Forty years ago in 1970,
Pete Hamilton, driving a Petty Superbird, was an upset winner in the Daytona
500.The event was televised on closed circuit TV. Among the first to greet
Hamilton in victory lane were Steady Eddie Flemke, Billy Harman and George Pendergast.
Thirty five years ago in 1975
the NASCAR Modifieds were part of Daytona speedweeks as they ran a 200-mile
event on the 4.1-mile infield road course. Merv Treichler took the win over
Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook, Billy Osmun, Don Flynn and Will Cagle. Bobby
Allison and Dick Brooks were the 125-mile qualifying race winners and in the
500 Benny Parsons scored an upset victory after late event leader David
Pearson spun out.
Thirty years ago in
1980, Richie Evans continued his win
streak at New Smyrna as he won on Monday and Tuesday. After a rain out on
Wednesday night, Geoff Bodine who had finished second to Evans the last two
times out came back on Thursday night and went on to wrack up three in a
row. The final night of competition saw Junior Handley take the series
finale over George Kent and Evans. Richie Evans as the overall point leader
and was crowned the series champion. Buddy Baker was the Daytona 500 winner
and in the process set a record speed of 177.602mph.
Twenty five years ago in 1985,
Reggie Ruggiero made it two in a row on Monday night at New Smyrna. Doug
Hewitt finished second and was followed by Charlie Jarzombek, Richie Evans,
Jamie Tomaino and Jim Spencer. Evans and Jim Spencer dominated the rest of
the week. Evans won on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and just lost out on the
series title, which was won by Spencer. At Daytona, Bill Elliot and Cale
Yarborough won the 125's.Geoff Bodine won the Busch Grand National 300 and
Elliot won the 500.
Twenty years ago in 1990,
Tiger Tom Baldwin made it two in a row at New Smyrna as he beat out Tony
Jankowiac on Monday night. Jay Hedgecock finished third with Richard Savory,
fourth. At Daytona, Darrell Waltrip took the pole for the NAPA 300 with Dale
Earnhardt on the outside. At New Smyrna on Tues night, Reggie Ruggiero took
the top spot with Jankowiac again second. Hedgecock abandoned New Smyrna and
went to Volusia County where he took the top spot over Jim Winks and Tom
Bolles. Baldwin also jumped ship but to no avail as he could do no better
than ninth. Wednesday night at New Smyrna Reggie Ruggiero was not to be
denied as he romped to victory over Jankowiac and Jeff Fuller. Meanwhile
over at Volusia, Jim Winks, driving for Ted Marsh took the win over Jerry
Cranmer. Jankowiac finally got it all together as he won at New Smyrna on
Thursday night. Ruggiero finished a close second but couldn't muster the
little extra needed to take the win. Jeff Fuller won at Volusia over Cranmer
and Winks. Ruggiero turned the tables on Friday night as he beat Jankowiac
to the stripe for his fourth win of the series. Hedgecock won the series
ending Richie Evans 100 on Saturday night. Jankowiac finished second and
wrapped up the series title. Dale Earnhardt dominated the entire Daytona 500
on Sunday until it came to the final lap. Going into turn three, he had a
tire go down and allowed Derike Cope to take home the win for Bob Witcomb.
Fifteen years ago in 1995,
It rained at New Smyrna on Monday night. At the Daytona Speedway, Michael
Waltrip took the pole for the Goodys 300.Dale Jarrett took the outside pole.
Tuesday night at New Smyrna saw a new name in victory lane as Tim Connelly
took the win over Mike Ewanitsko and Tom Baldwin. Just to show he was no
flash in the pan; Connelly came back and won the next three in a row on
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Reggie Ruggiero finished second on Wednesday
and was followed by Eric Beers and Ewanitsko. Steve Park finished second on
Thursday followed by Ted Christopher and on Friday, Ruggiero was second with
Jamie Tomaino, third. At Daytona on Thursday, Sterling Marlin and Dale
Earnhardt won the 125's.The Richie Evans 100 closed out the New Smyrna
series on Saturday night. Steve Park took the win over Baldwin, Tom Cravenho
and Beers. Connolly finished 14th and wrapped up the series championship.
Connolly drove the Bob Fuller No.17.
