LAKE CITY, Iowa – Mission accomplished.
For the third straight year, Boone Speedway’s IMCA Stock Car track championship made its way an hour northwest to Lake City as Donavon Smith earned his third consecutive title in the division, besting Wayne Gifford by an impressive 57 points.
Looking at the final points is a bit misleading, however, when you take the entire season into consideration.
“When the points are tight, you worry about good finishes and nothing else,” explained Smith, who actually trailed Gifford in the standings throughout the first half of the season.
It was a season of progression for Smith, who spent the early part of the year working to put himself into contention after a 22nd place finish in early May. By the end of the month he clawed his way into second in the standings, despite no trips to the winner’s circle.
It was finally at the end of June when his first win of the season moved Smith to the top of the standings.
“We were in the points this year, but not winning races,” said Smith, who didn’t feel any added pressure trying to defend his back-to-back championship seasons.
“We raced with Gifford for the points title last year, so we had been there before,” continued Smith, whose goal was to take home his third straight crown.
Smith’s confidence got a boost late in the season when a pair of strong finishes solidified his position at the top. “We won and got a second place in August,” he said. “Things started clicking. You’ve got to be consistent, but you’ve also got to be good.”
Good may be an understatement as that poor finish in early May was his only one outside the top 10 all season.
It was another race in May that Smith remembered as the turning point for his season. “It was Memorial Day,” he recalled. “The car didn’t work well at all. We changed some stuff, regrouped and then things started working.”
From that point, Smith reeled off 11 top-10 finishes to close out the year, 10 of which were top-5s.
Looking ahead at plans for 2013, Smith said, “We’ll do the same thing next year. It gets more competitive every year, which makes it hard. But I respect the guys I race with and they respect me, so that makes it a lot more fun.”
2012 Boone Speedway Stats
Team 35 Crew
Smith family, Shawn Stanton, Dana Larson
Shawn Stanton, Pat Fagan (Fast Shafts)
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