Fifty five years ago in 1958 it
was the final event to be run on the old beach-road course in
Daytona Beach. Bill France Sr. had a vision for a vast super
speedway and it would become a reality one-year later when the 2-1/2
mile high banked Daytona International Speedway would be completed
and run its first event. On the beach it was Paul Goldsmith taking
the poll position for the 49 car-starting field. Goldsmith toured
the 4.1 mile circuit at 140.570 mph. Jim Thompson was second fastest
with Cotton Owens, Eddie Pagen and Lee Petty making up the top five.
Fifty years ago in 1963, Marvin
Panch, the driver of the famous Wood Brothers No.21 was testing a
prototype Maserati when he lost control and flipped. The car caught
fire and had it not been for the efforts of a group of spectators
that included Ernie Gahan, Eddie Flemke and southern driver Dwane
“Tiny” Lund Panch would have burned up in the fire. The group pulled
him from the inferno and saved his life. From his hospital bed Panch
requested that the Wood Brothers put Lund in his place to drive in
the up-coming Daytona 500 which he won. The were 62 cars on hand for
time trials and coming out on top was Glen “Fireball” Roberts who
took the pole with a speed of 160.943 mph. Fred Lorenzen was second
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Cale Yarborough was the pole sitter for the Daytona 500 with a speed
of 189.222 mph. Richard Petty was second fastest. Rounding out the
top five were LeeRoy Yarbrough, David Pearson and Tiny Lund. During
the pre-qualifying inspection process a Chevrolet Chevelle entered
by Smokey Yunick came under extreme close scrutiny. Inspectors had a
list of ten items for Yunick to fix before his car would be allowed
to qualify. After removing the gas tank Yunick got so mad that he
jumped in the car and drove off saying, “you may as well make it
eleven”. Yunick drove the car, without a gas tank, off the speedway
grounds and never returned.
Forty years ago in 1973, Buddy
Baker was the top qualifier for the Daytona 500 with a speed of
185.622 mph. Pete Hamilton, a former competitor in New England and
New York who is now an inductee in the NEAR Hall of Fame, took the
outside pole. Hamilton is also a former Daytona 500 winner as he won
the NASCAR Classic in 1970 driving a Petty Team car. Cale
Yarborough, CoCo Marlin and Gordon Johncock rounded out the top
Thirty five years ago in 1978,
the New Smyrna World Series took the green on Friday night for a
scheduled ten night series. Richie Evans took the opening night 25
lapper over Geoff Bodine, George Kent, Jerry Cook and Charlie
Jarzombek. Twenty-four Modifieds were on hand for the opener. Evans
made it two for two as he repeated on Saturday night. Bodine was
again second with Jarzombek, third. Bobby Allison and Ronnie
Bouchard rounded out the top five. Bodine finally broke into the
winners circle on Sunday night after Evans dropped out with engine
problems. Jarzombek finished second with Kent, Bouchard and Fred
DeSarro rounding out the top five. Evans regained his winning form
on Monday night as he beat out Jarzombek for the top spot in the
25-lap feature. George Kent finished third with Bouchard and Bodine
rounding out the top five. Bodine bounced back to take the Tuesday
night feature. Evans slipped to third as Bouchard put the Bob
Judkins 2x in the second spot. Jarzombek finished fourth and Bugsy
Stevens broke into the top five.
Thirty years ago in 1983, Greg
Sacks; fresh off his dream season where he won just about everything
in site on the northeast Modified circuit, was the opening night
winner at New Smyrna. Kenny Bouchard led the opening laps with
George Kent taking over on lap 2. Kent led until lap 17 when he lost
an engine. Richie Evans finished second with Reggie Ruggerio, Jamie
Tomaino and Rick Fuller rounding out the top five. Saturday night
racing was canceled because of rain. The rain carried over to Sunday
and forced the Daytona Speedway to re-schedule Daytona 500
qualifying to Monday. Because of wet conditions the Sunday night
event got a late start. Richie Evans took the win over George Kent
and Sacks. Tomaino finished fourth with Bouchard rounding out the
top five. Cale Yarborough set a new record at Daytona on Monday when
he toured the 2-1/2 mile oval at 200.503 MPH. Yarborough was even
faster on his second lap when he flipped in turn four. The record
stood but the pole position was denied because of the fact that he
failed to complete the second lap. Ricky Rudd was the eventual pole
sitter with a speed of 198.864 MPH. Geoff Bodine was second fastest
with a speed of 197.920 MPH. Neil Bonnett won the Busch Clash. Evans
made it two in a row at New Smyrna as he took the win on Monday
night. George Kent ended up second after Reggie Ruggerio lost a tire
on the last lap. Doug Hewitt finished third with Jamie Tomaino and
Tony Hirshman rounding out the top five. Greg Sacks broke out a new
car after he wrecked his primary entry and finished sixth in the
final run-down. The Ernie Wilsberg crew repaired their old car as
Sacks went out and won the Tuesday night feature by a bumper over
Reggie Ruggerio and Richie Evans. Doug Hewitt and Mike Mclaughlin
rounded out the top five.