At Daytona, Chad Little came from a 42nd provisional spot to take
the win. Steve Grissom, who was leading when Little went by, lifted,
triggering a big wreck. Michael Waltrip finished second. Sterling Marlin
beat out Dale Earnhardt to win the Daytona 500.
Ten years ago in 2000,
rain washed out the action at New Smyrna on Monday night. On Tuesday, Ted
Christopher picked up where he left off as he recorded his third win of the
series. Charlie Pasteryak finished second with Jamie Tomaino and Mike
Ewanitsko following. On Wednesday night, Christopher and Mike Ewanitsko in
Joe Brady team cars finished one-two. Eric Beers, Jamie Tomaino and Doug
French rounded out the top five. Usually the 125-mile Daytona 500-mile
qualifiers are the best events of the week at Daytona but in 2000 they
produced little competition and no passing, turning the events into a bore.
Thursday night at New Smyrna saw Christopher continue his win streak in
spite of constant pressure from Jamie Tomaino and Junior Handley. Friday at
Daytona saw one of the most violent wrecks ever seen at the 2-1/2 mile oval
when Geoff Bodine all but destroyed his truck in a bone jarring wreck that
had everyone holding their breath. Bodine suffered a broken wrist and a
broken toe plus numerous scrapes. Junior Handley ended Christopher’s win
streak on Friday night as he went pole to pole to take the win at New Smyrna
over Tomaino, David Berghman, Doug French and Christopher.
At Daytona on Saturday, Matt Kenneth won the Busch Grand National
Goodys 300.Christopher and Ewanitsko ran one-two in the Richie Evans
Memorial 100.Handley finished third and was followed by Jim Willis,
Berghman, George Bock, Eric Beers and Bobby Santos III. Christopher was
awarded the series championship. At the Daytona 500, Dale Jarrett passed
Johnny Benson with two laps to go to win his third Daytona 500 Jeff Burton
finished second with Bill Elliott, third.
Five years ago in 2005,
after having Sunday night off the Modifieds and SK Modifieds returned to the
high banks at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida on Monday night. Ted
Christopher led the 22 car starting field to the green in the 25 lap
Modified feature. Christopher led the entire distance to record his second
win. Don Lia, who had been having handling problems, got it all together and
spent the closing moments of the race beating on Christopher’s rear bumper.
Christopher sealed his fate when he caught Lia sleeping on a restart with
two laps to go. Chuck Hossfeld finished third with Zach Sylvester and Eric
Beers rounding out the top five. Among the night’s casualties was Jonothan
McKennedy who took a hard shot into the wall just after he finished seventh.
His Michael Boehler owned No. 34 sustained considerable damage from the
impact and had to be towed from the scene. Tim Arre, driving the Connecticut
based Bear Motorsports No.14 continued to have bad luck as he was forced to
retire early in the event and ended up in 20th spot. In the SK Modified
feature Mike Holdridge was headed for victory until Chris Jones rode him up
and out of the racing groove in the closing moments. This incident opened
the door to Tim Arre who went on to take the win. The Super Late Models
enjoyed a night off.
Ted Christopher scored a one-two punch in World Series action at
New Smyrna on Tuesday night as he won not only the Modified feature but the
Super Late Model feature as well.. Thirty seven Modifieds including 15 SKs
were on hand. It looked like Don Lia had finally shaken off the bad luck
that has plagued him in Florida as he took the lead in the Modified 25 lap
feature on the first lap from Charlie Pasteryak. His bubble burst on lap 10
when a transmission malfunction forced him out of the event, handing the
lead to Christopher. Kevin Goodale had his best run to date in the series as
he finished second. Zach Sylvester finished a solid third with Eric Beers,
fourth. Riverhead Raceway hot shoe JR Bertuccio replaced Tim Arre in the
Bear Motorsports No. 14 and recorded a fifth in his first outing. Chuck
Hossfeld finished sixth with Charlie Pasteryak, seventh. Christopher, who is
on the cover of the latest issue of Speedway Illustrated, started on the
pole and led every lap of the Super Late Model feature. One of the biggest
wrecks in the history of the speedway occurred during the event when Ryan
Mathews got launched into the catch fence on the front chute when he rode
over second place runner David Rogers. After tearing up the catch fence
Mathews flipped high in the air and went end over end past the starters
stand and landed almost to the entrance of turn one. Mathews escaped with
minor bumps and bruises but the event was red-flagged for an extended period
while the fence was repaired.
