February 13, 2015
Fifty years ago in 1965 Goodyear introduced their new Lifeguard
Inner Tire for cars in competition at the Daytona International Speedway.
The inner tire was designed to eliminate the loss of control when the outer
tire loses air because of a puncture or from being worn out. Among those who
were missing at Daytona was Richard Petty who decided to try Drag Racing
because the Chrysler Corp pulled out of racing because NASCAR would not
allow the Hemi engine to compete.
Forty years ago in 1975, the Modifieds
were not part of the New Smyrna World Series. They were, however, a part of
Speedweeks as they were scheduled to race on the road course of the Daytona
Thirty five years ago in 1980, Geoff
Bodine led a full field of 39 entries to win the opening night event at New
Smyrna. Maynard Troyer was a pre race favorite but blew his Hutter big block
power plant. Gary Balough finished second and was followed by Richie Evans,
Doug Hewitt, Merv Treichler and Jerry Cook. Night no.2 saw Evans take the
top spot with Bodice, second. George Kent finished third and was followed by
Leo Cleary and Brett Bodine. At Daytona on Sunday, Dale Earnhardt led a
multi car draft that overhauled Darrell Waltrip on the last lap of the Busch
Clash. Evans made it two in a row at New Smyrna on Sunday night. Bodine and
Balough wrecked as George Kent went on to finish second. Junior Handley
Thirty years ago in 1985,opening night
at New Smyrna had to be cancelled because of a brown out. Saturday at
Daytona, Bill Elliott blistered the 2-1/2 mile oval as he took the 500 pole
with a speed of 205.114mph.Terry Labonte started 11th in the 12 car Busch
Clash and beat Darrell Waltrip by less than a second. All was well at New
Smyrna on Saturday night as Jim Spencer took the win over Doug Hewitt. On
Sunday night at New Smyrna, Reggie Ruggiero was not to be denied as he out
ran Charlie Jarzombek to the win. Tomaino finished third and was followed by
Hewitt, Spencer, Evans and Dick Trickle.
Twenty five years ago in 1990, Reggie
Ruggiero, in the Mario Fiore No.44 was the opening night winner at New
Smyrna. Tony Jankowiac finished second with Jamie Tomaino, third. Night No.2
at New Smyrna rained out. At the Daytona Speedway on Saturday, Ken Schrader
took the Daytona 500 pole and also was the winner of the Busch Clash. Dale
Earnhardt took the outside pole for the 500 and Greg Sacks finished second
in the clash. Sunday night at New Smyrna, Tom Baldwin had it all together as
he romped to victory Tomaino finished second with Jankowiac finished third.
Twenty years ago in 1995, Tiger Tom
Baldwin was the opening night winner at New Smyrna. Jamie Tomaino finished
second and was followed by Mike Ewanitsko, Bruce Dell and Tom Cravenho.
Baldwin made it two in a row as he won again on Saturday night. Steve Park
finished second and was followed by Ewanitsko, Bob Park and Eric Beers. At
Daytona on Sunday, 51 Winston Cup Cars attempted to qualify for the Daytona
500 pole. Dale Jarrett took the top spot with a speed of 193.494 mph. Dale
Earnhardt was the outside pole sitter. Brett Bodine and car owner Junior
Johnson was barred from qualifying after NASCAR discovered an illegal intake
manifold. In addition, Johnson was fined $45,000.It was also announced that
Randy Lajoie and Bill Davis were fined $35,000 when it was discovered they
had a hydraulic device that raised and lowered rear deck of their car. Dale
Earnhardt won the Busch Clash. At New Smyrna on Sunday night, Ted
Christopher broke Baldwinís streak. Ewanitsko finished second and was
followed by Jamie Tomaino, Tim Connolly and Wayne Anderson.
Fifteen years ago in 2000, thirty-six
Modifieds showed up for opening night at New Smyrna. Ted Christopher started
eighth and despite getting drilled by Jim Willis on the start, took the
opening night win. Eric Beers finished second and was followed by Charlie
Pasteryak and Jim Willis. Night number two saw Beers take the win over
Pasteryak, Christopher and Tomaino. Sunday at Daytona saw the team cars of
Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd take the front row starting spots for the
Daytona 500.Jarrett also won the Bud Shootout consi and the Bud Shootout.
