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Being a champion, the end goal is always to win. But at the end of the day, defending the Grand National Championship is the ultimate goal. So Bryan Smith was okay with getting through the first two tracks – the Daytona TT and Atlanta Short Track – with a decent points haul with a second-place finish in Daytona and a third-place finish in Atlanta before heading to the bigger tracks he prefers.

“Yeah… a TT and technically a short track,” Bryan said about the 3/8-mile clay track in Woodstock, Georgia. “This is a pretty big short track, but… To be right there in the points is good. The ovals are getting bigger and I like the bigger ovals. I wanted to go the other way on the podium and get a win.

“I felt pretty good all day. It was just one of those things. I just couldn’t get that next little click better all day. I was just kind of stuck there in second, third fastest. Slipped back there in the main to fourth for a little bit and finally reeled Brad back in. It was just so one-lined, so then when you’d move off your one line you’d screw up and lose everything you made up. I don’t even know how I could do any better if I could re-do it right now. We got seven days to figure it out.

So Bryan heads to Charlotte with some thinking to do. “I’m going to be beating my head on the wall the next 48 hours over what we can make or change or build to get me a win at Charlotte,” he said. “I won there two years ago and was on track there to win last year, I felt like. It would be a good place to get my first Indian win.”

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