The temperatures and competition heated up last Wednesday night as
the Modifieds at New Smyrna went 50 laps. The heat was on as temps hit the
low 80’s during the day and Ted Christopher remained hot at night as he made
it four out of five in World Series competition. Eddie Flemke and the Hill’s
Enterprises team joined the mix as a full field of 24 Modifieds went to post
for their first extra distance event. Kevin Goodale, who qualified seventh,
drew the pole and led the charge to the green flag. The first caution period
of the night came on lap 2 when JR Bertuccio had the misfortune of having
his Bear Motorsports No.14 catch fire as he came to a halt on the
backstretch. The field no sooner took the green flag when Eddie Flemke came
to a grinding halt in turn three. It appeared that Flemke had a right rear
tire blow out which turned him into the unforgiving concrete wall. Flemke’s
car sustained heavy damage including having the right front suspension torn
off. Caution no.3 came on lap five when Goodale got a little over excited
while leading the restart and spun. Also collected were Jeff Malave, Andy
Seuss and Jonathan McKennedy. Christopher inherited the lead and was
untouchable for the rest of the distance as he captured his fourth win of
the series. Chuck Hossfeld finished second with Eric Beers, third. Rounding
out the top five were Charlie Pasteryak and Curtis Truex JR. Don Lia
continued to have problems as his car came to a halt in a cloud of smoke on
the 17th lap. Eric Beers was the SK Modified winner with Chris Jones,
A new winner emerged in Modified competition on Thursday night as
Riverhead, Long Islands’ Kevin Goodale won his first ever Modified feature.
Goodale started on the outside of pole sitter Zach Sylvester. Shortly after
Sylvester led the charge to the green in the 25 lap feature he spun between
turns one and two. Goodale assumed the lead and never looked back as he
sprinted to victory ahead of Ted Christopher and Eric Beers. Sylvester
restarted in the rear but was never a factor as he finished 12th in the
final rundown. Don Lia and Andy Seuss rounded out the top five. Ed Flemke
made it back as he finished behind sixth and seventh place finishers Chuck
Hossfeld and Charlie Pasteryak. With the exception of a delay caused when a
Sportsman car took out 100 feet of fence on the backstretch it was a
relatively quiet night. Among the missing were JR Bertuccio and the Bear
Motorsports No.14 who called it a week as they were out of motors. Steve
Reed was the SK Modified winner over Eric Beers and Dave Michael.
Don Lia, who had less than a satisfying week at New Smyrna, more
than made up for it as he won the Friday night Richie Evans Memorial 100.
Lia was the top qualifier and started on the pole. Lia was the class of the
field until pitting under caution at the half way mark for fresh tires.
Chuck Hossfeld, who started second, elected to stay out and assumed the lead
with Kevin Goodale in tow. Hossfeld was planning on going non-stop until his
tires started giving out shortly after the 75 lap mark. Hossfeld was hoping
to hang on but to no avail as he was forced to pit with victory in sight
with ten laps to go. Lia had sliced his way to the front and took over the
top spot on lap 91 and went on to take the victory. Goodale finished second.
Hossfeld made a determined charge after restarting in the rear of the field
and managed to salvage a third place finish at the end. Charlie Pasteryak
and Curtis Truex Jr. rounded out the top five. Ted Christopher had one
problem after another. After starting sixth, Christopher worked his way up
to the runner-up spot before he pitted with the leaders at the half way
mark. After numerous pit stops the defending Stafford Speedway champ worked
his way back to fourth spot only to spin out of contention on lap 97. He
ended up 8th in the final rundown. Despite a hard wreck in practice Eddie
Flemke had one of the fastest cars in the field. After starting 11th Flemke
worked his way into the top five by lap 24 only to tangle with Goodale and
spin. After pitting at half way Flemke came back to close in on Jeff Malave
who was running fourth at the time and was able to make the pass. Flemke and
Lia battled for position. On lap 68 contact was made and Flemke spun to the
infield and was hit by Jonathan McKennedy who also hit Zach Sylvester. All
three were done for the night. Chris Jones was the SK Modified winner over
Steve Reed and Dave Michael.
