Superstar Racing Experience
Tony Stewart Continues Dirt Dominance in SRX Win
Jul 17, 2022
One by one, the contenders began to fall out of the Redbud 400 but none of it seemed to matter as Sammy Smith was in the midst of a perfect race.
Perfect is also how to describe the entirety of Donnie Wilson Motorsports right now as it continues to win marquee Super Late Model races with the likes of William Byron, William Sawalich and Smith. If not for a decision to leave Cole Butcher on 300 lap right side tires, Wilson Motorsports very well could have swept the podium on Saturday night at Anderson Speedway in Indiana.
As it stood, the team still led all 400 laps between Smith and Sawalich. It was a perfect race, perfect execution and a perfect drive by Smith, who had wanted this win badly entering the season.
"This is pretty high up there, I think," Smith told Racing America after the race. "I've got the five or six Super Late Model crown jewels that I want to win. I have three of them so far. We haven't raced these cars as much this year, and I had to get my butt kicked a couple of times before we came here but good momentum for IRP in a couple of weeks."
In addition to the ARCA East championship, Smith added to a resume that also included the 2021 Winchester 400 and Florida Governor’s Cup so now the Wilson Motorsports No. 22 team is looking ahead to big money season in the fall and winter.
But really, so is the organization as a whole, after winning the Slinger Nationals on Tuesday with William Byron and the No. 24 team. That same 24 team finished second on Saturday with Sawalich, who was gassed after 400 laps around Anderson Speedway.
An emerging raw natural talent, Sawalich knows he will have to work on his endurance for these longer races as he develops his NASCAR skillset.
"This was my first 400 lapper and it’s a quarter-mile so you’re always working and turning so it’s tough," Sawalich said.
Sawalich had a right rear going flat in the final laps and it might have made the difference in the end between the two Wilson Motorsports teammates.
"It was getting really tight over the final 10 laps but still putting together really good lap times," Sawalich said. "Very grateful it didn’t go down too much and end our race."
Again, it likely didn’t make a difference in the final rundown as Smith and the 22 team were the unquestioned class of the field, but Stephen Nasse was left wondering what if after finishing fourth. He restarted third on the final restart with 44 laps to go but lap down Scotty Tomasik on fresher tires was mixing it up with the leaders.
Nasse was held up several laps by Tomasik and he felt like 1) it was a lack of respect and 2) he probably should have used the bumper sooner and just been done with it.
"I feel like I give people plenty of respect, maybe too much," Nasse said. "That's especially true when someone has a much better car than I do. It's about recognizing when it's not your day, and I feel like they say that in the driver's meeting too. I don't know if they weren't listening, but it definitely ruined our chances to having any kind of shot.
"It's unfortunate because I don't want to use my car like that. Anytime you touch with these cars, it's going to tear something up so it's a last resort. Believe it or not, I tend not to tear a lot of stuff up these days and I've been better on that front and it gives me a lot better consistent finishes but some people are seemingly okay with ruining your day."
And once again, it probably didn’t matter as Smith and the Wilson Motorsports car were easily the class of the field and Nasse knows it.
"We had nothing for the Wilson cars, but I feel like everyone all over the country is in that boat," Nasse said. "It's pretty insane, honestly, to have three cars that good. It doesn't make any sense to me but I guess they're going to keep letting them win races like this and dominate fields and we'll keep chasing them. Hopefully we catch up soon because it's getting tough out here."
Nasse also lamented the amount of manpower he was up against when racing Wilson Motorsports even with a two car Jett Motorsports team.
"It’s a Cup style program over there, the best of the best, and don’t get me wrong, that’s what it takes, but at the end of the day, we’re Super Late Model racing," Nasse said. "This isn’t ARCA, it ain’t NASCAR so I feel like something needs to be done, but we’re going to keep going to work, but everyone is working and it doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been there or how little times they’ve been there, they just show up and have a winning car."
It’s a winning car and team that Smith is proud to drive. He made it look easy on Saturday even if they never really are.
"It was a matter of staying out front," Smith said. "Track position is key, restarts were key. It was hot. I feel like I’ve put in the work outside of the car to prepare for this and we got another 400 lapper."
He’s Super Late Model racing’s marathon man.
Eight of the 21 finishers were running at the finish and the field methodically fell out of the race one by one without any major crashes.
July 16 2022