The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


February 22, 2011

   Racing for the Modifieds and SK Modifieds resumed on Monday night at the New Smyrna Speedway. The car count for the SK Modifieds remained at seven as the Modifieds picked up Burt and Jason Myers along with Kevin Flockhart. Chuck Hossfeldt to the lead at the start and led the entire 25 lap distance holding off Ted Christopher for the win. Earl Paules finished third with Burt Myers, fourth. Ron Silk rounded out the top five. Earl Paules was the SK Modified winner and Brian Hoar was the ACT Late Model winner.

   Tuesday night at New Smyrna saw the Modified field swell to 17 while the SKs remained at seven. Joining the field was James Civali, George Brunnhoelzl III and Ryan Preece. Chuck Hossfeld jumped out to the lead position at the start and despite trading the No.1 spot with Ted Christopher on numerous occasions was able to score the win. Ronnie Silk ended up second with Christopher finishing after a late race tangle. George Brunnhoelzl III finished fourth with Burt Myers, fifth. Ryan Preece was in the field but was disqualified because his team neglected to register the car. The SK Modifieds went 20 laps with Ronnie Silk taking the win.

   Wednesday night at New Smyrna saw the running of the annual John Blewett III Memorial 50 lapper. The 16 Modifieds on hand didn’t disappoint as this event turned out to be the most competitive of the series so far. Among the new faces in the field was Justin Bonsignore who was driving the Hillbilly team car to James Civali. Burt Myers started on the pole of the 50 lapper and quickly jumped out to an early lead with Civali in tow. The first caution of the night came on lap four with liquid on the track, the culprit. Myers led the restart with Civali and Ted Christopher in hot pursuit. Christopher turned the wick up and on lap 12 passed Civali for second. On lap 15 Christopher got the best of Myers as he took the lead. The caution flew on lap 22 as the Eddie Partridge entry of Ronnie Silk caught on fire. Silk returned for the restart which saw Myers retake the lead from Christopher. Christopher fought back as he retook the lead on lap 34. The caution flew on lap 42 when Silk hit the wall in turn four. At just about the same time Christopher gave up the lead as he pitted the Joe Brady #00 with transmission trouble. On the restart Burt Myers led but his quest for glory was short lived as Civali elbowed his way inside to move Bowman Grey Champion up and out of the groove. Myers slipped to fifth. Civali didn’t last on the point as Earl Paules took the lead with Chuck Hossfeld in tow with three laps to go. Meanwhile Christopher returned without losing a lap and was making a determined march to the front. As Paules took the win with Hossfeldt second Christopher made a bonsai move on Civali as they exited turn four. Civali spun and collected Bonsignore, his teammate. Christopher escaped as he finished third. Bonsignore, going backward, finished fourth. Jason Myers rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Patrick Emerling, George Brunnhoelzl III, Burt Myers, Jin Zacharias and Civali.
Ronnie Silk won the SK 15 lapper.

   The Modifieds went back to the 25 lap format on Thursday night. Sixteen Modifieds went to post. Pole sitter Ted Christopher jumped out at the drop of the green to take the lead over Chuck Hossfeld and James Civali. Civali created some excitement on lap six when he got Christopher squirrelly after a love tap. Civali took the lead but TC took it back one lap later. The only other action in the event came on lap 22 when Earl Paules, who was running fifth, spun. At the finish it was Christopher taking the win over Civali, Hossfeld, Burt Myers and Paules. Sixth through ninth were Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk, Jason Myers and Ryan Preece. The SK Modified field continued at six with Ron Silk taking the 15 lap win.

   Friday night saw the running of the annual Richie Evans 100. The Modified field continued to total 14. Patrick Emerling started on the pole with Ted Christopher in the outside pole slot. Emerling took the lead at the start with Ron Silk second and Christopher slipping to third. On lap four Silk slipped by Emerling and Christopher slipped by them both. On lap 10 Silk returned the favor as he retook the top spot only to give it back to Christopher one lap later. Once back into the lead TC was all business. By lap 50 he had a full straight a way lead. The caution flew on lap 60 when James Civali and his teammate Justin Bonsignore spun. Christopher led the restart but Silk had got a second wind and by lap 65 took the lead. Both swapped the lead before Silk settled into the top spot. On lap82 Bonsignore slowed and brought out the caution. Silk led the restart with Christopher blowing the chrome horn. While the two front runners were trying to regain control James Civali, who was running third, took the lead. A slow leak in one of Civali’s tires went undetected following a spin by another competitor on lap 89. On the restart slipped up the track and crashed with Silk. Christopher inherited the lead and following the restart went on to take the win. Earl Paules finished second and was followed by Emerling, Bonsignore and George Brunnhoelzl III. Rounding out the top ten was Ryan Preece, Chuck Hossfeldt, Burt Myers, Jason Myers and Silk. Civali finished 11th.

   Earl Paules was the SK Modified winner. The New Smyrna Speedway enjoyed a near capacity crowd for this event.

