T-MAC HANGS ON FOR $10K NeSMITH CHEVROLET WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE WIN
TAMPA, FL – Tim McCreadie of Watertown, NY held off a last lap charge from Shan Smith of Dade City, FL to win the 100-lap 5th Annual NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series World Championship Race and the $10,000 top prize Saturday night at East Bay Raceway Park driving the Miller Lite Rocket.
McCreadie started the race from the 12th starting spot and quickly moved up to the top five during the opening laps of the race. McCreadie moved into the second spot on lap 19, and then took the lead from Smith on a lap 21 restart, and pulled away until the last few laps of the race.
Smith was able to move up to challenge McCreadie in the last three laps of the race. On the last lap, Smith went to the outside of the leader and pulled up to McCreadie’s door. Smith slid to the high side in turn two, and McCreadie pulled away coming off the second turn. Smith set sail down the backstretch, and caught McCreadie in turn four with the checkered flag in sight.
McCreadie got sideways in turn four right in front of Smith, who had to check up to keep from hitting the leader. Smith tried to make a hard left and go under McCreadie, but the leader regrouped and beat Smith to the checkered flag by less than one second.
“When I saw all the flash bulbs go off in turn one on the last lap, I knew somebody was out there (on the outside),” McCreadie said. “Then I got sideways in turn four coming down to the checkered flag, but Shan raced me clean. He could have turned me for $10,000, but he didn’t, and I really respect him for that.”
Smith settled for second in the Seckman Fire Sprinklers TNT, just short of posting a clean sweep of the event. On Friday night, Smith turned in the overall fast time among the 60 entrants with a lap around the 1/3-mile clay oval in 15.946 seconds, and then won the first of six 20-lap heat races to earn the pole position for the race.
“I think I messed up trying to go to the outside in turn one on the final lap,” Smith said. “If would have waited until the last two turns, I know I would have been in a better position to pass McCreadie for the win. I was just too close to him when he got sideways, and all I could do was get on the brakes. I could have turned him, but I don’t race that way, not even for $10,000.”
Mike Pegher Jr. of Wexler, PA finished third in the Pegher Painting Rocket, and Steve Francis of Ashland, KY came back from an early race spin to take the fourth spot in the Adams Used Auto Parts Rocket. East Bay Raceway Park 2009 Track Champion Jeff Matthews of Dover, FL was fifth in the Night Hawk Towing Warrior.
The 2006 World Championship Race Winner Randy Korte of Highland, IL finished sixth in the Kehrer Brothers Roofing Rocket, and National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN drove the Miller Brothers Coal Mastersbilt to a seventh-place finish.
Rodney Melvin of Benton, IL was eighth in the Rick’s Towing Rayburn. Chris McElhenney of Lake, MS finished ninth in the G&M Trucking GRT, and Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, WV rounded out the top ten in the Adams Used Auto Parts Warrior.
The race was caution-filled during the first half of the race, with 14 of the 16 total caution flags coming out before lap 46. The “Delaware” style double-file restarts made for multiple position changes, as drivers ran in the top ten early, but then fell back as drivers moved through the field.
Smith took the lead at the drop of the green flag followed by Matthews, Pegher, Johnson, and the 2009 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Eric Cooley of Fulton, MS in the 78 Towing and Recovery Victory Circle. With 28 cars starting the main event, Smith was working lapped traffic by lap nine.
Pegher got by Matthews for the second spot on lap 11, and McCreadie had advanced from his 12th starting spot to the sixth position by lap 14. Francis was running in the top ten when he spun in turn one on lap 17 to bring out the first caution flag. Smith led Pegher, Matthews, Johnson, Cooley, McCreadie, and two-time NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National Champion David Gentry of Lewisburg, TN down for the restart.
McCreadie got busy on the restart, as he passed both Cooley and Johnson to move up to the fourth spot. A lap 18 restart saw T-Mac pass Matthews for the third spot. McCreadie used the next restart on lap 19 to pass Pegher for the second spot. A lap 20 caution flag saw McCreadie line-up behind Smith for the restart followed by Pegher, Johnson, Matthews and Gentry.
The restart saw McCreadie get by Smith for the lead, while Matthews and Gentry in the Turner Excavating DWB moved around Johnson to take over the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Pegher was able to pass Smith for the second spot on a lap 26 restart, while McCreadie began to pull away.
Matthews dropped back to the seventh spot on the lap 26 restart, while Randy Weaver of Crossville, TN charged up to the top six after starting the Glen’s Auto Parts Weaver from the 19th starting spot. Matthews passed Weaver and Johnson on lap 39 to move back up to the fifth spot.
Smith moved back into position to challenge for the win on a lap 41 restart when he passed Pegher for the second spot. A caution flag on lap 42 set up some major position changes among the top ten. McCreadie led Smith, Pegher, Matthews, Gentry, Johnson, Weaver, Korte, Bryan Bernhardt of Clearwater, FL and Stacy Roberts of Sylvester, GA down for the restart.
