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Hudson Cruises to GARS Victory

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brett Hudson finished the Great American Racing Series season with back-to-back victories, Saturday’s win at the E3 Spark Plugs 100 at the Memphis International Raceway oval was just a little more difficult than he is used to.

Hudson, an Owensboro, Ky. native, experienced some setbacks during qualifying which forced him to start at the rear of the field when it was time for the main event to roll around. It took Hudson about 30 laps to pick his way through the field and seriously stalk then-leader Will Kimmel.



“Being stuck in the back wasn’t that bad today,” Hudson said. “There was some good tight racing there for the first 10 laps – inside, outside, three-wide. I was having a blast, but I was also hoping my right front (tire) wouldn’t get cut.”

Hudson wasn’t able to get past Jeffersonville, Ind.’s Kimmel as quickly as he did the rest of the field, but once Hudson made his move, his Chevy was impossible to catch.

“When I got up behind him I was having to watch my water temperature,” Hudson said. “I wasn’t able to get after him because I was having to conserve and run down. He went high and gave me enough room to get around and that’s all I needed.”

From there Hudson never lost the lead despite two cautions that bunched the field back up.

 

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One of the beneficiaries of that last caution especially, was Shawn Smith of Louisville, Ky. Smith was running fairly deep in the field for the first 75 laps of the race. Smith sprang to life in those final 25 laps working his way to fourth and most importantly clinching the GARS season championship.

“Coming into a new place like this you are guessing on everything – springs, shocks, gears,” Smith said. “We’re just not used to running on a track this big. Finding the fastest way around this place is kind of the key. You can change lines here and make your car loose or tight. You just have to find a line that suits your driving style.”

Smith said that late caution was big for him.

“It allowed me to get my tires cooled down,” he said. “I was able to gain positions with five hard laps. I lost one position late, but all-in-all it was a good day. I’ve won championships in the past, but this is the biggest one yet.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I guess when the Circle Track magazines come out and all my friends see it, that’s when it will all sink in. I started in a Pinto in mini-stocks 20 years ago. I never dreamed I would be able to race at a facility like this.”

The top five on Saturday were Hudson, Curtis Peeples of Round O, S.C. in second, Chuck Barnes, Sr. of Louisville in third, Smith in fourth and Todd Kempf of Huntingburg, Ind., in fifth.

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