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
opening night for the World Series at New Smyrna rained out. Tom
Baldwin was the Saturday night winner. Bobby Fuller finished second.
Jim Spencer, Reggie Ruggerio and their crews were thrown out and
disqualified after a brawl. Ken Schrader was the Daytona 500 pole
sitter but the big story was the fact that Tim Richmond was
suspended because of the fact that he tested True Positive in a
NASCAR mandated drug test. Little did anyone at the time know but
Richmond was suffering from AIDS, which would eventually claim his
life. Davey Allison was the outside pole qualifier for the Daytona
500 with a speed of 193.311 MPH. Dale Earnhardt won the Busch Clash
over Davey and Bobby Allison. Baldwin and Fuller finished one-two
again on Sunday night at New Smyrna. After two disappointing nights
Reggie Ruggerio put the Mario Fiore No.44 in victory lane. Baldwin
settled for second with Tony Jankowiac, third. Ruggerio made it two
in a row as he took the victory on Tuesday night. Bruce D'Assandro
in a Fiore back up, finished second.
Twenty years ago in 1993, Steve
Park, in the Joe Brady No.00 was the opening night winner at New
Smyrna. Bruce Del finished second and was followed by Ed Kennedy,
Richie Gallup and George Savory. Mike Ewanitsko led the early going
until getting hit by Tom Baldwin. The resulting tangle also
collected Rick Fuller. Rain prevailed at New Smyrna on Saturday
night. On Sunday at the Daytona Speedway 47 cars attempted to
qualify for the Daytona 500. Kyle Petty took the pole with a speed
of 189.426 MPH. Dale Jarrett was second fastest. Dale Earnhardt won
both halves of the Busch Clash. Ricky Fuller avoided a nine-car
wreck to take down the win on Sunday night at New Smyrna. Bob Park
made his presence known as he finished second. Steve Park finished
third. Tuesday night saw rain wash out another night of racing.
Fifteen years ago in 1998 rain
washed out opening night at New Smyrna. Mike Ewanitsko served notice
of his title intentions as he took the win on Saturday over Jamie
Tomaino, Ted Christopher, Eric Beers and George Bock. In Daytona 500
qualifying 55 cars were on hand. Bob Labonte took the pole with a
speed of 192.415 MPH. Brother Terry was second fastest at 192.917.
Ted Christopher put the Bear Motorsports entry in victory lane on
Sunday night. Doug French finished second with Tim Arre, third.
Christopher made it two in a row as he went pole to pole on Monday
night. Jamie Tomaino finished second with Mike Ewanitsko, third.
Christopher continued his winning streak on Tuesday as he again went
pole to pole to take another win. Ewanitsko finished second with Jan
Ten years ago in 2003, it was learned that John Falconi Jr. had
passed away in January as a result of cancer. A pre-speedweeks
announcement stated that Winston Cup driver Rick Mast had retired
because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Another hot item was the fact
that Brett Bodine’s soon to be ex-wife Diane was arrested and
extradited to Georgia to face charges of making harassing phone
calls to a Hooters girl she alleged was having an affair with her
On a sad note, the returning space shuttle blew up over Texas with
all people aboard killed.
The New Smyrna World Series opened with 23 cars on hand. Ted
Christopher and Ed Flemke Jr. were the class of the field as they
finished one-two, a half lap ahead of third place finisher Rob
Summers. Doug Meservy and Donnie Lia rounded out the top five. The
Busch Clash at Daytona and the World Series went head to head on
Saturday night. At New Smyrna, Christopher made it two in a row
despite taking a rock through his radiator in the closing laps.