Chuck Hossfeld won the final battle of the 2005 World Series of
Asphalt Modified racing at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida but it was Ted
Christopher who won the war as he wrapped up the Modified series
championship for himself and car owner Joe Brady. In the night’s 25 lap
feature Charlie Pasteryak led the pack to the starting green with Chuck
Hossfeld in hot pursuit. Andy Seuss spun on the front chute. Before the
caution came out Hossfeld had taken the lead from Pasteryak. Pasteryak got
hung out to dry after a gentle nudge by Christopher. By the half way mark
Hossfeld continued to lead with Don Lia moving into the runner-up spot.
Curtis Truex had been running in second spot but he had gotten shuffled back
to fifth spot. Truex’s night came to an end on lap 14 when he hit the turn 2
wall after an encounter with Christopher. Following Hossfeld at the finish
were Lia, Eric Beers, Zach Sylvester, Christopher, Kevin Goodale and
Pasteryak. Steve Reed
was the SK Modified winner. In addition to winning the Modified title
Christopher finished fourth in the Super Late Model standings. Louis
Mechalides took the Super Late Model title.
Tony Stewart won the Hershey’s Take 5 300 Busch Series race in
spectacular fashion. Not only did he avoid trouble on lap 95 when he drove
through the grass in Turn 1 and then simply drove right back onto the
banking into traffic, but he also came from 17th place in the closing laps
for the win on Saturday at the Daytona International Speedway. Kevin Harvick
finished second, with Dale Earnhardt Jr., defending series champion Martin
Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne rounding out the top five. Raybestos Rookie of the
Year candidate Reed Sorenson ran with the leaders most of the day and
finished ninth. Fellow rookie Carl Edwards (10th place) was the only other
NASCAR Busch Series regular to finish in the top 10. Jeff Gordon came out on
top to win his third Daytona 500. The four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
champion grabbed the lead from Dale Earnhardt Jr. with three laps to go,
then held off the defending race winner during the final three-lap dash to
For the second year in a row, Tony Stewart led the most laps and
was in position to take his first win in the "Great American Race," but was
shuffled back through the pack when Earnhardt passed him with five laps to
go, eventually winding up seventh at the finish line. Kurt Busch pressured
Gordon as the finish but had to settle for second, while Earnhardt took
third. Scott Riggs garnered an impressive fourth-place finish while Gordon's
teammate, Jimmie Johnson, finished fifth.
Last year, 2009,
after having Sunday off to repair and refresh some of the tour type and SK
type Modifieds that were damaged in the first two nights of the World Series
at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida a near full field was on hand. Among
those on hand for race #3 was Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman. Ted Christopher
beat out Newman at Loudon in 2008. Newman redeemed himself at New Smyrna on
Monday night. The closing laps saw numerous lead changes between the two and
in the end at the checkered flag it was Newman in for the win by inches.
Christopher finished second and was followed by Eric Goodale, John Jensen
and Jon McKennedy. Jimmy Blewett made it three in a row in SK type Modified
competition Eric Goodale and Ted Christopher led the 23 car field down for
the start of the night’s 25 lap feature. Before one lap was completed
Christopher had taken the lead. Matt Hirschman slowed immediately in what
was suspected to be transmission problems. A big wreck on the seventh lap
collected Ryan Preece, Chuck Hossfeld, Bobby Grigas, III, Jon McKennedy,
Jimmy Blewett, Louie Mechalides, Richard Savory and Eric Goodale.
Christopher continued to survive several restarts while Goodale slipped a
bit, which opened a door for Newman. Newman dogged the defending NASCAR
champion until the closing laps when he blew him away with an outside pass
on a restart.
When Jimmy Blewett took the checkered flag in the SK type Modified
15 lapper it was almost 12:30am on Tuesday morning. Frank Ruocco, Jimmy
Zacharis and David Cranmer rounded out the top five. Those five were the
only drivers who finished the race.
Ted Christopher ended his World Series dry spell on Tuesday night
as he won the Tour type Modified 25 lap feature. Jimmy Blewett remained
unbeatable in the SK type Modifieds as he went pole to pole to record his
fourth feature win in the division.