   With the Richie Evans Memorial in the record books many of the Modified Tour teams called it quits and headed home. For last Saturday nights finale a lean field of nine cars were on hand. Ted Christopher lined up on the pole with Burt Myers on the outside. At the drop of the green of the series ending 25 lapper Christopher jumped out in front with Myers in tow. The caution flew on lap 6 for Patrick Emerling who spun. Christopher led the restart as Chuck Hossfeld dove under Myers to take the second spot. Hossfeld had his No. 22 hooked up as he closed on Christopher’s bumper. Christopher’s handling was off as Hossfeld made a bottom shot under TC on lap 10 to take over the lead. The upstate New Yorker never looked back as he sprinted home the winner on the final night of competition. Burt Myers finished second with Christopher, third. His third place finish earned him enough points to beat out Hossfeld for the series title by 6 points. Earl Paules
finished fourth in the feature with Emerling, fifth. Jason Myers finished sixth.

   Dick Berggren sent word that Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion Bobby Santos III had a HUGE crash in Daytona on Thursday while practicing for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race. A pitman arm broke as he was coming off turn four and he hammered the inside wall driver’s side. “With the old style cars and seats, it was unsurvivable, but, this is today and he was unhurt” stated Berggren. He added, “He walked out of the garage without a limp even, complaining of a sore ankle. Hit so hard, they shut the track down for around an hour while they completely replaced an entire section of the steel wall where he hit and bent it.” Santos did race in the Nationwide Race in Daytona 2 days following a practice crash. Santos raced Aric Almirola's backup car out of the JR Motorsports (Dale Earnhardt Jr’s) stable.
Santos ran as high as tenth in the Nationwide Series race and in the end finished 23rd. As always, the efforts of Berggren and Mike Joy in their announcing duties at the Daytona races went above and beyond the call. Once again, a job well done!

   A smaller restrictor-plate was used in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel at Daytona in an attempt to lower the horsepower and keep the cars from running over 200 miles per hour in the draft. On Sunday, NASCAR lowered the tolerance in the air inlet on the front grille and a pressure relief valve on the radiators to force the cars to unlock from a two-car draft in order to keep the engine temperatures down. The new size for the restrictor plate is 57/64ths of an inch — a reduction of 1/64th. That’s a decrease of 12-horsepower and in turn will lower the rpm (revolutions per minute) after some teams reported running more than 9,000 rpm in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Int’l Speedway Saturday night. Two-car packs ran speeds exceeding 206 mph in the race.

   In TV land 2011 Speedweeks in Daytona is now history as the NASCAR traveling circus heads west to Phoenix, Arizona. NASCAR Now on espn2 will be seen at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Race Hub on the Speed Channel will be seen at 7:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday at noon the Speed Channel will replay the Daytona 500 from flag to flag. Later in the day at 8:00pm the Speed Channel will highlight the 10 best Earnhardt Moments from the world of NASCAR and at 8:30pm the 10 best Daytona Moments from the world of NASCAR. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel will replay the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 that was run at Daytona. Speed goes live on Friday at 11:00am for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at the Phoenix Intl. Raceway. Nationwide Series practice follows at 1:00 and Sprint Cup practice follows at 2:30pm. At 4:00pm the Nationwide Series has their final 60-minute practice. Live coverage continues at 5:00pm with Truck Series qualifying followed by Sprint Cup final practice at 6:00pm. At 7:30pm the Speed Channel has a pre-race show at 7:30pm, which will lead in to the start of the Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at 8:00. Rounding out the day on Speed is Speed Center at 10:30pm and Trackside at Phoenix at 11:00pm. Saturday’s viewing begins at 1:00pm with NASCAR Live at Phoenix. At 2:00pm the action moves to espn2 for Nationwide Series qualifying. Sprint Cup qualifying follows at 3:30pm. The action shifts back to Speed at 4:30 for NASCAR Live. At 5:00 its back to espn2 for the Nationwide Series pre-race show which will lead in to the 5:30 start of the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at the Phoenix Intl. Raceway. Sundays viewing begins at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. At 11:00am it’s NASCAR Performance on Speed. At noon Speed Center Motor News takes over. At 12:30pm NASCAR RaceDay has a two-hour preview of the Phoenix Sprint Car race. At 2:30 the viewing moves to FOX for a 30 minute pre-race show that will lead to the 3:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix Intl. Raceway. At 6:00pm on Sunday the action switches to Versus for "Dirt Knights". At 7:00pm the Speed Channel presents Speed Center, a new Motorsports news series show. At 8:00 it’s the NASCAR Victory Lane. At 9:00pm the Speed Channel has Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.

   On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had negative results for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.78 to 29.75 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.09 to 1.94 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 14.74. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.10 to 4.50 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.88 to 43.75 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.59 to 14.89. The car builders had a good week with the exception of Ford which dropped 0.61 to 15.77. General Motors went up 0.06 to 36.51 and Toyota jumped 3.15 to 93.20. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.00 to 38.48 and Lowes went up 1.21 to 26.30. The major car sponsors had a good week with the exception of Coca-Cola, which dropped 0.09 to 55.13, and Target Department Stores, which dropped 2.49 to 51.90. Dupont jumped 1.40 to 55.98 while Aarons Rentals went up 3.58 to 23.91 and Fedex went up 2.90 to 98.32.

   That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: February 22, 2011

©2011 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.