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Walker's woes help Smith win wild Outlaws event

May 22, 2000|By NICOLE MILLER / Staff Correspondent

Stevie Smith is getting all the accolades that should have gone to Tyler Walker.

Walker had every indication that he was driving the dominant car in last weekend's Pennzoil World of Outlaws' two-day event at Hagerstown Speedway. That is, until fate got in the way.

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Everything that could go wrong for Walker did, allowing Smith to beat the pack out of a restart caused by Walker's woes Sunday before holding off hard-charging Mark Kinser for his second victory of the season.

"He (Kinser) was right there and I knew it," Smith said. "I was trying to use up the race track like we all do so I got a little loose at the end ... I was just glad to hang on and win it."

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Somehow, it should have been Walker basking in the limelight of victory, though.

Walker, whose car caught fire Saturday, held the fastest qualifying time with a 15.047 seconds Sunday on Hagerstown's wet, slippery track.

What seemed like a promising start to Walker's day almost ended when he flipped his car over the guard rail and off the track in the second dash race. Luckily, Walker was unhurt and somehow his crew was able to get his car up and running to make a start in the seventh position in the "A" Main feature.

But in the first turn of the first lap, Walker's axle appeared to break, sending him crashing into the wall almost in the same spot where he flipped over the rail.

He was unable to finish, opening the door for Smith.

Joey Saldana finished third.

The rain and wet weather of the weekend took its toll on the field.

Danny Lasoski had trouble on lap 8 when he went into the wall and was hit by Donny Schatz. Fred Rahmer, who had no where to go, smashed into Schatz and flipped his No. 77 car over coming to rest back on his wheels.

Friday's rain gave the Outlaw drivers a tacky track surface for Saturday's race. Jac Haudenschild scored the fastest qualifying time of 14.985 seconds, just short of Kinser's Hagerstown track record of 14.945.

"The track's real nice right now, real tacky," Haudenschild said. "It's going to be a good hard race."

Walker held the pole for the first heat race but had to drop out when his car caught fire on the fifth lap. Danny Wood, in the Pepsi 21W car, caught an edge in turn 2 on lap 6 and flipped his car over the guard rail, coming to rest in the trees outside the track.

Greg Hodnett took the checkered and Haudenschild was second.

Todd Gracey led most of the first Channel Lock Dash but it was his hopes that were dashed when he blew an engine on the sixth lap. He continued to lead but was finally passed by dash winner Sammy Swindell on the final lap and had to settle for second.

After an hour rain delay, Hodnett, who missed five weeks with a broken shoulder, won the dash and the pole for the "A" Main Feature with Haudenschild taking second.

The feature started with a four-car pileup on the first lap, bringing out a yellow flag and an open red flag period while the wreckage was cleared. Two of the drivers involved, Christi Passmore and Lance Blevins, were out of the race.

On the restart, Hodnett jumped out from the pack and held a comfortable lead over Kinser while Schatz and Smith battled for third. Smith finally passed Schatz on lap 13 to take over the third spot.

Tim Schaffer drew the second yellow of the race on lap 14 after he faltered and lost two tires on the front straightaway.

The field closed on Hodnett's lead as the lineup was stacked and re-racked to complete the final six laps. Hodnett was able to hold off Kinser, last year's points champion, for his fourth Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series A victory.

"I could hear him behind me but really didn't know which way to go," Hodnett said. "Thank goodness God was looking down on me and brought us home.

Smith finished third.

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