Monday night’s winner Ryan Newman started on the pole of the
Modified feature with Jimmy Blewett on the outside. Blewett jumped into the
lead at the start. Newman faded a bit as Christopher, who started third,
moved into the runner-up spot. By the eighth lap Christopher had moved into
the lead. Newman continued to fade as Chuck Hossfeld moved into the third
position. In what looked to becoming a non-stop event changed quickly as
Eric Goodale, Matt Hirschman and Ryan Preece wrecked together in turn four
on the 16th lap. Once the cars and debris was cleared the feature went
non-stop from there. Blewett had nothing for Christopher and was forced to
settle for second. Hossfeld ended up third with Ronnie Silk, fourth. It was
the first night of competition for Silk and the Roger Hill Race Team. Jon
McKennedy rounded out the top five. Ryan Newman rebounded from a pit stop on
lap 16 to finish sixth.
Following Blewett in the SK type Modified feature were Bobby
Grigas, III, Frank Ruocco, David Cranmer and Ron Schultz. The event was cut
two laps short when Jimmy Zacharias, Eric Goodale and Wayne Arute were all
involved in grinding crash on the front stretch. Arute got the worst of it,
hitting the wall head-on. He exited the car uninjured, but his car suffered
The tour type Modifieds at New Smyrna ran the 50 lap John Blewett
III Memorial 50 lapper on Wednesday night. Ronnie Silk, in his second night
of competition, took the win over Ted Christopher, Matt Hirschman, Jimmy
Blewett and Eric Goodale. Jimmy Blewett made it five in a row in SK type
Early in the evening Louie Mechalides replaced Frank Ruocco in the
Bear Motorsports No. 14. Ruocco picked up a ride in the Joe Brady back-up
car. Chuck Hossfeld drew the pole starting spot and took the lead at the
start. By the second lap Silk had closed on the leader and was applying the
heat. Hossfeld got a slight reprieve when Mechalides spun in turn two,
bringing out the caution. Shortly after the field restarted Hirschman
brought out the caution when he spun on the front stretch, hitting the water
barrels that guard pit road. Hirschman was able to drive away and rejoin the
field. Hossfeld led until lap 11 when he gave way to a determined Silk. The
caution flew again on lap 23 for Shelly Perry who spun on the back stretch
and for Steve Witt who hit the wall at the start-finish line. On the
restart, Hossfeld, who had been running second, faded. Eric Goodale moved
into the runner-up spot. At just about the same time Richard Savory’s engine
innards in a billow of smoke. Following a realignment of the field Silk
jumped out to a sizeable lead with Goodale, Ryan Preece, Bob Grigas and
Hossfeld in tow.
On lap 46, Ryan Preece had a run on Eric Goodale for second place
on the backstretch. Preece pulled out and Goodale threw a block on him. The
pair made contact and Goodale went spinning down low. Preece made it to the
end of the straightway when his right rear tire went down. He then slid up
into Chuck Hossfeld, who impacted the outside wall in turn three. Preece
drove away and pitted for a new tire. Goodale also drove away and pitted.
Hossfeld was hauled off by a wrecker. On the restart Silk led Grigas,
Christopher, Ruocco and Hirschman. Grigas got a little over excited as he
went high on the track and gave way to Christopher. In the end, Christopher
had nothing for Silk. Christopher settled for second with Hirschman, third.
Jimmy Blewett and Eric Goodale rounded out the top five. Grigas ended up in
sixth spot and Preece in eighth.
Finishing behind Blewett in the Wednesday night SK type event was
Frank Ruocco, Brad Van Hooten, Tommy Farrell and Jimmy Zacharias.
In tour type Modified action on Thursday night Ted Christopher
scored his second victory of the series. Jimmy Blewett continued to dominate
in the SK types as he made it six in a row. Despite the fact that usually by
Thursday there had been thousands of race fans in the Daytona-New Smyrna
area the crowds were down to say the least. At New Smyrna the grandstands
were less than half full and at Daytona where usually the Sprint Cup Duals
are near a sell out there were considerable empty seats observed.
