McAninch Stops Delbert Smith in "Hoosier Daddy" Thriller at 81
David Smith, Jr.
PARK CITY, Kan. - June 21. In one of the closest finishes
in series history, Ryan McAninch of Wichita, Kansas retook the lead on the last lap and barely beat veteran
Delbert Smith at the finish line to win the thrilling National Championship Racing Association (NCRA) presented
by Smiley’s Racing Products Great Plains late model feature finale Sunday at 81 Speedway in Park City as part of
the tracks “Hoosier Daddy” NCRA Father’s Day spectacular.
Earl Kinderknecht started on the pole for the 20-lap
feature but it was Shelton, Neb. driver Steve Kempt taking the lead as the green flag fell on the 13 car
Kempt, who came into the night as the early season points
leader on the new Great Plains late model region tour, opened up a five car length lead over fourth starting
McAninch. Kempt would built his lead to ten car lengths by lap four while further behind the front two drivers,
it was Kinderknecht, Seagraves and Smith, who had worked his way into fifth after starting in the seventh
Kempt looked to be cruising along until the first of two
cautions flew on lap seven when Rick Leatherman spun to a stop in turns three and
The restart saw McAninch make his move as he worked the
top side of the three-eighths mile oval to pull even with the leader down the backstretch and would drive around
Kempt in turns three and four to take the lead on lap eight. While this was going on, Smith would take over the
third position from Gary Gorby and set his sights on the leaders.
McAninch had built up a ten car length lead over Kempt
before the final caution flew on lap 11 when Dustin Belcher spun.
The final restart saw Smith begin to make his move as he
passed Kempt for the runner up position and began his quest of catching McAninch.
With five laps to go it was still McAninch by three
lengths over Smith, with Gorby and Kempt starting to fade from the two front
“The Ice Man” got things going down on the bottom of the
track and closed to the leader’s rear bumper on lap 17. One lap later he would take over the top spot by making
the pass down the front stretch and nosed out in front of McAninch for one full
On the final lap, Smith worked the top of the cushion in
turns three and four with McAninch right behind. As they came down the front stretch to take the checkered flag,
McAninch dove underneath and as both drivers came down the front straightaway it was McAninch crossing the
finish line by foot over Smith to take the victory.
“I made a mistake there and lost the lead to Delbert,”
said McAninch in victory lane. “Delbert’s been running awful good lately and I really didn’t think I would have
the chance to get by him again. I didn’t think the top would work there in three and four but we just happened
to get a good run coming off the corner and caught him. There’s so many people to thank in this deal I am afraid
I will forget somebody.”
Gorby, who started ninth, would hold on to finish a
strong third while Kempt faded to fourth. Seagraves rounded out the top
June 19 - 81 Speedway
1. Ryan McAninch 2.
Delbert Smith 3. Gary Gorby 4. Steve Kempt 5. Jimmy Seagraves 6. Brad Forney 7. Rick
Leatherman 8. William Keeney 9. Wylan Petrie 10. Vince Wagoner 11. Bryan Bolster 12.
Earl Kinderknecht 13. Dustin Belcher
Heat winners (13 entries): Kinderknecht,