TERRE HAUTE, IN – Just prior to last year’s Don Smith Classic, Logan Seavey possessed just two career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature wins in a span of 50 starts.
With his first career victory at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track last July, the Sutter, California native surpassed his entire win output throughout his first three seasons by scoring a third consecutive victory at the famed half-mile.
Entering this weekend’s Terre Haute double on Friday and Saturday night, May 20-21, Seavey finds himself looking to break into the win column for the first time this season. By all indications of his recent performances, he’s well on his way.
The Don Smith Classic opens the weekend this Friday night with Seavey among the three past event winners expected to compete in the 12th annual event along with 2020 winner Justin Grant and 2016 victor Chase Stockon. Seavey will attempt to become the second driver to repeat as a Don Smith winner, following Tyler Courtney in 2018-19.
During his 2021 Don Smith Classic post-race celebration, Seavey described the exhilaration that winning a USAC National Sprint Car race at Terre Haute provides.
“To win at Terre Haute is unlike anything I’ve ever done in my career; this is awesome,” Seavey exclaimed.
And it takes every bit of 110 percent to get the job done. He’s one of three drivers to finish inside the top-ten in all six events run this year along with Grant and series point leader Emerson Axsom and he’s finished both of his Don Smith Classic starts inside the top-seven with a 7th in his first outing during the 2020 season.
Grant (Ione, Calif.), meanwhile, has finished inside the top-10 seven years in a row at the Don Smith Classic, including inside the top-three in each of his last four outings, with a 3rd in 2018 followed by a 2nd in 2019, a win in 2020 and another 2nd in 2021. The two-time USAC Sprint Car winner and two-time USAC Silver Crown winner at Terre Haute is also coming off a recent Sumar Classic Silver Crown victory on May 1 at Terre Haute.
Stockon, from nearby Fort Branch, Ind., owns three USAC National Sprint Car victories at Terre Haute in his career, among them being the 2016 Don Smith Classic. He’s been stout throughout his career in the event with a 3rd in 2017 and 2020 to go along with a 5th in both 2013 and 2015.
Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) has been achingly close to breaking through for a Don Smith Classic victory to add on to his two career USAC National Sprint Car victories at Terre Haute. The 2015 USAC National Sprint Car champ, and last Saturday’s I-70 Motorsports Park winner, has placed 2nd in the event an astounding four times in 2014-15-16-18 in addition to a 4th in both 2011 and 2013.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) resides in a similar boat as Ballou, being a two-time USAC National Sprint Car winner at Terre Haute, but absent in the Don Smith Classic win column. In nine “Don Smith” starts, the four-time series champion has never finished outside the top-seven. He owns a 3rd in 2013 and 2014, a 4th in 2016-17-18-19-21, a 6th in 2020 and a 7th in 2015.
C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) scored a USAC Silver Crown victory at Terre Haute back in 2016, but is still on the warpath to tracking down a first USAC Sprint Car win at T.H.A.T. He was a best of 4th back in 2020.
Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) was 5th during the inaugural Don Smith Classic in 2011 and equaled that performance with a 5th in 2020.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) aims to follow fellow Broken Arrow native Bacon as a Terre Haute USAC Sprint Car winner after notching a 5th for himself in 2021 and a 7th back in 2018.
Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) collected a best of 8th in the Don Smith Classic for 2019 while Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.), a Midwest Sprint Car Series winner at Terre Haute in May of 2021, was 9th in the 2017 Don Smith Classic and 10th in 2019.
Looking to move up the charts and improve upon their past Don Smith Classic performances are USAC National Sprint Car feature winners Jake Swanson and Matt Westfall. Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) has been stuck on 12 with three consecutive 12th place finishes in the event in 2018-20-21. Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio), meanwhile, was a best of 15th back in 2018.
Lawrenceburg Speedway track champ Nick Bilbee (Indianapolis, Ind.) was 13th in the 2021 Don Smith Classic. Mitch Wissmiller (Saybrook, Ill.) was the event’s fastest qualifier and a 22nd place finisher back in 2015. Hometown hero Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) took 15th in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020. Nate McMillin (Rosedale, Ind.) scored a 17th in 2020. Mario Clouser (Auburn, Ill.), coming off a career-best 6th place performance at I-70, snared a 19th at the 2021 Don Smith Classic.
Seeking their first career Don Smith Classic starts on Friday are series point leader Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) who recently finished 5th in his Terre Haute debut on May 1 in a Silver Crown, after restarting 26th. Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.), 12th in the standings, was the 2020 series Rookie of the Year, but spies an A-Main start in this particular event for the first time as is 2022 Rookie Alex Banales (Lafayette, Ind.), teammate on the Baldwin-Fox Racing team to defending race winner Seavey.
Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) was recently tabbed by Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports to make his series debut this Friday at Terre Haute, replacing the departing Tanner Thorson who left to pursue other racing endeavors. The Reinbold-Underwood ride, with Thorson at the wheel, finished 8th in the 2021 Don Smith Classic and 6th with C.J. Leary in 2019.
The Don Smith Classic honors the man who has been enshrined in both the USAC Hall of Fame and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Smith was the longtime promoter of the Terre Haute Action Track as well as a successful car owner of the Sumar Special on the AAA and USAC National Championship trails while maintaining his status as a successful businessman in the city of Terre Haute.
This weekend presents the 12th running of the $5,000-to-win Don Smith Classic on Friday night, May 20, and closes with the 52nd annual $10,000-to-win Tony Hulman Classic on Saturday night, May 21.
On the docket for Friday’s Don Smith Classic, the pits open at 3pm Eastern, front gates at 4pm, drivers meeting at 6pm and hot laps at 6:30pm with qualifying and racing immediately following. UMP Modifieds will also be in action. A concert by country music recording artist Jake Dodds will follow Friday’s racing festivities.
For Saturday’s Tony Hulman Classic at Terre Haute, the pits open at 1pm Eastern, front gates at 3pm, drivers meeting at 6pm and hot laps at 6:30pm with qualifying and racing immediately following. RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars will also be on the event card.
Each night, general admission grandstand tickets are $30. Kids age 10 and under are free. Infield tickets are $20. Kids age 10 and under are free. Pit passes are $35.
A rain date (if needed) has been established for Sunday night, May 22.
Both nights of racing at Terre Haute can be watched live and on-demand on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3u7ID2N.