In the Modified 25 lapper, Christopher started from the pole and
jumped out to an early lead at the start over Chuck Hossfeld, Matt
Hirschman, Jimmy Blewett and Bobby Grigas, III. The first caution of the
race fell on lap 3 when Frank Ruocco, driving the Joe Brady back-up, hit the
second turn wall near the beginning of the backstretch. Christopher led the
restart and was followed by Hossfeld, Ronnie Silk, Blewett, Grigas and
Hirschman who had faded since the start. Silk, who was looking to make it
two in a row, took over the runner-up spot on lap 10 after getting by
Hossfeld on the low side. The caution flew again on lap 14, this time for
John Jensen who had come to a stop on the front stretch. Once the field went
back to green Silk turned up the heat on the backside of the leader. On lap
17 Silk took the lead in a somewhat rough way. Christopher returned the
favor on lap 22 as he re-took the lead. Grigas followed as Silk slipped to
third. Christopher held on for the win and was followed by Grigas, Silk,
Hirschman, Hossfeld, Blewett, Eric Goodale, Rob Fuller, Jon McKennedy and
In SK type competition Blewett took the lead from Frank Ruocco on
lap 3 and that’s the name of that tune!
The Richie Evans Memorial 100 was the main attraction at New Smyrna
on Friday night. Each year the New Smyrna Speedway honors the fallen
Champion and icon to the sport of open wheeled Modified Racing. The RE 100
was the most exciting event of the week and kept the near capacity crowd on
its feet for most of the event. Ted Christopher was the eventual winner
after trading the lead close to ten times with Ronnie Silk. Temperatures
were in the high 50’s-low 60’s at race time.
Jimmy Blewett took the lead on the start with Silk on his rear
bumper. Silk passed Blewett for the lead on lap 3. The first caution of the
evening flew on lap 11 for Shelly Perry who spun in turn 4. The restart was
aborted when Vinnie Annarummo spun by himself. Annarummo was driving the Joe
A strange thing happened on lap 11. Danny Marcello arrived at the
track and was allowed to join the event. That was a dumb move by who ever
made that decision as he could have wrecked half the field with an untested
car. Marcello was black flagged for not getting up to speed. A big logjam
took place on the restart. Several cars got together on the front stretch as
the green flag came out. Those involved include Kevin Goodale, Chuck
Hossfeld, JR Bertuccio, Rob Fuller, Ted Christopher, Jimmy Blewett, Jon
McKennedy and Ryan Preece. The field returned to green flag conditions. All
continued except Blewett as his car was sidelined with rear end problems.
The caution flew again on lap 28. Butch Perry spun. Among those who pitted
were Christopher, Chuck Hossfeld and Ryan Preece. Silk continued to lead as
the field went back to green. At the halfway point, it was Silk, Bobby
Grigas, Eric Goodale, Hirschman, Andy Seuss, John Jensen, Kevin Goodale, JR
Ted Christopher and Peter Jarvis. Butch Perry spun again on lap 53. Silk and
most of the front runners pitted. Eric Goodale inherited the lead on the
restart. With 13 cars left running Jensen pulled Goodale on the restart.
Christopher stormed his way to the front and on lap 60 took the lead. Grigas
and Silk came with him into second and third as Jensen dropped to fourth. At
lap 67 the racing was at a fever pitch. Silk made bonsai move on the low
side of Christopher to take the lead. Not one to take it sitting down,
Christopher rose to the occasion on lap 69 to retake the top spot. At lap
77, Silk passed Christopher again for the lead. Christopher tried a
crossover move to retake the lead, but it didn't work. The caution flew
again on lap 79 for the Perry’s who wrecked each other. Silk and Christopher
served up a see-saw battle for the lead. Christopher took the lead for the
final time on lap 96. Following Christopher at the finish was Silk, Grigas,
Hirschman, Kevin Goodale and Chuck Hossfeld.
Jimmy Blewett made it seven in a row in the SK type Modifieds.
Kevin Goodale was second, Tom Ferrall, Jimmy Zacharias, and Rob Schultz
rounded out the top five.
Saturday night was pretty much a lame duck session for the
Modifieds and the SK types. Ted Christopher had already sewed up the tour
type Modified Championship and Jimmy Blewett, the SK types.
