A third place finish at Martinsville’s fall classic is nothing to shake a stick at, as the saying goes. However, coming from the rear of the field to finish third in the Valley Star Credit Union 300 is something to be amazed about. Smith was the sixth fastest car in time trials last year and started on the front row of his heat race. He would go on to finish second and transfer into the main event in the sixth position. Smith would eventually be penalized from NASCAR and forced to start at the rear of the forty-three car field.
R.D. Smith has returned to the Paperclip this year with a similar notebook and looking for similar results – minus the penalty of course. Clocking unofficial times in the low to mid 50’s, Smith feels pretty confident with the car the team has prepared this year.
“We are pretty close to last year and the car unloaded well,” Smith said. “Just small adjustments here and there. Last year was a good place to start. All in all we feel pretty good with the car we brought.”
That being said the crew spent most of the day working to find R.D. just a little bit more speed. We all know testing the week before there are so many things that can happen between the time you were on the track to the time the race starts. The Goodyear tire test and chemical NASCAR laid on the top groove of the concrete is just an example.
“They put that chemical in the top groove and it seemed like the track took rubber faster,” explained Smith. With the storm this past weekend he feels a lot of the chemical and the rubber will get washed away and they are not going to reapply for us Late Model guys. “I fee like when we come back it will kind of be like a new track. I also feel that balance wise we are close enough to where it will be just small adjustments.”
With a pretty solid notebook and the eight hours of testing the week prior to the feature, Smith feels the car is really close and with just a few small adjustments.
“We were working through a lot of changes,” Smith said about test day. “We are looking to build a notebook and see where we wanted to be. We are going to take that all back and make our final adjustments from there. Overall though I feel like the car is really good.”
R.D. Smith will look to qualify up front yet again this year and avoid any unnecessary penalties in search for a win come Sunday afternoon. Smith will have four hours Saturday afternoon to get the car perfect before hitting the track for group qualifying to set the field for the 25-lap heat races. Fan gates will open Saturday October 15th at noon with practice to begin at one. For more ticket info head over to martinsvillespeedway.com