The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


February 20, 2015

  Forty five 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.

 Forty 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 five 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.

  Thirty 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 Grandnational 300 and Elliot won the 500.

  Twenty five 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 Derrick Cope to take home the win for Bob Witcomb.

  Twenty years ago in 1995, It rained at New Smyrna on Monday night. At the Daytona Speedway, Michael Waltrip took the pole for the Goody's 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.

  Fifteen 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 Grandnational Goody's 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.

  Ten 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 Jonathan 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 Holdredge 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, second.

  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.

  Long Island modified driver Kevin Goodale came away from New Smyrna with one of the greatest gifts a driver could ever get, confidence! Prior to the World Series Goodale was just another obscure middle of the pack runner. With a win plus a runner-up finish and a fourth in points Goodale has emerged as a possible top runner once the Whelen Modified Tour begins. Despite winning the Modified championship, his seventh, Ted Christopher went away a little disappointed. In addition to winning four Modified races Christopher won one of the Super Late Model races and was leading the point standings in that division until he was forced to miss the last two events because his team was out of engines. Zach Sylvester went to Florida with a new paint scheme and a somewhat new crew, hoping to get a leg up on the 2005 Whelen Modified Tour season. Sylvester’s best finishes were a third and a couple of fourths. Car owner Tom Sylvester felt confident and believed the week was a learning experience which would give them an advantage once the regular season began. Milford Connecticut’s Chris Jones left New Smyrna with a bloody nose and has vowed never to return. Jones, who was thrown out of Stafford in 2004 because of his antics and over aggression, ran in the SK Modified division at New Smyrna. Jones was leading the point standings and the feature until the final lap on the final night when an explosive situation developed. Jones was obviously blocking second place runner Steve Reed. As they exited turn two Reed made a move under Jones. The pair touched and Jones spun out of the lead. As Reed was slowing down to stop in victory lane Jones walled him in retaliation. It didn’t end there as Jones stormed into the middle of the victory celebration and ended up in a wrestling match with a track official.

  While the New England region was getting pounded by yet another snow storm Developer Gene Arganese's proposal for a zone change to bring a racetrack to Plainfield, CT. was in process. The meeting kept the Planning and Zoning Commission, along with close to 600 residents, at the high school longer than most would have liked. The five-hour hearing ended after midnight when the commission voted to close the public hearing on the proposal. It will discuss the issue March 3. With the public hearing closed, the commission has 65 days to render a decision on Arganese's second attempt at changing zoning regulations to allow a resort/recreational development (C-5) zone which is needed to construct his proposed enclosed racetrack.

  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) settled their case against the Daytona International Speedway involving the death of track worker Roy Weaver during the 2004 Dash race. He was on the racetrack surface during a caution period to retrieve debris in Turn 2 of the Speedway. In the future track workers would have written guidelines, hands-on training and a definitive chain of command during racing events as part of a settlement agreement which was arrived at. OSHA withdrew its most serious citation against the track, its failure to have a written protocol for workers stepping onto the track. The track will also train its safety teams at least once a year and strengthen radio communication between the control tower and those on the ground tending to accident situations. A speedway spokesman stated that the track has been training its safety crews but does not have written documents on the subject. It was the first track worker death at the speedway since it opened in 1959. There were 12 additional violations and fines the Speedway did not contest. The Speedway would pay fines which total $4,875 for other minor citations dealt with issues including a security employee without hearing protection and a track worker without a helmet.

  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 the finish. 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.

  Five years ago in 2010, Tour type Modified and SK type Modified racing at the New Smyrna World Series continued on Monday night. In Tour type competition Ronnie Silk got the best of Ted Christopher on lap 14 and went on to take the 25 lap win. Christopher finished second and was followed by John Jensen, Kevin Goodale and Rob Fuller. Keith Rocco was the 20 lap SK type feature winner.

  The second rain out of the series occurred on Tuesday night. It was announced that Don Lia informed Bob Garbarino that he would not defend his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series title as he had secured a ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

  On Wednesday night at New Smyrna temperatures were in the low 30’s but emotions and tempers were high. Ted Christopher won the tour type John Blewett III Memorial 50 lapper. Christopher took the lead from Chuck Hossfeld on lap 8 and in the end, held off Ron Silk for the win. Silk was later disqualified in a post race inspection when officials discovered an illegal cam shaft in his "Spec Engine". Chuck Hossfeld was moved up into second spot. Silks night had only begun as the SK type event would turn ugly. He ended up with the win but it wasn’t pretty as he and Keith Rocco had a race-long conflict that ended with physical violence between two teams. Rocco and Silk tangled in the late stages of the event with Rocco incurring getting the most damage. As tow trucks hooked up the Rocco car he picked up a 2x4 and threw it at Silk, hitting his car just above the window. Rocco’s crew made repairs in time for the restart. Rocco restarted in fourth spot after being waved by cars that were in the rear. On the restart Silk’s engine blubbered as Rocco shot into the lead. The action reached a fever pitch on the white flag lap. With Silk and Rocco on the backstretch, Silk rode him up to the point where he hit the wall. Silk took the checker and pitted after a cool-down lap. Rocco followed him to victory lane where the name-calling turned into a physical confrontation. Track security was forced to Mace some of those including Rocco in order to bring the crowd under control. The end result was that Rocco was escorted off the track and was told that he was done for the week.

