Brandon Ward driving the Randy Renfrow owned #2 modified, capped off the 2022 Smart Tour season with a perfectly executed strategy on Oct. 22 claiming his second SMARTY trophy. This was Ward’s second win in a row at Motor Mile Speedway.
Story by James Snape
Burt Myers and Brian Loftin brought the potent field to green and Myers streaked away with the initial lead with Loftin, Jonathan Brown and Ward in Pursuit.
Points leader Caleb Heady, 20 years old from Shelbyville, KY experienced a suspension failure and retired from the race on lap eight and the first yellow flag flew on lap eleven for a minor spin by Brian Weber.
The restart tightened the field up but Myers showed his strength by pulling away with the lead until Loftin put pressure on the leader racing to the inside where the two ran for a couple of laps. Myers eventually prevailed, leading Loftin and Brown. The three ran nose to tail while Ward was on cruise control in fourth.
The stage break caution came on lap thirty which allowed a majority of the field to pit for adjustments. The top three of Myers, Loftin and Brown elected to stay on track.
On the restart Jonathan “Jon Boy” Brown wasted no time and used the outside groove to race past Loftin and Myers to lead by lap thirty one. Jason Myers put himself in contention by getting by Loftin for third place.
Brown tested his new motor by pulling away and running in clean air while Ward, who pitted on lap thirty and restarted in tenth, methodically worked his way forward. By lap forty Ward ran in eighth, ten laps later he was sixth and by lap sixty he raced into fifth place.
A lap sixty three caution flag waved when Chris Finocchario and Michael Ritch made contact causing Ritch to spin on the back stretch. Pit road became a busy place when a majority of the competitors pitted. It was a perfect time for a new Hoosier for a run to the finish.
Ward’s pit crew had a perfect stop getting their driver back on track with the lead.
The final restart of the event now had Ward and Brown race off turn four with Bobby Labonte and Loftin in the next row. Ward’s Randy Renfro prepared #2 looked to be on a rail keeping Brown and the rest in his rear view mirror.
On lap eighty, Loftin overpowered Labonte taking over third place. The final laps ran incident free and Ward raced under the checkered flag with Brown, Loftin and Labonte trailing.
Early race leader Burt Myers came back from a slow pit stop on lap sixty three restarting in tenth place but powered his way into fifth by the end of the 99 lap marathon
Caleb Heady driving the Tommy Baldwin Jr #7NY had a comfortable points lead going into the Motor Mile Speedway event, but that lead diminished quickly when his mount failed him on lap eight but he gained enough points in the event to become the 2022 SMART Tour Champion by Pace O Matic.
Motor Mile Speedway Finish
1 #2-Brandon Ward
2 22- Jonathan Brown
3 15-Brian Loftin
4 25-Bobby Labonte
5 1-Burt Myers
6 21W-Jimmy Wallace
7 8-Chris Finocchario
8 4-Jason Myers
9 18-Daniel Yates
10 6A-Randy Butner
11 17-Michael Ritch
12 13-Chris Fleming
13 45-Gary Young Jr.
14 01-Brian Weber
15 07VA-Dennis Holdren
16 7NY-Caleb Heady
17 3-Craig Young
Brandon Ward won for a second year in a row at Motor Mile Speedway. Along the way, Ward led more laps than anyone else earning him the JOSTEN’S lap leader award
Burt Myers won the Jerry Hunt Super Center stage win leading at the 30 lap mark.
The Shady Grady Racing #15 piloted by Brian Loftin turned the 4/10 mile Motor Mile Speedway at a lap time of 15.256 earning Loftin and team the MJ Printing & Graphics fastest lap of the race.
Jonathan Brown led at the halfway mark earning the Bankers Life Halfway Leader Award.
Jimmy Wallace advanced 6 positions from his starting spot to earn the Pace-O-Matic Harn Charger Award plus Wallace was also the highest finishing non touring winner thus earning him the Carolina Drilling “Blast To The Front” Award.
1 7NY- C.Heady-334
10 14-B.Measmer Jr-181
69 different drivers ran the SMART Tour in 2022.
Photo by Crystal Snape
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