Sprint Car Insider – Driver Exclusive. FRESNO, Calif. (September 10, 2018) —> It had been since early June since Tyler Smith had tasted defeat in the King of California series. He came into the final weekend at the south tracks with a 117 point lead and 5 consecutive KofC victories.
After starting the season slow and suffering a couple of uncharacteristic losses someone awoke the sleeping giant. Ever since his first KofC victory of the year at Dixon in mid May, he had been nearly unstoppable. Losing just a single KofC to Mitchel Moles in early June was his only loss since April 28 at the hands of James Ringo at Lemoore Raceway in KofC competition.
Part of the doubleheader KofC weekend the Salmon Motorsports team headed to Keller Auto Raceway at plaza park Friday night. With aspirations of closing out the non wing title a weekend early Smith also has plans of wrapping up 7 grand at the 2nd annual Mark Hagopian memorial at plaza in two weeks. With that in mind he climbed about Harry Boudakians number 18 to get dialed in for the big show. It was double duty for Tyler Smith Friday night. He looked to grab his second class sweep on one night of the season. (Did it at Delta in early August)
The night started off decently in the wing class as he captured 5th Quick in qualifying, followed by the super 600 heat race victory. The non wing class, admittedly more his forte, he set Quick time and finished 2nd in his heat.
As the main events came around he found out he and the crew have a bit more work to do if they want the big money in two weeks. He started strong but got locked into a battle with teammate Raio Salmon. As they were battling through lapped traffic Ben Worth cane through and passed them both en route to him catching the leader, Cody Christensen. Smith could not latch on and wound up finishing 3rd on the night in Super 600.
On to the non wing main event where the number 14 would roll off from the 6th position. It didn’t take long for smith to march his way through the field and catch leader Ryan Delisle. Making short work of the leader, Smith pulled a veteran move on him and duped him big time.
Smith drove up the right side of Delisle as if he was going to the very top of the racetrack. Protecting his line Delisle moved up to block Smith but it was already too late. As soon as Delisle moved up to protect the line Smith was already underneath him and on his way to the victory. He sliced past the 63 like a fire axe through a birthday cake.
It was over from there. Smith went on to capture his 19th victory of the season in his 38th start. Also marking his 6th consecutive king of California triumph and 8th win of the series.
“I may have had a little bit of an advantage over everyone else after racing the multi main,” said Smith. “I really knew where the track was going to go and that helped me a lot.”
“-most people make excuses for why they lost, you’re the first person I’ve heard make excuses for how you win.” – the announcer…
Onto Saturday night for Round 14 of the series at Lemoore Raceway. Lemoore is actually the sight of Smiths most dominance. With 7 wins on the track alone and a huge margin in the points Smith is poised to win yet another Lemoore Raceway track Championship. Going for his 8th win at the track and 7th consecutive KofC win there was competition in the house the field hadn’t seen in quite some time.
The crendtials of Tucker Worth are undeniable. Winner of the 2014 A class Tulsa Shootout and 2017 Super 600 track champion, worth brings quite the resume with him when he shows up.The night start started with QuickTime for Smith and a runner up bid for the main event, he would roll off from 8th.
The main event went green and pole sitter Tucker Worth began to slip away from the field. However it did not take long for Smith to put himself into contention. By lap 5 he was already contending for a top 3 bid. Once he got around Austin Stone for second the chase was on. Worth had built a solid half second gap Smith had a tough time closing. The yellow would wave and bunch the field up but Worth was still able to slip away on the early restarts.
One final caution came out with 10 to get go and smith kept him within sight this time. As the laps were winding down lapped traffic began to play a factor. Making contact with several lapped cars Worth saw his advantage begin to dissipate. As the white flag flew he made serious contact with a lapped driver and almost lost it. Smith was able to pull side by side with Worth as Worth put his foot to the floor and strait sent it. Without hesitation he held the hammer down and miraculously held off Smith to the finish handing him his first KofC loss since June.
The streak stopped at 6 but Smith still holds an insurmountable points lead. It was a good battle between he and Tucker Worth, the likes of which had not been seen in quite some time.
“Tucker was just on it tonight,” said Smith. “We really had nothing for him just tried to capitalize on lapped traffic but he stayed in it and didn’t let me get him.”
Next on deck for Tyler Smith is the quest to close out his closest championship battle. With two races remaining at Delta Speedway his journey for the title will require the kind of consistency he displays on a normal basis. There is no room for error as Caden Sarale is still within striking distance.
You can catch Tyler Smith latests news and results right on Sprint Car Insider driver exclusives. Be sure to follow along for all the updates as 2018 winds to a close.
Shows Ran: 39
Top 5s’: 32
Top 10s: 34
Quick Results: Tyler Smith – Non wing 600/ Super 600
Keller Auto Raceway at Plaza Park
Heat Race: 1st
Main Event: 3rd
Non Wing 600:
Heat Race: 2nd
Main Event: 1st
Quick Results: Non Wing 600
King of California Round 14 9/8/18
Heat Race: 2nd
Main Event: 2nd
On the radar:
9/15/18 – Delta Speedway
9/21-9/22 2018 – Mark Hagopian Memorial
Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park
9/29/18 – Budweiser Grand Prix
Lemoore Raceway points finale
In the distance:
10/5 King of California – Dixon Speedway
10/6 King of California/ Delta Finale
10/12-10/13 California Cup
Don’t miss any of the updates on Tyler’s season as it goes down to the wire.
Be sure to follow along to Sprintcarinsider.co -Driver Exclusives – for all the latest news, results and information on your favorite drivers all season long.
Be sure to follow Tyler personally at
Instagram : t.smith1421
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