  Silk returned on Thursday night and came away a double winner as he won both SK type and Mod Tour type events. Silk was unable to get a replacement engine or camshaft. Instead, his crew added 100# to the cars weight. In the tour type feature Silk passed Chuck Hossfeld on lap 9 and ran pretty much uncontested the rest of the 25 lap distance. Hossfeld finished second followed by James Civale and Eric Goodale. Ted Christopher finished 14th after wrecking. Silk went pole to pole in the SK type event.

  Friday night’s Richie Evans Memorial 100 was rained out and rescheduled to Saturday night.

  The skies were clear and the weather was cold for the Richie Evans Memorial on Saturday night. Matt Hirschman took the lead from James Civali on lap 89 to win the 100 lap contest. Ron Silk, who had been running one of the new spec engines had his crew do an engine change and finished third. Rowan Pennink and Kyle Ebersole rounded out the top five. Ted Christopher finished 14th and wrapped up the series championship by10 points over John Jensen. The SK types did not run. Ron Silk was declared the series champion.

  At the Daytona Int. Speedway, Jimmie Johnson won the 1st Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, beating Kevin Harvick by about an inch. Kasey Kahne won the 2nd Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway, beating Tony Stewart by a couple of inches.

  Jamie McMurray held off a hard charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last lap of the 2nd green-white-checker try to win the 52nd Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The race ran an extra 8 laps, for 208 laps and 520 miles. The win was McMurray's 4th of his career and 2nd at Daytona. The race took just over 6 hours to run as there were two lengthy red flag for holes in the turn two area that needed repair. Greg Biffle, who led going in to the 1st green-white-checker, finished 3rd, followed by Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann.
Tony Stewart won the Nationwide Series race at Daytona.

  Last year, 2014, The second annual Battle at the Beach for the NASCAR Modifieds was considerably better than the first one despite the fact that the dominant car didn’t win. Doug Coby took advantage of Ryan Preece’s misfortune to take the win and the $20,000 that went with it. Preece, who led the first 147 laps from the pole, hit the lapped car of David Sapienza with eight laps to go. Sapienza, a lapped car, was low in turn one when Preece approached. Evidently his spotter failed to inform him of the car in the low groove or Preece just mis-judged his pass as his left rear tire made contact with Sapienza’s car. The contact badly bent the left-rear wheel on Preece’s No. 16 and when the race resumed with three laps to go he couldn’t hold the bottom groove, allowing Coby to sneak from third to the lead. Coby led the final three circuits on the temporary three-eighths-mile track located on the backstretch at the superspeedway in his first race in the No. 2 modified.

  Jason Myers put the bumper in typical Bowman Gray style as Coby was exiting the fourth turn on the final lap, but Coby held on. Myers finished second with Luke Fleming, Preece and Burt Myers rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Tommy Barrett, Jr. Cody Ware, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and JR Bertuccio. Donny Lia, who ran second and third for 121 laps when he spun out and eventually finished 11th, the apparent victim of worn tires. Patrick Emerling who was second on the final restart got shuffled to 12th in the final rundown.

  Thirteen of the original 26 starters finished on the lead lap. There were eight cautions for 44 laps. As far as the race itself was concerned the reconfigured track provided better racing. The International Speedway Corporation which owns the Daytona Speedway is in the process of tearing down the backstretch grandstand which means that next year the Battle at the Beach may move to New Smyrna or cease to exist.

  With Daytona in the record book the Modifieds returned to New Smyrna on Wednesday night, seventeen cars went to post for the John Blewett III Memorial 76 lapper. Ron Silk took the lead from pole sitter Tommy Barrett on lap three and went on to record his third win of the week. Ryan Preece finished second with Barrett, third. Eric Goodale and Matt Hirschman rounded out the top five.

  The Living Legends of Auto Racing held their 20th annual awards banquet last Wednesday night at the Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach Shores. Northern Legends Bugsy Stevens, Don LaJoie, Geoff Bodine, Jim Reed and Ken Squire were honored.

  At New Smyrna on Thursday night the Modified field grew to 18, Justin Bonsignore, driving a brand new SPAFCO car, crew chiefed by Kenny Barry cleaned house in the 35 lap Tour type Modified feature. Bonsignore started on the outside pole and took the lead from pole sitter Matt Hirschman following a restart on lap five.

