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Mark Smith Claims Speedweek Finale

FRANKLIN, Pa. — Mark Smith debuted a new car for Western Pennsylvania Speedweek. He had some bad luck in the early rounds but got everything sorted out for the finale at Tri-City Raceway Park.

He led all 30 laps to get the $3,000 win. A.J. Flick, who finished fourth, clinched his second straight Western Pennsylvania Speedweek championship.

Also scoring wins were Ayden Cipriano in the Pitt Stop Pub 358 Modifieds, Tyler Wyant in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and Matt Urey in the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks. It was the second win for each of those drivers this season at Tri-City Raceway Park.

 “I didn’t know what this place would be. It’s probably been twenty years since I’ve been here,” Smith said. “We had some tough luck this week. We stuck it out through the bad, and now we have something to celebrate,” Smith added. The builder of teh Mach 1 Chassis explained further that “this was a new car and we tried some new stuff. I think we are onto something.”

Mark Smith and Cody Bova brought the field to the starting line in turn four for the thirty-lap finale of the Western Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek. Bob Felmlee and Matt Farnham were in the second row, followed by Blaze Myers and Michael Bauer. Ryan Smith and Zane DeVault occupied row four. The fifth row matched Brandon Spithaler and Jack Sodeman Jr. Row six contained two of Western PA’s best, A.J. Flick and Carl Bowser. Dan Kuriger and Greg Wilson were sitting in row seven when the green flag waved.

Mark Smith blasted into the lead at the drop of the green, but Cody Bova remained close. Bob Felmlee raced along in third, ahead of Blaze Myers, Jack Sodeman Jr., Matt Farnham, and Ryan Smith.

Smith built upon his lead as the laps clicked off. By lap twelve, he had amassed an advantage of 6.2 seconds over Bova. But, a caution for Myers wiped that out. Myers, in just his third 410 start, was racing in the top five at the time that he spun between turns one and two.

Smith led the way again after that caution, but another one bunched the field again just one lap later. Bodey McClintock sustained front end damage and required a hook.

On the restart, Mark Smith got away cleanly, but Bova stumbled when the green light came on. Ryan Smith, who had climbed up to third before the caution, thought that he could have pounced, but he held back rather than risking a penalty that could have spelled disaster in his quest for another Speedweek title. 

Mark Smith completed the second half of the race without incident. Bova held on for second despite the engine problem. Ryan Smith was third, but his championship rival, Flick, was right behind him. Completing the top five was Zane DeVault. 

“It was difficult,” said the new two-time champion, Flick. “I chose to save a car in the heat race, it was the safest thing to do so we would have a chance in the feature.” Flick thus missed the redraw which may have made his task easier in the feature. He had a simple strategy in the big race. “I wanted to keep that 6 car (Ryan Smith) in check. I needed to be within seven spots behind him.” Flick was in range, but he made a bold move on the second restart, passing three cars to get right behind his challenger. He kept Smith within sight the rest of the way to pick up the $3,000 bonus.

The finish:

Mark Smith, Cody Bova, Ryan Smith, A.J. Flick, Zane DeVault, Brandon Matus, Brandon Spithaler, Bob Felmlee, Michael Bauer, Dan Kuriger, Matt Farnham, Carl Bowser, Blaze Myers, Greg Wilson, Denny Peebles, Andy Cavanaugh, Brett Brunkenhoefer, Cameron Nastasi, Brent Matus, Steve Bright, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Bodey McClintock, John Walp, Kyle Colwell (DNS).