pulling away from outside pole sitter Justin Henderson over the opening six laps, until the pair entered lapped traffic on lap seven.

Smith’s lead, which had grown to nearly a half-straightaway, was down to two car lengths by lap eight, which, outside of the restarts, would be as close as Henderson got all night.

“We had a really good race car and that always helps the driver,” Smith said. “Justin’s had a good race car all year and he’s been pretty fast. We just tried to get out into clean air and keep our pace.”

Smith’s father Steve has four wins at Port Royal, including his lone Tuscarora 50 win in 1975.

“We ran out of tire at the end,” Smith added. “We didn’t have much left and 50 laps is a long way for a sprint car, so it was pretty good for a soft tire.”

The race was slowed by two caution periods when Ryan Taylor spun on lap 22 and Brent Marks spun on lap 33.

Following the fuel stop on lap 25, Smith once again took off from the field with Henderson holding down second.

Doug Esh was not far behind Henderson for the majority of the opening 25 laps.

Danny Dietrich started eighth and moved into the top five by lap 10. He would battle with Esh before taking over third on lap 26. He then chased down Henderson and passed him for second on lap 45 and started to reel in race leader Smith over the final five laps.

“We had a lot of blistering on the tires on both the left and right rears,” Dietrich said. “We were saving the whole race.

You have to in a 50-lapper around here, we just ran out of laps.”

Henderson, who did not make last year’s Tuscarora 50 after blowing a tire while running second in the B-main, held on for third in his first 50.

“I hate running second and then backing up to third,” he said. “I wasn’t going to push it in the beginning of the race.”

Esh would hold on for fourth with Mike Wagner finishing fifth.

The fifth-place finish secured Wagner’s second 410 track, his first since 1991. He overcame a 60-point deficit from Taylor to win the title by 15 markers.

Friday night’s Night before the Tuscarora 50, which was to feature twin 20s, was rained out and not rescheduled.

Six though 10 were Todd Shaffer, Daryn Pittman, Lance Dewease, Chad Layton and Greg Hodnett. Heats for the 45 sprint cars went to Smith, Todd Shaffer, T.J. Winegardner, Wagner and Esh. Marks won the B-Main.

Danville’s Jeff Rine won his second straight and third overall model feature at Port Royal Speedway and his third of the season. Rine took the lead on lap two of the 20-lap feature.

“Our car was good tonight,” he said. “We’ve always run good here, but we’ve had some back luck at times.”

Mitch Hack, Bob Dunn, Mike Lupfer and Todd Snook completed the top five. Six through 10 went to Steve Campbell, Andy Haus, Eric Zembower, Chris Casner and Scotty Haus. Heats for the 31 late models went to Matt Parks, Rine and Chad Hollenbeck.

Milton’s Bobby Stokes won the consolation race.

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