  Bonsignore left little doubt that his new car was running to perfection as he opened up a 10 car lengths lead by lap 30 of the 35 lap main, Hirschman hung on to finish second only to be disqualified after the post race inspection indicated he has over the allowable left side weight. Ron Silk was moved up into second and Ryan Preece into third. Tommy Barrett ended up fourth with Patrick Emerling, fifth.

  Bonsignore, on a roll from his Thursday night victory, came back on Friday night to win the series ending Richie Evans Memorial 100 lap tour type Modified event at the New Smyrna Speedway. Bonsignore started 14th in the rain delayed event that didn’t take the green until 20 minutes to eleven. The young charger from Long Island took the lead with two laps to go from Ron Silk. It was close to 11:30pm when Bonsignore took the checkered flag. With his third place finish, Silk wrapped up the series championship.

  Silk led the charge at the start, which saw 19 cars go to post. Eric Goodale was the pole sitter. Silk led until lap 86 when it appeared he slowed because of worn tires. Goodale, waiting in the wings, took the point. Meanwhile Bonsignore had methodically worked his way to the front and on lap 98 passed for the lead and eventual win. Goodale hung on for second. Chuck Hossfeld finished fourth and Doug Coby came all the way from 19th to round out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Rob Fuller, Spencer Davis, Ryan Preece Matt Hirschman and Al Emmarino. It was another disappointing night for Tommy Barrett who was forced to retire early with power steering problems.

  Justin Bonsignore can now head north with his head held high as he has won one of Modified Racings Most Prestigious events, the Richie Evans 100. A true Modified racer, he came from the back to take the win. Good Job!

  Congratulations to Ron Silk and car owner Eddie Partridge on their World Series Tour type Modified championship.

  Matt Kenseth defeated Kevin Harvick by .022 of a seconds in a three-wide finish that also included Kasey Kahne in an impressive finish to Thursday night’s first Budweiser Duel 150 qualifying race for the s Daytona 500. Harvick’s Chevrolet, however, failed post-race technical inspection when NASCAR officials found the track bar exceeded the maximum split (3-inches of adjustment). That meant his finishing position from Thursday was disallowed and he would have to make it into the field through qualification times posted in the previous week’s time trials or the car owner points that belonged to Ryan Newman last year when he was the driver at Stewart-Haas Racing.

  Denny Hamlin gave Joe Gibbs Racing a sweep of both Budweiser Duels, driving his Toyota to victory in the second 150-mile qualifying race Thursday night for Sunday’s 56th Daytona 500.

  Hamlin was first to the checkered flag in a race that finished with a massive crash behind him that saw six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson run out of gas before being clipped by Jamie McMurray. That led to a big multi-car crash that saw Clint Bowyer’s car flip completely over before landing on all four wheels. Also, two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip’s Toyota ran into the opening of the pit wall.

  One year after seeing an apparent victory end in one of the worst crashes in Daytona history, Regan Smith was finally able to see the checkered flag at Daytona Int’l Speedway. Smith used the high-line to nip Brad Keselowski by a fender and win Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

  Brad Keselowski lost the race by the narrowest of margins. Trevor Bayne was third in a Ford followed by Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler.

  In the weekend final Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt JR led 54 of the 200 laps in beating Denny Hamlin (who had no radio much of the night), Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, defending race and series champion Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Greg Biffle, rookie pole-winner Austin Dillon, and Casey Mears. Several late-race cautions kept the field bunched and set up the week's fourth spectacular Cup finish.

  The 56th annual 500 began on time, then went under the red flag for rain after just 38 laps. Competitors and fans sat around for almost 6 hours, 22 minutes as the long-expected weather moved through the area. The race finally began again at 8:34 and ended at 11:45PM.

  Following the first in-person meeting among the NASCAR Hall of Fame nominating committee in the hall’s history, NASCAR announced the 20 nominees for the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame’s sixth induction class, as well as the five nominees for the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Among them are two-time NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte; 1988 NASCAR premier series champion and 16-time Most Popular Driver Bill Elliott; nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik, whose titles came in both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East; Buddy Baker, a 19-time NASCAR premier series winner; and championship winning engine builder and team owner Robert Yates.

  Other nominees to the Hall of Fame include Red Byron, first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949, Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series, Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion, Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others, Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series, Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier series champion, Terry Labonte, Two-time NASCAR premier series champion, Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600, Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner, Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion, Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc., Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing", Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier series champion, Rex White, 1960 NASCAR premier series champion

  The five nominees for the inaugural Landmark Award are as follows: H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway, Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as "Annie B.," she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Ken Squier, legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner / namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

  From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on Voting Day for the 2015 class will be Wednesday, May 21.

  Congratulations to Geoff Bodine, Bob Cuneo and the USA Bob Sled team on winning the bronze medal in the two man event at the Olympics on Monday, 2/17 and the four man team event on Sunday

  That’s 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.

Looking Back Archive

SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: February 20, 2015

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