Roberts spun the Sunbelt Ford Rocket in turn one on the restart while running tenth. That moved Francis back into the top ten for the next restart. When the green flag came out, Gentry spun in turn four out of the fifth spot. That moved Melvin into the top ten. Weaver spun out of the sixth spot in turn one on the next restart.
After the next restart, Pegher got by Smith for the second spot, while Johnson and Bernhardt in the B&B Precision Mowing Rocket locked up coming off the fourth turn on lap 43 while battling for the fifth spot. The two cars slowed and separated, but it caused a chain reaction multi-car pile-up behind them to bring out another caution flag.
McCreadie led Pegher, Smith, Matthews, Korte, Melvin, Francis, Larry Boutwell of Baker, FL in the McLeod Construction Rocket, Johnson and Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, SC in the Cherokee Landscaping Barry Wright down for the restart. Boutwell spun in turn one on lap 44 while running eighth to bring out the caution flag.
The top ten for the lap 44 restart saw McCreadie leading Pegher, Smith, Matthews, Korte, Francis, Melvin, Johnson, McElhenney, and Horton. Francis moved into the top five by passing Korte on lap 48, and then ten laps later, the “Kentucky Colonel” got around Matthews for the fourth spot.
Smith moved into the second spot by passing Pegher on a lap 88 restart after the final caution flag of the race. Smith chased down McCreadie in the last ten laps of the race. McCreadie had not seen a serious challenge since he took the lead on lap 21, but business picked up on lap 100, as the packed house rose to their feet.
There were two windows of opportunity for Smith on the final lap, once in turn one when he went to the outside of McCreadie, and the final one in turn four when he tried to get inside the leader who slid sideways. McCreadie gathered up his car just in time to scoot away from Smith for the win.
In Friday night preliminary action, the six 20-lap heat races were won by Smith, Matthews, Johnson, Pegher, Roberts, and Cooley. The three 20-lap B-Main races on Saturday night were won by Weaver, Jason McBride of Carbondale, IL in the J.R. McBride, Inc. Rocket, and Greg Satterlee of Indiana, PA in the ZeroWraps.com Rocket.
Michigan Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductee Roger Wing of Middleton, MI picked up an extra $500 from Race Car Engineering of Lakeland, FL by winning the six-lap RaceCarEng.com Non-Qualifiers Race driving the North Star Recovery and Towing Larry Shaw.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF THE 5TH ANNUAL NeSMITH CHEVROLET DLMS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE AT EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK IN TAMPA, FL ON 12/11-12/09:
POS STRT CAR #
DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $
HEAT RACES (20 Laps – Top 3 Transfer To Main Event):
1ST HEAT: 1. Smith; 2. Gentry; 3. Franklin; 4. Weaver; 5. J. Peacock; 6. Ford; 7. Morrow; 8. Varnadore; 9. Steven Roberts; 10. Buckingham.
2ND HEAT: 1. Matthews; 2. Horton; 3. Bernhardt; 4. McBride; 5. Kehrer; 6. Watson; 7. Cochran; 8. Gillman; 9. Peeples
3RD HEAT: 1. Johnson; 2. Francis; 3. Korte; 4. McElhenney; 5. Cobb; 6. Turner; 7. English; 8. Mathis; 9. W. Williams; 10. Cook.
4TH HEAT: 1. Pegher; 2. Rodney Wing; 3. Melvin; 4. Walters; 5. T. Erskine; 6. W. Peacock; 7. Lee; 8. Santel; 9. F. Erskine; 10. Winge.
5TH HEAT: 1. Stacy Roberts; 2. Holtgraver; 3. Reutimann; 4. Roger Wing; 5. Minga; 6. Boutwell; 7. McRee; 8. Henderson; 9. D. Williams; 10. Connor.
6TH HEAT: 1. Cooley; 2. McCreadie; 3. Brindle; 4. Satterlee; 5. Pollen; 6. Force; 7. Hitt; 8. Compton; 9. Rainey; 10. Heck.
B-MAIN RACES (20 Laps – Top 2 Transfer To Main Event):
1ST B-MAIN: 1. Weaver; 2. J. Peacock; 3. Walters; 4. Lee; 5. W. Peacock; 6. Winge; 7. Buckingham; 8. Varnadore; 9. F. Erskine; 10. Santel; 11. Morrow; 12. T. Erskine; 13. Ford; 14. Steven Roberts.
2ND B-MAIN: 1. McBride; 2. Kehrer; 3. Roger Wing; 4. McRee; 5. Cochran; 6. Boutwell; 7. Watson; 8. Minga; 9. Peeples; 10. Henderson; 11. Gillman; 12. D. Williams DNS; 13. Connor DNS.
3RD B-MAIN: 1. Satterlee; 2. McElhenney; 3. Force; 4. English; 5. Cobb; 6. Hitt; 7. Mathis; 8. Rainey; 9. Cook; 10. Turner; 11. Heck; 12. W. Williams; 13. Pollen; 14. Compton DNS.
RACE CAR ENGINEERING NON-QUALIFIERS RACE: 1. Roger Wing; 2. Walters; 3. Force; 4. English; 5. Lee; 6. McRee.