Salute the Troops 150 - DIRTcar 358 Modifieds - NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLIX - Oswego Speedway - 12 Darren Smith, 713 Tommy Collins

By BILL FOLEY

Binghamton’s Darren Smith had a week of ups and downs, but Saturday night thru early Sunday morning he capped off his Super DIRT Week with a ninth place finish in the Salute for the Troops 150.

Smith, a rookie for this event, didn’t make it easy for himself as he lined up 32nd on the starting grid.

Reflecting on the race, he said, “It was fun, but I had a tough time staying on the lead lap. I was terrible at doing that. However, as the cars dwindled I found my car was getting better and I was able to pass cars and just tried to stay out of the holes.”

Continuing he said, “I was nervous all day. In not making the big-block show I felt like I was letting the guys down.  I really wanted to run the big-block show.”



The week, according to Smith, was one of mixed emotions.

He said, “We unloaded the cars and the small-block came off well. We had an excellent time trial and missed it in the big-blocks.  In my heat I simply got out experienced out there with all the big guys in the heat.”

His first Oswego big-block heat was loaded with Larry Wight, Mat Williamson, Tyler Dippel, Anthony Perrego, Ryan Godown, Brett Hearn and Billy Decker.

The small-block heat wasn’t much better with Billy Decker, Mat Williamson, Ronnie Davis, Rocky Warner, Michael Maresca, Perrego and others where he finished just outside a qualifying spot in 12th.

In the last chance race Smith felt pressure and with only a few cars qualifying he said, “I was supposed to start sixth and ended up third at the start.”

He led all but one lap to grab the 32nd starting spot on the grid.

Entering the race, he noted, “I just want to run one line, keep the car clean and keep my head straight. There were ruts out there, but for me the middle was best. I just wanted to stay clean and keep the car under me.”

His big-block ride was heavily damaged on Friday night and it was done for the weekend.

Smith joked, “I have never run a DIRT show before. Well, I ran Oktoberfast last year, but didn’t qualify so I guess I can still say I’ve never run a DIRT show. Anyway, I am leaving happy with a smile on my face.”

So for Smith the season is over as he said, “We will be at Port Royal next weekend and I’ll be helping Billy (Decker).” 

Darren Smith, son of veteran owner-driver Jeremy Smith,  is one of those drivers of the future and he made his presence felt with a very solid drive in the “Salute to the Troops 150”.