Christopher took the lead from Pasteryak on lap 7 of the 25-lap feature and
went on to score his second series win at New Smyrna on Sunday night
Pasteryak finished second with Tomaino, third. It was also made public that
Don Hoenig filed an eviction notice against Butch Davis and Brian LaForte in
attempt to regain control of the Thompson Speedway.
Ten years ago in 2005, Speedweeks in
Florida shifted into high gear. The 39th Annual New Smyrna Speedway World
Series of Speedway Racing got the green on Friday night, for nine
consecutive nights on the high banked Ĺ mile asphalt track. Tour type and
SK-type Modifieds from the Northeast were in competition along with Super
Late Models, Late Models, Florida Modifieds, Mini-Stocks and Strictly
Opening night at New Smyrna greeted fans and competitors with chilly
conditions with temperatures in the mid 40s. Thirty three Modifieds,
including seventeen SK types were on hand. Separate features, 25 laps for
the Modifieds and 15 laps for the SKs. Pole sitter Tim Arre jumped out to an
early lead as he led the first nine laps. The field had just completed three
laps when Long Islander Glenn Tyler spun out. On the restart, Ted
Christopher who had started 8th, spun out and pitted for a chassis
adjustment. Christopher rejoined the field without losing a lap. Don Lia,
who started seventh, took the lead from Arre on lap 10. Shortly after that
Charlie Pasteryak hit the wall. Lia withstood five restarts before running
out of gas on the 19th lap. Adding insult to injury Lia suffered a flat tire
during a pit stop for fuel. Christopher inherited the lead and went on to
record the win. Eric Beers finished second and was followed by Arre, Kevin
Goodale and JR. Swansbrough. Chris Jones won the SK Modified feature over
Mike Holdridge. Christopher also finished third in the Super Late Model
Night No.2 at New Smyrna saw 22 Modifieds and 13 SKs on hand. Charlie
Pasteryak got patched up and made the field for the Modified feature but
others who got banged up on opening night werenít as fortunate. Chuck
Hossfeld started third and took the win after passing pole sitter Curtis
Truex Jr. Truex faded in the late going and ended up finishing in 7th spot.
Eric Beers recorded another runner-up finish with Ted Christopher, third.
Kevin Goodale and Charlie Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Don Lia, who
had high hopes of dominating the series continued to have problems as he was
the victim of a spin-out and ended up in 12th spot. Mike Holdridge took the
SK Modified win. Friday nightís winner Chris Jones finished 10th. In the
Super Late models, Ted Christopher recorded a fifth.
Jimmie Johnson won the Busch Shootout at the Daytona International
Speedway on Saturday night by 0.199 seconds, averaging 181.399 miles an
hour. The victory was worth $212,945, Ryan Newman, who finished second,
picked up $112,445. Jeff Gordon was third in a Chevrolet followed by Tony
Stewart's Chevrolet and Greg Biffle's Ford Taurus. Defending NASCAR Nextel
Cup champion Kurt Bush was sixth in a Chevrolet with fan favorite Dale
Earnhardt Jr. seventh. Earnhardt had ignition and handling problems. A crowd
estimated at 85,000 watched the race in chilly conditions at Daytona. There
were five lead changes among six drivers. Greg Biffle led the most laps in
the race, one time for 44 laps. Johnson led the final 16.
Five years ago in 2010, , the
official start of the 2010 Modified Racing season was supposed to have begun
on Friday. Severe thunderstorms and threats of a tornado forced the speedway
management to pull the plug on opening night activities. Before the rains
came Modified and SK track steward Richard Brooks and his staff had over 30
cars go through tech inspection.
The Florida skies cleared on Saturday, the wind picked up and the
temperature dropped. Opening night at New Smyrna drew 19 tour type Modifieds
and 11 sk type Modifieds. Eric Goodale was the fastest tour type Modified
qualifier. Second fastest was Matt Hirschman. Rowan Pennink qualified third.
