ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. — “I said at the beginning of the night that the only thing better than winning a Lincoln Dirt Classic was winning two of them.”
Thus were the words of Stevie Smith after claiming his second win in three years in the 40-lap $20,000-to-win Dirt Classic on Saturday night at historic Lincoln Speedway.
Smith, who started third after setting third-fast time and gathering the third-most points in time trials and qualifying, followed front row starters Lucas Wolfe and James McFadden the first two laps before catching the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 4 in turns three and four of lap three.
One lap later saw the Dirt Classic lose its front row, with McFadden turning over in turn four to bring out the red, and then Wolfe going to the pits with an oil leak during the red flag. Smith assumed the lead for the restart, with Danny Dietrich, Gerard McIntyre, and Matt Campbell in tow.
But it was only the first time he led the race, as Dietrich closed on the leader in lapped traffic. Smith, who admitted having trouble with the lapped traffic, lost the lead to Dietrich on turn four of lap 30. One lap later, Adam Wilt flipped in turn four, leading to a fuel stop. At the time, 11th-starting and rapidly closing Greg Hodnett was about to make it a three-car battle for the lead.
And that’s exactly what it became on the restart with nine laps to go. Smith and Dietrich both bounced off the walls on subsequent slide jobs, with Smith coming out with the lead on lap 35. A lap later, the final caution of the event came out for Cory Haas, who spun in turn one.
That set up a dramatic three-car battle between Smith, Dietrich, and Hodnett for the win over the final five laps.
“I told Fred (Rahmer) during the red that Danny’s going to go to the top, so we’re going to have to run the bottom,” said Smith in victory lane, “When I saw him peel down to the bottom, I knew that was my chance to go back around him on the top. We finished second last year and we didn’t wait to finish second again this year. We ran our tail off. Danny did a nice job, but when you get out there in the lead, you’re not sure which way to go. He’s been really fast this year. I think being in second may have won us that race.”
“All these guys are tough in my book,” added Smith when reflecting on a talent-laden 48-car field. “The older I get, the better they look!”
In the end, Smith pulled away to a 1.03-second win over Dietrich, with Hodnett settling for third.
Lance Dewease received the $700 bonus ($500 from the Beer Hill Gang and $200 from Winebrenner Harley in Hanover) as hard charger, coming from the 14th starting spot to finish fourth, with Brian Montieth coming from the 15th starting spot to round out the top five.
Finishing sixth through 10th were McIntyre, Tim Wagaman, Jim Siegel, Campbell, and Ryan Smith.
RESULTS: Dirt Classic Pennsylvania; Lincoln Speedway; Sept. 24, 2016
A-Main (40 laps): 1. 51S-Stevie Smith ($20,000); 2. 48-Danny Dietrich; 3. 27-Greg Hodnett; 4. 69K-Lance Dewease; 5. 21-Brian Montieth; 6. 16-Gerard McIntyre, Jr.; 7. 1*-Tim Wagaman; 8. 59-Jim Siegel; 9. 16C-Matt Campbell; 10. 94-Ryan Smith; 11. 5G-Chase Dietz; 12. 3-Tim Kaeding; 13. 11C-Cory Haas; 14. 8-Billy Dietrich; 15. 71M-Dave Blaney; 16. 4-James McFadden; 17. 5-Tyler Ross; 18. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 19. 51-Freddie Rahmer (DNF); 20. 15-Adam Wilt (DNF); 21. 37-JJ Grasso (DNF); 22. 17B-Bill Balog (DNF); 23. 24-Terry McCarl (DNF); 24. 19M-Brent Marks (DNF); 25. 1Z-Lucas Wolfe (DNF).
Lap Leaders: Lucas Wolfe (1-3), Stevie Smith (4-29), Danny Dietrich (30-34), Stevie Smith (35-40)
CREDIT: Lincoln Speedway