Smith Surprises Everyone But Himself as SpeedFest Fast QualifierScott Menlen
SPEED51.COM STORY – The second day of SpeedFest 2016 at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia was full of surprises for everyone except Super Late Model fast-qualifier Zane Smith. Smith said that he knew he would be fast and knew he’d have a car that could take the pole for Sunday’s 200-lap Super Late Model event.
And that was exactly what Smith did. Smith was the first qualifier in Super Late Model time trials and put down a lap of 15.698 seconds around the 1/3-mile D-Shaped oval, beating out 2014 Snowball Derby winner John Hunter Nemechek by about five one-hundreths of a second. Nemechek’s lap was a time of 15.751 seconds.
“I knew we were going to be really good in qualifying,” Zane Smith said. “I like going first. (You) get it done, get it over with and I don’t have to deal with it anymore.”
William Byron, Cole Anderson and Ty Majeski completed the top five in qualifying.
“I’m just stoked,” Smith said reflecting back on a successful afternoon, “This is an awesome way to start out 2016, beating all these good guys here, it just means so much.”
Smith drew a five for the invert, so that will put two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Majeski at the front of the field for Sunday’s race which can be seen live on Speed51 TV by clicking here.
Harrison Burton will have to race his way into the main event through a last-chance qualifier on Sunday morning. Burton was fast all day long, but a spin on his warm-up lap robbed him of the speed he needed to lock into the show.
Burton wasn’t the only one to do some off-roading on Saturday as Brennan Poole, Bo Lemastus and Quinnton Bear all took a detour down the backstretch at some point throughout the day.
In qualifying for Sunday’s Pro Late Model 125 it was Nemechek, the two-time defending winner of the event, setting fast-time on Saturday evening. Nemechek’s time of 16.007 seconds won him the pole, but he will start from the ninth position on Sunday due to the invert.
“It definitely gives us confidence going into Sunday, but the race is totally different,” said Nemechek. “I just have to be patient, listen to my guys and not use my stuff up. We have time to get to the front. We know we have a good car every time we bring this Pro Late Model out.”
Chandler Smith, Justin South, Casey Roderick and Zane Smith completed the top five in qualifying, but it will be Chris Dilbeck starting from the pole position after the invert.
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by JRI Shocks and PFC Brakes, click here.
-By Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Contributor
-Photo Credit: Heath Lawson/Speed51.com