Mark Smith Hangs another USCS Win at Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (February 28, 2020) – Sunbury, Pennsylvania’s Mark Smith charged past early race-leader Sarasota, Florida’s Danny Martin, Jr. on lap nineteen of the 30-lap United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters main event at Hattiesburg Speedway on Friday night to make his seventh trip to the USCS Victory Lane in  USCS series competition A-main in-a-row going back to last season.

The win, which was the USCS Winter Heat mini-series Round #4 placed Smith squarely atop the USCS National and Winter Heat 2020 standings going into Round #5 on Saturday night at Southern Raceway in Milton, Florida.

Mark Smith started seventh in the 23-car field for the finale. On lap one his chances improved when a multi car crash in turns one and two sidelined several top competitors and moved Mark Smith into the second row behind Martin and young gun Conner Leoffler from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina who was the K&N Filters Pole Position starter after the re-draw that moved the evening’s high points earner, Davie Franek from Wantage, New Jersey to sixth position for the initial green.

Unfortunately, the first lap melee involving Davie Franek, Columbus, Indiana’s Tony Stewart, Danny Smith from Chillicothe, Ohio, Dale Howard from Byhalia, Mississippi, Max Stambaugh from Elida, Ohio and Greg Wilson from Benton Ridge, Ohio. All of these were able to restart in the rear of the field except Franek and Danny Smith.

On the complete restart from the new order, Danny Martin, Jr. grabbed the lead from Leoffler and raced out front with Mark Smith chasing him through the soon to be encountered lap traffic. This battle insued while Leoffler fought to hold of two-time USCS Champion Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee for the third spot. Stewart and Dale Howard advanced quickly back through the field while defending National Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee held down the fifth position.

As the battle continued up front, Smith raced past Martin on the back stretch of the racey ¼ mile oval into the lead on lap nineteen. Stewart and Howard continued to battle for a spot in the top five. In the end after swapping spots several time, Stewart bested Gray and Howard for the final top five spot with Howard sixth at the checkered flag. Gray followed in seventh place, Mallie Shuster from Newville, Pennsylvania was eighth, Shane Morgan from Gulfport, Mississippi was ninth and Ronny Howard from Nesbit, Mississippi completed the top ten.

Mark Smith kicked off the evening by winning the 6-lap USCS Hoosier Speed Dash. Danny Martin, Jr. won the Engler Machine and Tool Heat One, Tony Stewart won the Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat and Rookie Conner Leoffler captured the flag for the Butlerbuilt Third Heat. The 2018 USCS Rookie of the Year, Jake Knight from Georgetown, Mississippi advance eleven positions in the main event after starting dead last and finishing twelfth to garner the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.

USCS Outlaw Thudner Tour presented by K&N Filters Sprints – Winged Sprint Cars at Hattiesburg Speedway on Friday, February 28, 2020:

A Feature (30 Laps): 1. M1-Mark Smith[7]; 2. 24-Danny Martin Jr[2]; 3. 22-Conner Leoffler[1]; 4. 10M-Morgan Turpen[4]; 5. 14-Tony Stewart[5]; 6. 47-Dale Howard[9]; 7. 10-Terry Gray[8]; 8. 49-Mallie Shuster[14]; 9. 01-Shane Morgan[12]; 10. 44-Ronny Howard[18]; 11. 20-Jim Shuster[13]; 12. 93-Jake Knight[23]; 13. 17-Alex Lyles[21]; 14. 17B-Shelby Brown[16]; 15. 13-Chase Howard[20]; 16. 7E-Eric Gunderson[19]; 17. (DNF) 9-Edward Guidry[22]; 18. (DNF) 10L-Landon Britt[15]; 19. (DNF) W20-Greg Wilson[10]; 20. (DNF) 28-Jeff Willingham[17]; 21. (DNF) 5M-Max Stambaugh[11]; 22. (DNF) 4-Danny Smith[3]; 23. (DNF) 28F-Davie Franek[6]

Hoosier Dash (6 Laps): 1. M1-Mark Smith[1]; 2. W20-Greg Wilson[2]; 3. 28F-Davie Franek[3]; 4. 22-Conner Leoffler[4]; 5. 10-Terry Gray[5]; 6. (DNF) 4-Danny Smith[6]

Engler Machine Tool Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 24-Danny Martin Jr[2]; 2. M1-Mark Smith[4]; 3. 10-Terry Gray[6]; 4. W20-Greg Wilson[7]; 5. 20-Jim Shuster[5]; 6. 44-Ronny Howard[1]; 7. 17B-Shelby Brown[8]; 8. 9-Edward Guidry[3]

BMRS Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 14-Tony Stewart[3]; 2. 28F-Davie Franek[6]; 3. 10M-Morgan Turpen[7]; 4. 01-Shane Morgan[1]; 5. 49-Mallie Shuster[5]; 6. 28-Jeff Willingham[2]; 7. (DNF) 17-Alex Lyles[4]

Butlerbuilt Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 22-Conner Leoffler[2]; 2. 47-Dale Howard[3]; 3. 4-Danny Smith[8]; 4. 5M-Max Stambaugh[6]; 5. 10L-Landon Britt[4]; 6. 7E-Eric Gunderson[1]; 7. (DNF) 13-Chase Howard[7]; 8. (DNS) 93-Jake Knight

Photo caption: Mark Smith won the USCS Winter Heat Series presented by Speed Shift TV at Hattiesburg Speedway on Friday night.