February 17, 2012
five years ago in 1967, Curtis Turner in a Smokey Yunick Chevelle
took the pole for the ninth annual Daytona 500.Turner toured the 2-1/2 mile
oval at 180.831 mph. Second fastest and taking the outside pole was Richard
Petty. Petty went 179.068 mph. A total of 56 cars attempted to qualify.
Forty years ago in 1972, Bobby
Issac in the K & K Dodge took the pole for the Daytona 500.Second fastest
was AJ Foyt. Andy Hampton won the ARCA 300 at Daytona. Iggy Katona finished
second with Red Farmer, third. Speedweeks in Daytona was the beginning of a
big year of change for NASCAR. Bill France Sr, who formed NASCAR, stepped
down as President and in his place was Bill Jr, 38 years old at the time.
Before he stepped down, France Sr. reorganized the Grand National (Winston
Cup) tour into a 31-event championship program, which eliminated events of
less than 250 miles and dirt track events.
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
the Modifieds were added to the World Series of Asphalt Racing at the New
Smyrna Speedway. Fred DeSarro was the opening night winner. Richie Evans
finished second in the 25-lap event and was followed by Geoff Bodine, Ronnie
Bouchard, Bugsy Stevens, Merv Treichler and George Kent. Geoff Bodine, in
the Richard Armstrong No.1 came back to win the next three with Evans the
bridesmaid on all three occasions. Donnie Allison was the Daytona 500 pole
sitter with a speed of 188.048 mph. AJ Foyt was the outside pole sitter.
Thirty years ago in 1982, Benny
Parsons was the Daytona 500 pole sitter with a speed of 196.317 mph. Harry
Gant was second fastest with a speed of 195.609 mph. Bobby Allison won the
Daytona Busch Clash. An all-new Modified team appeared at New Smyrna. Long
Islander Greg Sacks teamed up with Ernie Wilsburg and took the Florida oval
by storm as they won the first three events. Richie Evans finished second in
the opening night event and was followed by Tony Hirschman, Ronnie Bouchard,
Gil Hearne and Jamie Tomaino. Nite number two saw Evans again in second spot
with Doug Hewitt, Maynard Troyer and Hirschman, following. Evans continued
to be the bridesmaid as he recorded another second on Sunday night. Hewitt
and Troyer followed with Gail Barber rounding out the top five.
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
Bill Elliot was the top dog at Daytona as he took the Daytona 500 pole with
a speed of 210.364 mph. Elliott also won the Busch Clash. In World Series
action at New Smyrna, Jamie Tomaino was the opening night winner. Jim
Spencer finished second and was followed by Tony Jankowiac. Saturday night
action rained out. Jim Spencer came back with fire in his eyes as he won the
Sunday night event over Reggie Ruggiero and Dave Reszendes. Ruggiero got his
night of glory on Monday as he won the 25-lap feature over Tomaino, Spencer
and Reszendes. Spencer became the first repeat winner as he took top honors
on Tuesday night. Tomaino finished second with Reszendes, third. Bobby
Fuller arrived in Florida and wound up fourth in his second night out.
Twenty years ago in 1992,
Sterling Marlin was the Daytona 500 pole sitter. Bill Elliott took the
outside pole making it an all Junior Johnson front row. Geoff Bodine, in the
Bud Moore No.15, won the Busch Clash. In World Series action at New Smyrna,
Steve Park in the Joe Brady No.00 went pole to pole to win the opening
Friday night event. Ricky Fuller finished second with Tom Baldwin, third.
