Event Preview: Factory Stock drivers gear up for Smackdown

PARIS, Texas (May 2, 2024) — With a chance to run for big money and take on some of the best talent in Factory Stock racing, drivers across North Texas and beyond are gearing up for the ninth annual Smackdown, presented by By-Line Surveying, now set for Saturday night at Rocket Raceway Park. 

Drivers were originally set to practice Thursday night and run two sets of qualifying Heats on Friday,  yet persistent rains have forced promoter Kevin Sustaire to host the full program on Saturday. If he gets it all in, 24 fortunate (well-prepared) teams will battle it out for a $2,500 winner’s purse in the A Main.  

USRA Limited Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, Eco Mods and and Jr. Limited Modifieds are also on the card this weekend. While Factory Stock may be the headliner this time around, competition in the four support divisions will be worth the price of admission on their own. 

Among the list of Factory Stock drivers planning to compete in this weekend’s Smackdown is current point leader Michael Smith. The soft-spoken local favorite says he’s confident going into the weekend.

“We like our chances for this weekend,” Smith said. “But mostly, we just want to go there, have fun, and see what we can do. I drive for Johnny Williams now, I’m in a new car that’s going really well. He offered us a ride, and we took it. 

“We did some work to the car, and everything seems to be going good. Yet I know the level of talent coming to this big-money event. If you’re able to win the feature this weekend, you’ll be able to say you beat some of the best.” 

Jeremy Fodge is another of the top contenders at Rocket hoping for a shot at the money this weekend. 

“We’re pretty excited for this race,” he said. “I have a bad feeling about the whole weather deal, but I sure do hope we can get it in on Saturday night. We had big plans for this event; we were going to surprise the Factory Stock world by putting IMCA Stock Car master Shelby Williams in the No. 69x.

“The car I’m driving is Michael’s (Smith) car, and I’m pretty new to the sport. They tell me I’m catching on quickly. We think our equipment is superior to most of what’s out there. We’re running in the top five with a rookie driver. If we can get Shelby into the car this weekend, we’re confident we can win.”

Brandon Bettis can hold his own against just about any of those who’ll be on hand at the Smackdown. 

“I think we have some of the best Factory Stock drivers in the state at Rocket,” he said. “Plus I know if we do get this thing in, we’ll have a few heavy hitters from outside our area make the drive for their shot at the money. Even with a reduced winner’s share, they’ll still turn out for a chance at $2,500.

“I certainly hope we can run up front and make a good showing in the Smackdown. I think last year we were running inside the top 10 when the driver messed up a little bit, and we didn’t get to finish. I’ll say since last September, we’ve started moving in the right direction. I have high hopes for Saturday night.”

If you can’t be there, you can still catch every lap of the ninth annual Smackdown at Rocket Raceway Park with a Membership at RaceON.com. With over 450 Live races on tap in 2024, there’s tons of great entertainment from tracks in several states. 

When you become a Member today, choose your favorite track and start enjoying great content while supporting the sport even when you can’t attend in person thanks to our revenue sharing program. 

By Phil Whipple, RaceON.com Staff Writer