When the car of Antioch, California’s Buddy Kniss (background) spun, Kevin Smith took evasive action. Then, Smith went for a ride during the Duel in the Desert at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. The incident occurred during an IMCA modified heat race on Thursday.
“The track was slick, and the car that spun was rolling down the track,” Smith, of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, said. “I turned to avoid him, my car slid, and the right front dug in.”
Despite the tough tumble that followed, Smith was not hurt. Smith sat in a Kirkey full-containment seat, with a Hooker Harness five-point harness. He wore a Simpson helmet, with a Simpson Hybrid Sport head-and-neck restraint.
“I wasn’t injured at all, but I was stuck hanging upside-down in the car,” said Smith. “I couldn’t release my [head-and-neck restraint] and get my helmet off.”
With assistance from the track crew, Smith swiftly exited the car.
“The track crew did everything right,” Smith said. “I appreciate that they were prepared for the situation of getting a driver with a [head-and-neck-restraint] out of a car quickly.”
The incident bent the right-front frame rail of Smith’s Larry Shaw Race Cars chassis by two inches. He had to replace the right-front A-arms and spindle as well.
“We worked until three o’clock in the morning using a Porto-Power and a welder to get everything back together for the Friday’s racing,” said Smith of the aftermath of the crash. “We came a long way and we wanted to race.”
Kevin Smith raced again on Friday, only to have his car’s right-front corner receive damage again in an on-track skirmish. He qualified for the Wild West Modified Tour season finale on Saturday, where he finished eighth. Smith also raced the Legends feature for veteran racers, where he placed eighth also.
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 50th year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.