Park made it two in a row as he won again on Saturday night as he again beat
out Fuller for the win. Fuller jumped into a back up car after wrecking on
the start with Tom Baldwin and Jay Hedgecock. Tom Baldwin jumped out on
Sunday night and went on to record his first win. Park finished second and
was followed by Tim Arre, Rick Fuller and Bob Park. Ricky Fuller, driving
for Mario Fiore, took the top spot on Monday night. Fuller was followed by
Park, Richie Gallup and Tony Ferrente Jr. Gary Balough, who had won four
late model features in a row, was disqualified for
having too much left side weight. Park became the first repeat winner as he
won on Tuesday night. Fuller, Baldwin, Gallup and Arre rounded out the top
Fifteen years ago in 1997, Jim
Hendrickson, a top gun on Long Island and former driver of the Ferrante x3
passed away. Mike Skinner in the Richard Childress No.31 took the Daytona
500 pole with a speed of 189.813 mph. Steve Grissom was second fastest with
a speed of 189.813 mph. Jeff Gordon won the Busch Clash, a sleeper of a race
with no passing. Tom Baldwin was the opening night winner at New Smyrna,
going pole to pole for the win. Tony Stewart, in the Bob Fuller No.17,
finished second. Dave Berube, Eric Beers and Mike Christopher rounded out
the top five. Baldwin made it two for two as he again went pole to pole as
he won the Saturday night event. Stewart again finished second with Tim
Arre, Dave Berube and Gary Meyers rounding out the top five. Arre went pole
to pole on Sunday night with Fuller second and Stewart, third. Ted
Christopher was having a horrible week as he blew three engines in a row.
Stewart went pole to pole on Monday night. Baldwin finished second and was
followed by Arre, Fuller and Doug French .Rick Fuller got his first win for
Joe Brady on Tuesday night. Christopher finally got an engine to stay
together and finished second. Stewart finished third and was followed by
Baldwin and Tomaino.
Ten years ago in 2002 Charlie
Pasteryak went pole to pole to win the opening Friday night 25-lap event at
the New Smyrna Speedway. Ted Christopher finished second with Rob Summers,
John Blewett III and Eric Beers rounding out the top five. Daytona 500
qualifying was held on Saturday afternoon with 53 cars on hand. Rookie
Jimmie Johnson took the pole with a speed of 185.831 mph. Kevin Harvick was
second fastest. Thirty Modifieds went to post on Saturday night at New
Smyrna. Ted Christopher survived six cautions and came home the winner over
Summers, Pasteryak, JR Bertuccio and Blewett. The Busch Clash for Winston
Cup pole qualifiers was held on Sunday afternoon. Tony Stewart took the win
in the 70-lap event that went non-stop. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second
with Jeff Gordon, third. Rain washed out New Smyrna on Sunday night. In
other news, NASCAR announced a television package for their touring series,
which included seven events each for the Featherlite Modifieds, and Busch
North Series. It was also announced that Knoxville Raceway promoter Ralph
Capitani had been selected as the RPM Promoter of the Year. Francis Venditti
of the Seekonk Speedway was the New England Regional winner. NASCAR was hit
with a $8.5 million lawsuit that was filed by safety equipment manufacturer
Bill Simpson who felt that he had been defamed over the way NASCAR handled
the Earnhardt seat belt issue.
Five years ago in 2007, the
engines started in New Smyrna, Fla. for the 41st annual World Series of
Asphalt Racing last Friday night. Clear weather and temperatures in the 70ís
greeted both fans and competitors. Twenty-one Tour Type Modifieds and 15 SK
Type Modifieds were on hand. In the Tour Type 25 lap feature Eric Beers and
Don Lia led the charge at the green. As the field entered turn one Ted
Christopher spun, triggering a scramble that collected Jim Storace and Earl
Paules. Christopher was able to restart at the tail end of the field. With
Beers and Lia still on the point a second start was attempted. Bob Grigas
spun in turn one, bringing out the second caution. Another spin made restart
No. 3 a bust. Out of desperation Modified Chief Steward made the decision to
start the field single file. With one lap on record Bob Holmes brought out
the caution after hitting the wall in turn 2. One more caution, on lap 19
for a minor spin slowed the field. At
the finish Eric Beers, who went pole to pole was the winner. John Blewett
III finished second with Andy Seuss, third. Ted Christopher rebounded from
his first lap skirmish to finish fourth. Don Lia rounded out the top five.
Jimmy Blewett was the SK Type Modified winner.