Rounding out the top five was Chuck Hossfeld and Ted Christopher.
The tour type Modifieds were first up with their 25-lap feature. During
hot laps Jim Zacharias spun out on the front stretch and hit the wall. Due
to the redraw for the start John Jensen started on the pole with Ted
Christopher on the outside. At the drop of the green Christopher jumped out
in front and led the entire 25 lap distance in an event that went non-stop.
Jensen finished second and was followed by Pennink, Hossfeld, Ronnie Silk,
Hirschman, Eric Goodale, Rob Fuller, JR Bertuccio and Kevin Goodale.
The SK type Modifieds went 20 laps. Nicole Morgillo, who started second,
took the lead at the start. By lap 4, Keith Rocco, who had started 5th, took
the lead with Ron Silk, second. Two laps later, Silk passed Rocco for the
lead. Almost immediately, Silk was tapped by Rocco, causing the two to spin
and in the process collected Morgillo, Jeffrey Gallup and Jimmy Zacharias.
Silk and Zacharias were able to drive away while Rocco and Gallup had their
cars towed off. David Cranmer took the lead on the restart. Silk restarted
in the rear and embarked on a determined run to the front. Silk had worked
his way up to third spot when he hit Zacharias who in turn hit the outside
wall in the turn two area. As a result, Silk was put to the rear for rough
riding. With six laps to go Cranmer led the single file restart. Cranmer led
the final four laps to take the win. Silk made a move to pass Cranmer for
the lead on the last lap as the cars came into turn four but backed off and
settled for second. Dave Salzarulo finished third followed by Chris Jensen
and Rob Schultz.
The tour type Modifieds and the SK types had Sunday night off.
Eric Beers had finally solidified his driving plans for 2010 as Dave and
Laura DeLange of Lockport NY and John "Grandpa" Blewett, Howell NJ were
going split the 2010 season as car owners with Beers as the pilot of their
NASCAR Modifieds. Beers would drive the Blewett owned Modified for the two
events at New Hampshire, the three at Thompson and the one race at
Riverhead. He would be in the DeLange Modified at Stafford (4 times),
Martinsville, Lime Rock, Monadnock, and Bristol.
In a somewhat related matter, Jimmy Blewett would be competing during the
2010 season in the famed Dick Barney prepared #14 on the NASCAR Tour.
One of the hot topics of conversation in the pit area at New Smyrna was a
recent 36 page complaint by Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General of the State of
New York that alleged that Suffolk (Long Island) Productions, a for- profit
entity that ran telemarketing and fundraising campaigns for a host of
charities was allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud by mis-representing
who it is and where the money donated would go. According to the complaint
over $3million was collected from 2006 to 2008.
The report mentioned Deborah Cromarty-Hallahan as the principal
defendant. Cromarty-Hallahan assumed control of the Riverhead Raceway from
her parents, Barbara and Jim Cromarty, two years previous. Also listed as a
defendant was Riverhead Public Relations Chief Bob Finan.
Bob Finan addressed the story about the NY State Attorney Generalís
investigation of Suffolk Productions. While this company was founded by Jim
Cromarty many years ago, it was now owned and run by Deborah Cromarty-Hallahan,
and was a separate entity from anything to do with Riverhead Raceway. Bob
went on to say this whole thing was just political posturing by someone who
is running for governor and it is being litigated down at the time and it
should have no effect on the operations of Riverhead Raceway in 2010 or in
years to come.
In Daytona 500 qualifying, Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for
the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 191.188mph.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the outside pole. Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser
Shootout. Veteran ARCA Racing Series driver Bobby Gerhart earned a historic
sixth Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 Daytona race victory on Saturday evening,
using patience and fuel strategy in ARCA's wreck-filled season opener to
notch his seventh-career restrictor plate victory while Danica Patrick
finished sixth in her stock car debut.
