Sprint Car Insider – Driver Exclusive. FRESNO, Calif. (September 17, 2018) ->Tyler “Tj” Smith’s run to the Non-Wing 600 title at Delta Speedway inched closer to becoming a reality Saturday night.
Although he didn’t pick up the win, a runner-up finish to Dan Mognaga was enough to extend his points margin. Misfortune struck title combatant Caden Sarale. To this point in the championship run, Sarale had given Smith all he could handle. Another quick time effort on the night for Serale gave the appearance he was there to play. He outpaced the 14 in qualifying by one spot but misfortune would strike.
Smith locked down the runner-up bid in qualifying and followed that up with 2nd in his heat as well. As he came into the night with a 43 point advantage the ball was in his court. He should have been able to seal the deal on the title By maintaining his margin and finishing out the races. With the track uncharacteristically heavy Saturday night he knew his qualifying attempt would help as passing would be at a premium on the fast wet track.
Luckily the inversion drew in his favor as well and he would roll off from the third position. With Sarale to his outside, Smith quickly tried to March through the field. Just ahead of him the 85 of Lewis gave him all he could handle. Smith threw the kitchen sink at him early to no avail. Still in third, as the race inched toward halfway the unthinkable struck his title rival.
As the field came by to complete lap 14 Sarale pulled into the infield with a mechanical issue and his night was over. That was a tough break for the young hometown driver but marked a step closer for Smith wrapping up the Non -Wing title. A caution at the same point of the race bunched the field back up and gave Smith a shot at victory.
He snuck around the 85 with some veteran savvy and then set his sights on the leader. But it was too late. Smith reeled in the 75 but could never complete the pass. Dan Mognaga held on for his third victory of the season but he knew who was behind him.
“I am so worked right now,” said Mognaga. “That track was tough but I couldn’t let up because if you give Tj the slightest chance he’s going to take it.”
Smith agreed the track was really tough and tiring. “I’ve never had arm pump like this before,” said Smith.
Technicality is what adds to the allure of Delta. Being one of the premier tracks across the nation; you never know what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be a challenge.
“This track really is one of my favorites,” said Smith. “These guys do such an awesome job here I love coming to race. Good drivers can win on anything and I didn’t have it tonight but I’m happy to see Dan win.”
With just one round remaining Smith’s runner-up finish was enough to extend his margin to 80 points. Smith will return to Delta in search of the nonwing title October 6th for the final points race and King of California finale.
If all goes as planned the return will complete his 2018 campaign of wrapping up three track championships and the King of California series.
Make sure to follow Sprint Car Insider on Facebook, @SCI_uodates on twitter or visit our website – sprintcarInsider.co for or all of the updates on the 14 of Tyler Smith as he continues his assault on the 2018 campaign and march toward 2019 Golden Driller at the Tulsa Shootout.
Quick Results: #14 Tyler Tj Smith Non-Wing 600
Delta Speedway race 12
September 15, 2018
Heat Race: 2nd
Main Event: 2nd
2018 Season Stats:
Shows Ran: 41
Top 5: 33
Top 10: 35
9/21-9/22 2018 – Mark Hagopian Memorial
Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park
9/29/18 – Budweiser Grand Prix
Lemoore Raceway points finale
10/5/18 – King of California
10/6 King of California/ Delta Finale
On the Horizon:
10/12-10/13 – California Cup
1/1-1/5/19 34th Anuual Tulsa Shootout
Tulsa Expo Center – Tulsa, OK
|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
@tylersmith – Facebook
@t_smith1421 – Instagram
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