Tyler and Yuan Niida-Smith watch as dad Greg Smith cleans mud from the car of Justin Reusch during Father's Day racing at Triport Speeway Sunday.

Muddy track doesn’t dampen races

The Father's Day show draws a small field but is still a close race at the Tri-Port Speedway

PORT HARDY—A clean line in the corners meant a clean visor Sunday as Glen Day rolled to a nearly wire-to-wire victory on a muddy track at Tri-Port Speedway.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Day bolted to the front just after the green flag dropped. He managed to hold the spot despite persistent pressure from teammate Daniel Hovey, who tapped Day several times as he chased the leader through the second turn.

“I was trying not to hit him, but it was just that little tap,” said Hovey, who had outdueled Day to claim the second heat race in a reversal of results.

The Father’s Day show drew a small field of four cars, but proved a showcase of clean yet close driving.

In the 20-lap main only one lap was marred by a yellow flag, and that came when Justin Reusch lost a race-long battle with balky steering to slide off the track and into the infield mud on the 17th lap.

“I was broke,” said Reusch, whose two front wheels were both pointed outward on the corners due to a broken tire rod. “I couldn’t counter-steer at all.”

Still, Reusch made it back into the race without a pit and finished out as all four drivers hit the final turn in a pack before Day took his second consecutive feature main checkered flag of the season.

The other driver, Chris Hardy, placed third behind Hovey driving a car owned by his father, Paul Weeks.

Rain overnight and earlier in the day, at times fairly heavy, threatened to make the heavy clay track a quagmire. But the precipitation held off throughout most of the racing and drivers were able to pack the track into a fairly solid surface.

“This corner, I had,” said Day, pointing to the third and fourth turns. “It was the other one I was a little apprehensive about.”

It was through turns one and two that Hovey continuously rode up hard on Day and several times tapped his shop-mate before backing off.

“I was wondering if that was Justin chasing me around every lap,” Day said, in a dig at his partner.

“Hey, sometimes it’s hard to back off when you’re going hard,” Hovey responded. “I was just glad to be out there at the end. I haven’t gotten to drive much because my car’s always broke.”

For the second straight race, Hovey posted the fastest qualifying time, and he also grabbed the opening trophy dash. In the season opener, however, he lasted just a heat and a half before losing his rear differential.

Reusch claimed the first heat with Hovey second and Day third.

Day maintained the season points lead at 187 with Reusch trailing with 170. Hovey’s strong showing put him back in the hunt with 115 points, and Week’s car lurks just behind with 104.

The next race event is a Saturday evening show under the lights, set to start at 7 p.m. July 7.

 

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