The newly paved speedway saw elapsed times getting much faster as
competitors toured the half-mile oval in the 16-second bracket. Joey Logano
made his Tour Type Modified debut in practice. He got into the wall during
practice and was not able to take time for qualifying James Civali is
driving a second Joe Brady machine renumbered the #80. Mike Andrews is also
back in the driverís seat, driving the Bear Motorsports #14. Ryan Preece has
also shown up at the track in the #40. Eric Beers was the fastest in Tour
Type Modified time trials for the second night in a row when he blistered
the half mile oval in16.526 seconds. John Blewett III was second fastest
with Earl Paules, third. The first five tour type cars broke the track
record. Twenty-two Tour Type Modifieds were on hand. Donny Lia and Eric
Beers led the field down for the start. Just as the field completed the
first lap Ryan Preece hit the wall in turn 2 and went along the outside wall
for a few yards. Mike Andrews in the Bear Motorsports #14 hit the wall in
between turn 3 and 4.Lia led the restart with Beers in tow. On lap five Ted
Christopher brought out the caution when he tried to go under Andy Seuss
between turns three and four. Both cars hit the wall a ton! As the field
went under red both cars were double hooked off the track to the pits. Lia
continued to lead Beers on the lap 5 restart. Chuck Hossfeld had moved into
third with John Blewett III, fourth with Jimmy Blewett rounding out the top
five. Caution No.3 flew on lap 10 for debris on the track. Beers applied the
heat to Lia but to no avail. Hossfeld began to fade as the Blewett brothers
passed him. Bob Grigas brought out caution No. 4 when he spun in turn four.
He drove away. On the restart Butch and Shelly Perry got together as well as
Bobby Holmes and James Civali.
Once again, with seven laps remaining, the field restarted with Lia
on the point followed in single file by Beers. On lap 20 Jimmy Blewett ran
out of patience and in a bonsai move shot by Beers. John Blewett followed.
At the finish it was Don Lia by four car lengths over Jimmy Blewett, John
Blewett III, Eric Beers, Zach Sylvester and Chuck Hossfeld. After two nights
it appears that only a chosen few can handle the increased speeds at New
Smyrna. Jimmy Blewett made it two for two in the SK Type Modifieds.
The Modifieds had Sunday night off.
The Daytona International Speedway shifted into high gear with the
running of the Busch Clash on Saturday night. Stewart nudged Kyle Busch out
of the lead with eight laps to go, then calmly drove to his third victory in
the all-star event when runner-up David Gilliland never challenged. Busch,
who needed a huge save to keep his car off the wall, finished seventh and
seemed certain that Stewart made at least slight contact. As Stewart closed
in on the finish line, Dale Earnhardt Jr ran into the back of Elliott Sadler
to start a four-car pileup far from the leaders that collected defending
race winner Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle. David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd won
the top two starting spots Sunday in qualifying for the Daytona 500.
Gilliland turned a lap of 186.320 mph to win the pole, and Rudd was right
behind at 185.609. Sixty-one cars attempted to qualify.
Last year, 2011, The long wait
was over as the nights came alive in New Smyrna Florida as the green flag
dropped for the 45th ANNUAL WORLD SERIES of ASPHALT STOCK CAR RACING at the
New Smyrna Speedway The nine night series featured Super Late Models,
Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, NASCAR Tour-Type Modifieds, SK
Modifieds, FL/IMCA Type Modifieds, Pro-Trucks, ACT Late Models.
The Modifieds were scheduled to run every night except on Sunday,
2/13. Opening night saw a slim field of Modifieds, 11 and a real slim field
of SK Mods, 7. Earl Paules was the opening night 25 lap Modified feature
winner. Paules took the lead from Ron Silk following a lap 12 restart. Silk
finished second with Chuck Hossfeld third and Ted Christopher, fourth.
Rounding out the top five was Patrick Emerling. Because of the short field,
the SK Modified feature was cut back to 15 laps instead of the scheduled 25.
Ron Silk took the win with Earl Paules, second.
Night number two, Saturday, saw a new Modified winner in the form
of Ted Christopher. Driving the Joe Brady #00 Christopher took the lead in
the 25 lap feature on lap 2 and never looked back. Chuck Hossfeld finished
second with Ronnie Silk, third. Andy Petree who was a Championship Crew
Chief for the late Dale Earnhardt Sr finished fourth with Earl Paules
rounding out the top five. The Modified field continued to be thin as there
were only ten on hand. Ron Silk made it two in a row in SK Modified action.
The field of SKs continued at seven.
The Modifieds and SK Modifieds did not race on Sunday night at New Smyrna.
Kurt Busch won the exhibition Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night
when Denny Hamlin was disqualified for going below the out-of-bounds line at
Daytona International Speedway. The first NASCAR race on Daytona's new
pavement created sizzling fast speeds, cars went over 206 mph at one point
in the race, and created packs of two cars all around the oval.
Busch skirted around Newman at the top of the track, pulling
McMurray with him. Hamlin actually crossed the finish line first, but was
black-flagged and fell to 12th.
Instead of a smaller restrictor plate to lower the speeds at
Daytona Intíl Speedway, NASCAR officials are taking a different approach by
lowering the tolerance level of the pressure relief valve. By taking that
approach, the cars will blow water out of the engine at a lower temperature,
which will force cars locked in a two-car draft to pull out to get clean air
into the inlet on the front grille.
NASCAR officials recognized a problem in Saturday nightís Budweiser
Shootout at Daytona when speeds of two cars in a draft exceeded 206 miles
per hour. Once those cars began to overheat and had to unlock each other,
the closing rate of another two cars locked up was more than 20 miles per
Since the advent of radial tires and the car of tomorrow Sprint Cup
races have become a big time bore. Sprint Cup racing is nothing more than a
glorified IROC race that in many cases is way too long.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reclaimed the spotlight in Daytona speedweeks,
winning pole position for the Daytona 500 with a lap of 186.089 mph in
qualifying Sunday. Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon,
qualified second. It's the second straight Daytona 500 front row sweep for
Hendrick, who put Mark Martin on the pole and Earnhardt in the No. 2 spot
A little bit of New England racing nostalgia and history came to an
end on Feb 10 when the roof that covered the former No. 44 race shop came
crashing down. The Mario Fiore owned race team had occupied the premises
from 1981 through 2006. It was from this race shop, located across the
street from the former Riverside Park in Agawam, Ma that Fiore and his team
produced and maintained some of the fastest and best handling Modifieds that
ever turned laps.
National Speed Sport News reported that fuel injected engines will
make their way into NASCAR competition in 2012. The fuel injection system
will replace carburetors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup division. The series has
used carburetors since its inception in 1949. NASCAR and its top series
teams will test the technology during the 2011 season with the anticipation
of the systems being rolled out in 2012.
Fuel injection was used in the NASCAR Modifieds up to and including the 1969
season. Among those who were the most proficient with the use and setup of
fuel injection were Jack Tant, Bobby Judkins and the late Len Boehler.
NASCAR officials announced that they had lowered the minimum age
for drivers competing in their five regional touring divisions from 16 years
old to 15 years old. The change took effect immediately for the K&N Pro
Series East and West divisions, the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern
Modified Tour and the Canadian Tire Series.
It marked the second time in four years that NASCAR had lowered the
age minimum for its touring divisions. Prior to the 2007 season the minimum
age was lowered from 18 to 16. Joe Gibbs Racing took advantage of that
change immediately entering Middletown native Joey Logano into competition
in the K&N Pro Series East. The then 17-year old went to win the division's
championship, become the youngest driver to win a NASCAR title. Logano was
in his third season in the Sprint Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.
In another move, NASCAR announced that it's Learner's Permit NASCAR
license for Whelen All-American Series competitors would be applicable for
all divisions at NASCAR sanctioned tracks. NASCAR introduced the Learner's
Permit license last year, allowing competitors and crew members ages 14 and
15 years old entrance into entry level divisions at NASCAR sanctioned short
Many have mixed feelings about lowering age limits. Some kids are
responsible enough to handle it while some are not.
It was announced that Ford Motor Co. has sued Ferrari in Detroit
federal court, saying the sports car maker has violated its trademark over
the pickup truck name F-150.
The suit is based on Ferrari's naming of its new Formula 1 racing
car the "F150," and its creation of the website http://www.ferrarif150.com.
Dearborn-based Ford says in Wednesday's filing that its trademark is being
harmed, and the suit asks a judge to block Ferrari from using the trademark
in the U.S. Ford also seeks unspecified damages from Ferrari.
Ferrari's website says the "F150" marks the 150th anniversary of
the unification of Italy.
Thatís about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
This week are several vintage racing photos
SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit