Mintz Gets Exciting Last Corner, Last Lap Pass For Attica All Star Win
By Brian Liskai
(Attica, OH) In one of the most exciting finishes in the history of Attica Raceway Park, Craig Mintz passed Stevie Smith coming down to the checkered to record his first ever University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions victory Saturday for the second night of the HD Supply Spring Nationals.
Mintz, who was passed on the last lap the previous night by Dale Blaney for the victory, took the checkered flag .146 seconds ahead of Smith much to the delight of the capacity crowd.
“Stevie took one away from me about eight years ago and it was great racing with him…he raced me clean. I just tried to save my tires as much as I could and try to run through the middle. He was really good on the bottom and I was waiting for just one minor mistake and he really didn’t make any. I just got a really good run coming out of four and it was wreckers or checkers…I wasn’t lifting on that one,” said Mintz beside his Ti22 Performance, Real Geese Decoys, R2C Filters, Erie Shore Propane, Kistler Engines backed machine.
For Mintz, from Gibsonburg , Ohio , it was his sixth career win at Attica and he became the 176th different driver to win an All Star event.
“My dad (Les), Brad, Kevin , Kent …these guys behind me put a heck of a race car together. I have to thank my fiancée for doing everything she can for me. We worked well together this week,” added Mintz.
For Smith, a former Spring Nationals winner, a lot of progress was made over the weekend with the new CL Motorsports Black Bandit #19.
“I kept hearing and seeing him…I knew he was good. I was trying to use the whole race track up…he just got beside me and it was over. He did a great job,” said Smith beside his DDNI, GLR Investments backed #19. “I felt like we really gained here tonight. Last night we kind of went the wrong way. I’m proud of my guys…they are doing a great job and this is a great organization and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Two-time All Star champion Greg Wilson was also excited by the improvement for his All Star Plumbing & Heating, Hercules Tires, Ohio Logistics, DNC Hydraulics backed car.
“I was patient…Brian (Kemenah, crew chief) about being easy on the tires. I road around there for awhile creeping on the bottom and jumped up there pretty good but I really wasn’t hustling. When I saw the five to go I got after it a little bit. I don’t know if the best car won tonight but it was a hell of a race ahead of me,” said Wilson beside his Veryl Warnimont owned machine. “I want to thank all the fans for coming out on Easter weekend…it was a little chilly. Whether you’re a Greg Wilson fan or not, we need all you fans and we damn well appreciate it.”|
The 40-lap All Star feature had the fans on the edge of their seats the entire distance. Mintz would bolt into the lead at the drop of the green with Tim Shaffer, Wilson, Smith and Dustin Daggett in tow. Mintz would pull away slightly with Shaffer, Wilson and Smith waging a tremendous battle for second until the first caution flew on lap 10. When the green came back out, Mintz had his hands full with a high flying Smith while Wilson tried to hold of Shaffer for third with Friday night’s winner Dale Blaney closing.
Mintz and Smith raced side-by-side from lap 10-15 before Smith shot around for the lead, with Mintz glued to his rear bumper. Lap 17 was nearly catastrophic for Smith, as he bounced hard into the cushion in turns three and four, but he gathered his Black Bandit car back up and continued to lead over Mintz, a closing Wilson, Shaffer, Blaney, Chad Kemenah and Randy Hanagan up from his 13th starting spot. Smith and Mintz would run nose to tail and at times side by side through lap 24 when they encountered lapped traffic. Mintz began searching for the right spot to make his move and on lap 28, raced to Smith’s inside in turns three and four, bring Wilson along for a tremendous three car battle.
That trio would keep the crowd on their feet as they came to the flag stand for the five to go signal. Now with a little bit of clear track in front of them, Smith and Mintz pulled away slightly and continued their side-by-side duel with Wilson comfortably in third while Blaney and Hannagan rounded out the top five. As Smith and Mintz took the white – Smith on the top of turns one and two and Mintz in the middle, Mintz would get a good run down the back stretch. Smith would go to the cushion in three and four while Mintz ran the middle and as Smith tried to break his momentum, Mintz drove to the outside and it was a drag race to the checkered where Mintz won by a nose.
Attica Raceway Park – 4/7/2012
HD Supply Night
UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprints (44 Cars)
Heat 1 – Kear’s Speed Shop (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 49-Brad Sweet ; 2. 9X-Brandon Martin ; 3. 83-Tim Shaffer ; 4. O9-Craig Mintz ; 5. 14-Tony Stewart ; 6. 35-Stuart Brubaker ; 7. 22-Cole Duncan  ; 8. 12-Jared Ridge ; 9. 89G-David Gravel ; 10. 60-Kory Crabtree ; 11. 60K-Jody Keegan
Heat 2 – All Pro Aluminum Heads (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 2M-Dustin Daggett ; 2. 24H-Bryan Sebetto ; 3. 63-Chad Kemanah ; 4. 54-Cap Henry ; 5. 44W-Austin Wheatley ; 6. 5-Kasey Kahne ; 7. 45-Paul McMahan ; 8. 4-Danny Smith ; 9. 7X-Jamie Collard ; 10. 3L-Mike Linder ; 11. Os-Glenn Styres
Heat 3 – Dragon Race Fuels (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 70-Brad Haudenschild ; 2. 2-Dale Blaney ; 3. 9-Joey Saldana ; 4. W20-Greg Wilson  ; 5. 16-Chris Andrews ; 6. 3-Pete Miller III ; 7. 14W-Chad Wilson  ; 8. 2MH-Dalas Hewitt ; 9. 9Z-Duane Zablocki ; 10. 83M-Broc Martin ; 11. 14H-Todd Heller
Heat 4 – Kinsler Fuel Injection (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 19-Stevie Smith ; 2. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 3. D4-Danny Holtgraver ; 4. 53-Phil Gressman ; 5. 5R-Byron Reed ; 6. 1X-Randy Hannagan ; 7. 55-Brad Bowman ; 8. 5T-Travis Philo ; 9. O-Lee Jacobs ; 10. 7K-Kyle Sauder ; 11. 2+-Brian Smith
Dash –Outerwear’s Performance Products (10 Laps, finishing order determined first 6 starting positions of A-feature
1. 83-Tim Shaffer ; 2. O9-Craig Mintz ; 3. W20-Greg Wilson  ; 4. 2M-Dustin Daggett ; 5. 19-Stevie Smith ; 6. 54-Cap Henry
C-Main – Computer Man Inc. (10 Laps – Top 2 finishers transfer to the B-feature)
1. 7K-Kyle Sauder ; 2. 35-Stuart Brubaker ; 3. 83M-Broc Martin ; 4. 2MH-Dalas Hewitt ; 5. 2+-Brian Smith
B-Main – MSD Ignitions. (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 1X-Randy Hannagan ; 2. 5-Kasey Kahne ; 3. 3-Pete Miller III ; 4. 60K-Jody Keegan ; 5. 3L-Mike Linder ; 6. 14H-Todd Heller ; 7. 89G-David Gravel ; 8. 45-Paul McMahan ; 9. 7X-Jamie Collard ; 10. 12-Jared Ridge ; 11. O-Lee Jacobs ; 12. 4-Danny Smith ; 13. 14W-Chad Wilson  ; 14. 5T-Travis Philo ; 15. 7K-Kyle Sauder ; 16. 55-Brad Bowman ; 17. 9Z-Duane Zablocki ; 18. 35-Stuart Brubaker ; 19. 60-Kory Crabtree ; 20. 22-Cole Duncan 
UNOH A-Main – (40 Laps)
1. O9-Craig Mintz; 2. 19-Stevie Smith; 3. W20-Greg Wilson ; 4. 2-Dale Blaney; 5. 1X-Randy Hannagan; 6. 83-Tim Shaffer; 7. 63-Chad Kemanah; 8. 24H-Bryan Sebetto; 9. 16-Chris Andrews; 10. D4-Danny Holtgraver; 11. 54-Cap Henry; 12. 9X-Brandon Martin; 13. 5-Kasey Kahne; 14. 9-Joey Saldana; 15. 49-Brad Sweet; 16. 14-Tony Stewart; 17. 3-Pete Miller III; 18. 2M-Dustin Daggett; 19. 44W-Austin Wheatley; 20. 60K-Jody Keegan; 21. 70-Brad Haudenschild; 22. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild; 23. 53-Phil Gressman; 24. 5R-Byron Reed
Hard Charger: 24H-Bryan Sebetto[+10]