With only 17 tour type Modifieds left for the final night Ted
Christopher made it three in a row and four for the week in World Series
competition at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. Christopher’s main
competition Ronnie Silk was on his way home to Connecticut as the Roger Hill
Race Team headed for North Carolina. Jimmy Blewett completed a perfect week
of SK type Modified racing as he went eight for eight.
Matt Hirschman and Bobby Grigas brought the field down for the
start. Christopher started fifth. Once on the backstretch the front runners
went three wide. Grigas, who had a tire getting soft and JR Bertuccio made
contact. Both hit the wall a ton and in the process collected Jimmy Blewett,
Hirschman, Kevin Goodale and Darwin Green. Bertuccio took out his
frustrations on Grigas with a barrage of foul language, punches and kicks
aimed at Grigas even though the culprit was a leaking tire! Eric Goodale led
the restart with Christopher, second. By lap 5 Andy Seuss had moved into
second spot after starting in seventh spot. Seuss was able to get close but
was unable to make a move on Christopher. At the finish, Christopher took
the win. Eric Goodale beat Seuss by a whisker for the runner up spot. Seuss
settled for third. Jon McKennedy and Hirschman rounded out the top five.
In NASCAR action at the Daytona International Speedway Jeff Gordon
and Kyle Busch were the winners of the Thursday Gatorade Dual 150 mile
Daytona 500 qualifying races. Gordon, ended the longest winless drought of
his career by winning the first duel. Busch also made an overdue return to
Victory Lane, where he was a frequent visitor in 2008 before tailing off
when the championship was on the line. Busch won eight races and led the Cup
standings most of the season, but started to falter in August and fell apart
when the Chase for the championship began.
Tony Stewart held off a last-lap challenge from Kyle Busch to win
the Nationwide race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart
passed 23 cars in 11 laps to get back into contention after pitting with 30
laps to go in the 120-lap Camping World 300, then hung onto the lead as
Busch, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer fought for position. Brad Keselowski
led several times and appeared to be one of the cars to beat, but he banged
off the wall on lap 108. Two laps later, his right rear tire blew, bringing
out the last of six caution flags and setting up the dash to the finish.
Edwards led at that point, but Stewart, with help from Chevy driver Bowyer,
pushed past into the lead after the restart on lap 114.As the laps wound
down, Stewart seemed to be a sitting duck, especially after Busch, who won
10 Nationwide races last year, moved into second place three laps from the
end. On the final trip around the 2.5-mile oval, Busch moved up to Stewart's
rear bumper and gave him a nudge. Stewart's car wobbled and drifted high as
Busch's Toyota moved nearly alongside. But, somehow, Stewart stayed just
ahead of Busch. Then Edwards and defending series champion Bowyer went to
the outside to pass Busch.
Matt Kenseth drove from the back of the field to take the Daytona
500 lead minutes before the sky opened up, handing the former series
champion his first victory in NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl.
Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Kenseth’s bad
luck followed him into Daytona International Speedway. He wrecked his
primary car, had to go to a backup and started Sunday’s race in last place.
But As Rain Closed In On The Season-Opening Event, The Field Turned It Up A
Notch, anticipating the race would not go the distance. Kenseth used a huge
push from Kevin Harvick to pass Elliott Sadler with 54 laps to go. Caution
came out moments later for an accident started by Paul Menard, and the rain
that had been threatening all day finally arrived. NASCAR stopped the race
two laps later, and the cars were called to pit road. Some drivers climbed
from their cars to await NASCAR’s decision on whether to restart the race,
but Kenseth sat patiently inside his parked Ford on pit road. When NASCAR
declared it over, the 2003 Cup champion tearfully climbed from his car to
celebrate his victory, which snapped a 36-race winless streak. It was also
the first Daytona 500 win for team owner Jack Roush. Kevin Harvick, who used
a push from Kenseth to win the 500 in 2007, finished second. AJ Allmendinger,
who had to race his way into the field in one of Thursday’s qualifiers,
finished third. Clint Bowyer was fourth and Sadler was fifth, devastated he
lost the lead moments before the rain stopped the race.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly,
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail,email@example.com.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
week are several vintage racing photos of NEAR Hall Of Famer Billy Harman,
Photos from Billy Harman's Collection
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive