Monday, June 19, 2023

1971 – USAC Win ‘Greatest Ever’ for Smith

USAC sprint car winner Mitch Smith is joined by the legendary Tommy Hinnershitz in victory lane. – Bob Zeller Photo

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (June 19, 1971) – Super sprint star Mitch Smith, of Linglestown, Penn., scored his “greatest win ever” Saturday night when he romped to victory in a special 40-lap United States Auto Club sprint car event at the Williams Grove Speedway.

Smith, driving a racer that had never been on the speedway before, also posted two new track records as he completed his clean sweep.

He said afterwards, “I have to give all the credit to my mechanic, Dick Hench. He had this car handling beautifully.” (The car is a new Floyd Trevis sprint.)

A happy Gary Wasson, who owns the car, said, “We’ve won many races in recent years, but this one will have to go down as our greatest.”

Smith, who competes at Williams Grove every week, started sixth in the 20-car field, and at the end of the first lap, was running third, ahead of Greg Weld, Dick Tobias, and Don Nordhorn.

Coming down the front stretch, he slipped into the runner-up slot on the second lap, passing Rollie Beale of Toledo, Ohio. He took over the lead on the backstretch, catching early pace setter, Jim Oskie, of Maywood, Calif.

At the finish, Smith was a quarter-lap ahead of Tobias, of Lebanon, Penn. Tobias finished just ahead of Nordhorn, with Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, in fourth, and Rollie Beale, in fifth.

Results –

1. Mitch Smith
2. Dick Tobias
3. Don Nordhorn
4. Larry Dickson
5. Rollie Beale
6. Lee Kunzman
7. Gary Bettenhausen
8. Lennie Waldo
9. Jim Schaeffer
10.John Anderson

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