GIBSONTON, Fla. — Mark Smith may be the hottest racer in the country this February.
Smith won for the third time in three 360 sprint car starts on the opening night of King of the 360s competition at East Bay Raceway Park.
Smith, who won a pair of USCS races last weekend, started from the pole with Canadian Dylan Westbrook alongside.
The initial start was called back, due in part to a flat left-rear tire for Witherspoon with Danny Dietrich exiting the track during the caution. Witherspoon returned at the tail and the field gathered for the new start.
Smith quickly jumped into the lead and immediately began putting distance between himself and second place Westbrook. A lap-eight caution flagfor a three-car tangle in the backstretch brought the field back together and it was a short green-flag period as the race was under caution on lap 11 for two cars stopped in turn two.
From there, the caution flag stayed holstered but there were some anxious moments. Starks and Danny Smith made contact in a position battle and Smith’s car was momentarily airborne, but the veteran regained control without a need for a yellow.
Terry McCarl was charging on the top side to move to second in the late stages. By then, Smith had literally run away and hid from the rest of the field. Despite dealing with lapped traffic through the remaining 10 laps, Smith cruised to a convincing victory.
McCarl, Westbrook, Brock Zearfoss and Aaron Reutzel rounded out the top five.
Jim Young prevailed in the 25-lap Mini Sprint feature.
The 20-lap Micro Sprint race saw Bill Gise make a last lap pass on Paul Seburn to get to the checkers first.
Mark Smith, Terry McCarl, Dylan Westbrook, Brock Zearfoss, Aaron Reutzel, Carson McCarl, Cory Eliason, Derek Hagar, Trey Starks, Dustin Gates, Danny Smith, Eric Riggins Jr., Brett Wright, Dale Howard, Terry Gray, Glenn Styres, Parker Price-Miller, Hayden Campbell, Terry Witherspoon, Ben Brown, Todd Gracey, Jim Huppunen, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Danny Dietrich.