Last year, 2014, The central Florida
flat lands came alive with the sound of ground pounding Modifieds this past
Friday night as the Annual World Series at the New Smyrna Speedway took the
green. Opening night saw 12 tour type Modifieds on hand. Tommy Barrett in
his first time out put the Robert Our entry in the top spot after turning
the half-mile in 17.18 seconds. Ron Silk was second fastest. Matt
Hirschman's time was disqualified as his ride height did not meet track
specs. Silk was the opening night winner over Jimmy Zacharias, Chuck
Hossfeld, Ryan Preece and Eric Goodale. Silk started third in the 14 car
field and took the lead from Jimmy Zacharias on lap 23 and ended up winning
with a ten car lead. The debut of Barrett in the Our 22 lasted six laps when
he was black flagged as his car was emitting sparks. Barrett ended up 12th
in the final run down.
Racing at Daytona got off to a rough start. Cool weather, a poor crowd, a
high rate of attrition and a burnt up pace car were major factors.
Denny Hamlin made a bold move by nearly driving under the yellow line on
the backstretch with one and a half laps left and went on to win Saturday
nightís crash-filled Sprint Unlimited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at
Daytona Intíl Speedway. Hamlinís Toyota finished ahead of Brad Keselowskiís
Ford. Kyle Busch, who spun out in the final segment but was able to continue
in the race, finished third to give Joe Gibbs Racing two cars in the top
three. Joey Loganoís Ford was fourth followed by Kevin Harvickís Chevrolet.
That was the end result of a crash-filled event that had far too few cars
running at the finish with eight of the 18 starters making it to the finish.
The blue Chevrolet SS pace car being used by NASCAR to pace the Sprint
Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway caught on fire while leading the
10 remaining competitors under caution, with 54 laps in the book.
Pace car driver and former NASCAR competitor Brett Bodine was driving at
the normal speed of about 75 mph, when he suddenly dove to the apron and
accelerated, apparently aware that the car was on fire, as he tried to get
the SS to a fire truck. But the cockpit filled with smoke, and Bodine
stopped on the apron just past turn two, and he and an unidentified NASCAR
official riding in the passenger seat jumped out. Flames were visible from
the car's trunk. Crews quickly extinguished the flames and the car was towed
to the garage on a rollback truck.
Austin Dillon, driving the historic No. 3 car in its return to NASCAR
Sprint Cup Series competition for the first time since 2001, won the Coors
Light Pole for the 56th running of the Daytona 500. Dillon, the grandson of
car owner Richard Childress toured the high banked speedway at 196.019mph.
Taking the outside pole position was Martin Truex jr at 195.852mph. Forty
nine cars attempted to qualify.
The Modified field increased to 15 on Saturday night but the end result
mirrored Friday night as Ron Silk and the Eddie Partridge entry cleaned
house again. Ryan Preece finished second with Matt Hirschman, third. Chuck
Hossfeld and Jimmy Zacharias rounded out the top five. Tommy Barrett was
again the top time trialer. Starting third, Barrett faded and in the end
Sunday night saw another 15 car Modified field. Ron Silk unseated Tommy
Barrett as the top banana in qualifying. Silk toured the half mile oval in
17.133 seconds. Barrett was second fastest with a 17.154 sec lap. NASCARís
K&N series was also on the venue. Eric Goodale came out on top. Ron Silk
finished second but was disqualified for making an unauthorized tire change.
Matt Hirschman was moved up to the runner-up spot. Andy Seuss was awarded
third. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Preece and Spencer Davis.
Modified action shifted to the Daytona International Speedway on Monday
where 30 teams checked in for inspection for the second annual Battle at the
On a sad note, long time Chief Starter at many tracks, Earl Grant passed
away. He worked as a truck driver for the Teamsters out of local #56 in Fall
River, MA for over thirty years, retiring in 1988. Mr. Grant was very active
during the 60ís, 70ís and 80ís with the Northeast Midget Racing Association
as a flagman throughout New England and Canada, especially at the Stafford,
Thompson, Westboro and Seekonk Speedways. Earl was the recipient of the D.
Anthony Vendetti Memorial Award for his dedication to the sport of auto
Thatís about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, 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.
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