DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (March 11, 2017) – Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith put up a fight until the very end as he tried to grab his second podium finish, ultimately settling for fourth during a grueling 15 laps at Daytona International Speedway. Both Smith and his teammate Alex Martin overcame mid-pack starts, with Martin coming away with an eighth-place result.
Smith continued to show improvement on the difficult Daytona track after qualifying sixth during timed practice. He scored second in his heat, providing a good gate pick and some extra confidence for the main event. At the start of the main, Smith got a good jump but was forced inside the 180-degree turn, pushing him down the running order early. It didn’t take him long to make up the time, sitting seventh after only four laps. He pushed his way toward the front runners, never giving up until the checkered flag flew, awarding him fourth for the night.
“The start really hurt us but I think I was able to show some good speed out there tonight,” said Smith. “I feel like if we had one more lap, I may have been able to get onto the podium, but we’re leaving with a solid result after a few weeks of ups and downs. We’ll see if we can get back on the box next week.”
The day started out really well for Martin who scored the top qualifier during timed practice. He then took that speed into the heat where he collected his first-ever heat race win. Like his teammate in the main event, the start pinched Martin off in the first turn, forcing him to hold up more than he wanted. He came around the first lap in ninth, and after some back and forth battling through out the race, Martin settled for eighth.
“I really thought the main event was going to go differently,” said Martin. “After the tough start, it was hard for me to really get into a groove. I picked off some people right away but then struggled to get back going. I’d like to take the positive learning experience from the top qualifier and heat win into Indianapolis so we can hopefully get back on the podium.”
Photo Credit : Jeff Kardas