Dublin Motor Speedway
Smith dedicates Clash victory to late Starrette
DUBLIN, N.C. (Aug. 21) — Reigning series champion Jeff Smith of Dallas, N.C., got past polesitter and fellow front-row starter Dean Bowen of nearby Whiteville, N.C., on the 17th lap and led the rest of the 40-lapper at Dublin Motor Speedway for a $4,000 victory he dedicated to long-time sponsor Jack Starrette, who died a day earlier. | Jack Starrette obituary
"I've thought about it since he passed away. I wanted it bad, almost as bad as my grandfather's memorial race," Smith said after his first Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series victory of the season and 24th of his career. "It was meant to be tonight. When I made that outside pass on Dean, I went up there and took a chance, trying something in traffic, and when I got on the gas my car hooked up and I went around him. I tried to go right back to that same line several times after that and my car never touched the ground. That pass was meant to be."
Starrette, a beloved and generous team owner and sponsor of Late Models throughout the Southeast, died from injuries suffered in a work-related accident and was remembered with a moment of silence at Dublin. Drivers climbed from their cars on the frontstretch before the race and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" was played over the P.A. system before the command to start engines.
Bowen led the first 16 laps, but when he got hung up trying to put a lap on Scott Shirey, Smith made an outside move for the winning pass. A caution slowed action just after the pass, and Bowen chased Smith the rest of the way.
Series points leader Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., was third followed by Shawn Beasley of Raeford, N.C., and Scott Autry of Fayetteville, N.C. Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C. — like Smith, Autry and others, a recipient of Starrette's generosity — got in a wreck and ended up 20th.
Notes: Smith's Menscer Motorsports-owned Rocket Chassis is sponsored by Star Leasing, Norton Stereo and Starrette Trucking. ... Smith's previous Carolina Clash victory came Sept. 5, 2009, at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C. ... Luke Roffers, who won the previous series visit to Dublin, was the first driver out in the 24-car field. ... Drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Brent Robinson, Chuck Smith, Travis Hair, Mike Parker and Timmy Carroll. ... Next up for the Clash is a Sept. 18 event at Friendship, but there's consideration of adding more events to the three remaining events.
Carolina Clash @ Dublin: (1) Jeff Smith, (2) Dean Bowen, (3) Dennis Franklin, (4) Shawn Beasley, (5) Scott Autry, (6) Justin Labonte, (7) Dustin Mitchell, (8) Dan Breuer, (9) Ray Tucker, (10) Stephen Evans, (11) Brian Ledbetter, (12) Michael Marlowe, (13) David Taylor, (14) Craig Shuffield, (15) Jonathan Gunther, (16) Scott Shirey, (17) Dale Hammond, (18) G)R) Smith, (19) Jay Sessoms, (20) Ricky Weeks, (21) Timmy Blackwell, (22) Zach Cox, (23) Tim Allen, (24) Luke Roffers. Fast qualifier (among 29 cars): Bowen, 16.354 seconds. Consolation race winners: Roffers, Evans.