DEGRAFF, Ohio – Josh Smith took the checkered flag to capture the third annual running of the Denny Shatto Memorial race at Shady Bowl Speedway on Saturday night.
Initially taking the point on lap 14, Smith lost the lead to Ryan Fleming on lap 89 before regaining it with nine laps left on lap 101. He would never waiver from there.
“This long races remind me of the old Main Event days,” noted Smith. “I really like these races, the opportunity arouse for me to get the lead so I was able to grab it. On older slicker tires I lost the lead there, but then something happened to his car and I got it back. I just keep on trucking from there, I guess that is why they call it racing,” stated Smith.
Starting fourth Smith, would quickly dive into third following Jim Lewis Jr. and leader Josh Sage. Sage would create some separation as Smith muscled past Lewis at lap five, setting his sights on the leader.
First running down Sage, then sailing by at lap 14, Smith was on cruise control, extending his lead with every lap. On a lap 30 restart Fleming would take the green in fourth, but quickly jump to third, then to second at lap 61 as he started his pursuit.
Smith moved out to what looked to be a nice advantage as Fleming gave chase. From lap 86 thru 89 the front pair raced side by side until Fleming was able to clear Smith and start pulling away.
That way evaporated in a cloud of smoke and fumes at lap 101 when Fleming’s car erupted, dumping oil down the back stretch.
Lewis would pull back up to the outside of Smith for the restart as they dove into turn one. Smith would pull out to the point as Lewis would make contact with another car and spin, slamming into the turn one wall.
Another double file restart with nine laps to go again Smith take the point, but this time he had clear sailing as the 110-lap event went into the books.
Matthew Parsons was second and Don Mahaffey Jr. took third after coming from the tail of the field. Bill Cantley and Lewis rounded out the top five.
“I cannot thank my Dad enough,” said Smith. “On that restart I saw Jimmy’s fender on my outside then he wasn’t there. When I came back around under yellow it looked like he was mad at someone behind me. I didn’t see what happened. My Dad got this old Main Event car out he worked on it all day and got it better than it was. It was a great race.”