Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dave Smith's Bi-Mart 125 Race Notes

Portland International Raceway is one of the oldest tracks in the country and is one of the few located right in the city.  Although I have run several events in sports cars at Portland, I have never had the opportunity to run NASCAR at the track.  Last week, out of nowhere I received a phone call from a car owner and long time veteran of the sport, Dick Midgley.  

Dick needed a driver for his car when Patrick Long, last year's winner at Portland, was unable to make it to the race due to scheduling conflicts.  Dick called a few NASCAR officials for driver recommendations and they mentioned that they thought I could do a good job in the race.  I was thrilled when the team asked me to drive, what they said, was a competitive race car.  With just a few days before the event, we scrambled to get prepared. Unlike any other series, racing Nascar on a road course is the equivalent of gorilla warfare except with 3400lb 700 horsepower race cars.  

Full Story

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top Five Finish In Portland

Dave Smith finished fifth in the Bi-Mart Salute To The Troops NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race Sunday at Portland International Raceway.  We will be posting details and comments from Dave soon.

Race details from NASCAR

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bi-Mart salute to the troops 125 Practice

Dave Smith checks in: "I didn't get the valuable practice time today in the March Of Dimes Dick Midgley/SNT Motorsports car due to unforseen mechanical issues. My crew is amazing and the car felt fast. We aren't going to let this get us down and look forward to a great qualifying session tomorrow".

Photos coming soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dave Smith in Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125

Dave Smith is set to race the #88 Dick Midgley Racing entry SNT Motorsports March of Dimes Chevrolet in the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125. Portland International Raceway - July 24.  We will be posting updates during the race.

More information @ Portland NASCAR

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dave Smith On The Thunder Valley Casino 200

What was it like to race in the Thunder Valley Casino 200 NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway?  Imagine driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe on a hot summer day in heavy traffic at 100 mph, having contact the entire time and no room to maneuver.  It’s two hours of work, fun, frustration, patience, accomplishment, and luck.  That being said, it was one of the the hardest races I have ever done and the most fun I have ever had driving.

In the first practice of the weekend, my SNT Motorsports Development March of Dimes Chevrolet was the second quickest car for quite awhile without any adjustments. At that point I wasn't that happy with the handling of the car - NASCAR stock cars are over horse-powered with little tires, making it extremely difficult to put power down to the pavement. But I knew that Crew chief Tony Mitchell would get us more performance.  For the second practice a shock and spring change made the car much better.  We were fighting a very tight car in on entry and very loose car off on exit. As the 11th quickest car in the 2nd practice, I felt we were starting to have a car that would race well. 

Qualifying did not go as well as hoped.  I was shooting for a top ten starting spot.  The speed was there, however when we went out to qualify, they sent our group of ten cars immediately one after another out of pit lane.  I tried to hold back to get a bigger gap because I knew we had one of the faster cars in our group.  The first lap was good and I thought the following two laps would be even better once the tires warmed up, but during the second lap I just got caught up to the slower cars and that killed my lap time.  It’s frustrating that NASCAR doesn't send out the quickest guys in each group first so no one gets held up and we all have a fair shake at qualifying.  16th is how we ended up - Not where we should be.  

I had my work cut out for me on race day.  The start was a traffic jam with nowhere to go.  I tried to pop out and overtake but the door was closed, so I maintained but lost a couple of positions.  I managed to start picking away up through the field but not without getting a fender put on me in just about every way you could have contact.  I believe I was about up to twelfth position and because we opted to stay out a little longer to get track position I soon found myself gaining more position both by overtaking several with my driving and when the leaders pitted.  It wasn't long before we went from 7th to 4th to 3rd to 2nd and holding for a while.  

We knew we had to pit for fuel and to pull the left front fender back away from the tire before I cut a tire at 140 mph. We wanted to pit a bit earlier, but due to a caution the pit lane was closed.  This is when the trouble started.  Two laps later, the pit lane opened, and I was the first in knowing if we made a good fast stop I would probably go back out somewhere in the top 10 with good track position.  During the pit stop, the fuel catch can seemed to get stuck and the guys had trouble removing it. It seemed like an eternity before we resumed the race, where I found myself towards the back of the pack.  

At this point, I knew I would have to put everything I had on the table. The next 20 or so laps were eventful to say the least.  On several occasions I literally drove blind through plumes of tire smoke and debris, luckily coming out of it - amazed we didn't get collected! We finally climbed back up to a pretty respectable position within the top 15.  

I started to battle a clutch pedal that wouldn't release quickly enough on my 3rd to 2nd downshifts, going back and forth from my right foot heel toe shifting to left foot braking. Due to the sticky clutch, an incident sent us back quite a bit in turn two.  I was three cars wide with me in the middle and we went up to 2 hot! I shifted from 3rd to 2nd but my clutch pedal wouldn't release to help with engine braking to slow the car down.  My fault - I was going for it and I knew my clutch was acting up.  I thought I had it, but I spun.  I managed to get re fired and back on track, but at that point, I had lost many positions.  I had to get to the front of the pack again, so over and over I passed guys up to about 20th or so when the gearbox failed.  

We had to make the decision whether to pit and try to fix it or stay out and try to finish in one gear.  I drove it one lap stuck in 3rd gear and was just getting killed, & Tony gave me the call to bring it in.  In the pit, the crew jacked the car up to try to free up the gear box, but it had seized.  Our race was over and we were forced to retire.  

I felt pretty dejected because the effort was huge on the whole team's part and I wanted to make everyone proud with a good finish. On a positive note, some people come up after the race from the NASCAR Sprint Cup side to tell me our result wasn't any indication of how well we performed on track. 

In closing, our efforts were recognized far beyond the race in many ways. We successfully launched SNT Motorsports Development Corp.  We raced to create awareness for the March of Dimes - without their efforts we may have not had our baby daughter with us today.  
I would like to thank Farmers Insurance, who recognized our efforts by donating $9,000 on our behalf. Many others became part of our team as well, with generous donations for which we are so appreciative.  We are very pleased to have the following as partners of our team... Sport Truck RV, Freightliner of Arizona, Glee Mobile, Muscle Milk, Genoa Racing, Red Line Oil, Porter Law Group, Red Rocket Auto Tech, GO PRO Cameras, Beyers Leaf Guard, Car Czar, Hyperfocus Motorsports, and Porter Communications. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

K&N NASCAR Pro Series West Infineon on Speed Channel

The K&N Nascar Pro Series West Infineon race will be televised on Wed, July 6 @ 3:00 pm west coast time on Speed Channel. Please Tune in. Look for Dave Smith in the #48 SNT Motorsports March of Dimes Cheverolet.

Speed TV

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