Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Lot To Lose

Photo by Jae Jae W.

Taking the green flag at the Phoenix International Raceway for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season finale, Hasa Driver Moses Smith knew he had a lot to lose.

The 2010 Championship Points battle had been extremely tight all year. A mere eighty-eight (88) points separated eighth place from Moses’ position in fourth. With the season high starting grid of forty cars, a mistake could close that cushion quickly.

“We did not qualify where we should have,” Smith recalled. “I think that I over drove it just a bit.” Starting the #16 Hasa Pool Products / White Flyer Toyota Camry from twenty-eight position, Moses had to be both cautious yet aggressive.

At the first of eleven caution periods, Moses had maneuvered his way up to the nineteenth position. From there he ran as high as third. However, as the race progressed, the race car’s handling deteriorated, making it difficult to turn. The team assessed that adverse situation, Crew Chief Mario Isola made the call to make two extra pit stops for chassis adjustments.

Just after the mid-point of the 125 lap race, the #16 Hasa Pool Product Toyota Camry rejoined the pack in thirty-first position. At this point, the “worst case scenario“ loomed large. However, the driver and crew chief’s chatter on the race radio remained calm and focused.

“Just dig Buddy; we have plenty of time left to get them.” Mario counseled. Moses followed his instructions and unwearyingly drove his way back through the pack; avoiding several crashes in the process.

The last caution flag of the finale was thrown with just seven laps to go. The #16 Hasa Pool Products / White Flyer Toyota Camry was back in the top-ten. Moses steered clear of trouble and brought home an eleventh place finish. With that late race charge, he placed fourth in the championship battle.

“I knew what was on the line this race, but you have to run each race individually and not let that pressure build inside you.” Moses explained in the pits after the race. “There was a lot of crashes and stuff going on all around me, but I can’t let that distract me from my purpose.”

As a side note, Moses raced as part of the TEAM Beads of Courage program. Please check out their wonderful efforts to provide Arts-in-Medicine for Children with Serious Illness.

You can also interact with the Beads of Courage on Facebook.

When you look at the labor the Beads of Courage put into their program and the children they benefit, it puts the severity of losing on the race track in an entirely different prospective.

“Carrying the Beads of Courage during the race gave me a boost of enCOURAGEment!” Moses interjected.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West - 3 Amigos Tequila 125 race will air on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, Nov. 18.

Unofficial 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Standings:
1. E. Holmes, 1942; 2. D. Mayhew, 1818; 3. P. Harraka, 1704; 4. M. Smith, 1674; 5. G. Pursley, 1641; 6. J. Gomez, 1627; 7. L. Martinez,Jr., 1590; 8. M. Self, 1548; 9. T. Souza, 1493; 10. T. Milburn, 1412.

Video Interview

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