George Kent finished second with Tim Arre third. Mike Finch and
Flemke rounded out the top five. In the Busch Clash at Daytona, Dale
Earnhardt Jr. came from first to last to take the win over Jeff
Gordon. Gordon had other things on his mind as his estranged wife
served summonses to various car owners for their financial records.
The big news in NASCAR land was the fact that RJ Reynolds indicated
that they were thinking about ending their Winston sponsorship of
NASCAR’s premier division. Daytona 500 qualifying on Sunday
afternoon and round three of the World Series at New Smyrna on
Sunday night was rained out. Daytona 500 qualifying was re-scheduled
to Monday. Jeff Green took the pole with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the
outside pole. The Modifieds had Monday night off.
Five years ago in 2008, after a
long winter’s wait the 2008 racing season began on Friday night with
the 42nd Annual version of the World Series of auto racing at the
New Smyrna Speedway. It was also the beginning of the 2008 NASCAR
Sprint Cup season. The Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 pole
qualifying started their season at the Daytona International
At New Smyrna for the Friday night opener there were 17 SK type
Modifieds and 17 Tour type Modifieds on hand. Jimmy Blewett scored a
one-two punch as he was the top qualifier in both divisions. The
only casualty during qualifying was Long Islander JR Bertuccio
hitting the wall and doing extensive damage to the Connecticut based
Bear Motorsports Tour type entry.
In the Tour type Modified 25 lapper Blewett started on the pole and
held off Chuck Hossfeld for the first 18 laps when it appeared that
Blewett’s motor developed a skip and began losing power. Hossfeld,
in a move on the low side, took the lead and never looked back. As
Blewett continued to fade Bob Grigas III moved into the second spot.
The top two ran nose to tail the balance of the event. Ted
Christopher, Andy Seuss and Eric Beers rounded out the top five.
Blewett managed to hang on and finish eighth. Immediately following
the Modified feature Blewett’s crew discovered that the fuel pump
In the Friday night SK type Modified feature there was no touching
Jimmy Blewett as romped to a convincing win over Kenny Horton. It
was more of a race for second place as Horton and Josh Sylvester
slugged it out for the runner-up spot. The two ended up getting
together with Sylvester coming up short as he spun out of
contention. He was able to rebound as he ended up 11th in the final
rundown. David Cranmer finished third and was followed by Billy
Anderson and Glen Griswold.
At the Daytona Int. Speedway on Friday night emotions ran high after
an on track practice wreck which involved Tony Stewart and Kurt
Busch. Actually there were two wrecks that seriously damaged four
race cars which resulted in the teams of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff
Gordon, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch going to back-up cars for the Bud
Shootout. The team of 2007 winner Tony Stewart elected to repair his
The first wreck was triggered by Clint Bowyer, who wrecked the Dodge
of Ryan Newman, also collected the Chevys of Johnson and Gordon plus
others. While that wreck was much more dramatic on track, the
two-car incident involving Stewart and Busch triggered on-track
retaliation from Busch and landed both combatants in the NASCAR
office for a reprimand.
Busch hit Stewart's Toyota three times while both were en route to
the pits following the accident on the backstretch. Once both cars
got to the garage, NASCAR ordered Busch and Stewart to the Sprint
Cup office for a discussion. Neither driver would comment as to what
transpired inside the meeting with NASCAR officials.
Jimmy Blewett went two for two on Saturday night at New Smyrna as he
won both Tour type and SK type Modified events. In Tour type
Modified action Chuck Hossfeld turned the first sub-17 second lap
during qualifying. For comparison purposes the New Smyrna Speedway
is a half mile oval as is the Stafford Motor Speedway. New Smyrna is
high banked, Stafford is semi-banked. Fast time for a Modified at
Stafford is in the mid to low 18’s. Bob Grigas III was the second
fastest with Ted Christopher, third. In the draw for starting
positions Blewett, who was fifth fastest, drew the pole. In SK type
qualifying Blewett was the fastest. Kenny Horton and Glen Griswold
rounded out the top three.
Blewett went pole to pole, putting his fuel pump problems behind
him, to take the Tour type 25 lap Modified win. Ted Christopher
finished second after a spirited battle with Charlie Pasteryak.
Pasteryak later faded and finished 14th. Chuck Hossfeld ended up
third. Eric Beers and Kevin Goodale rounded out the top five. There
were 18 Tour type Modifieds on hand. In SK type action Kevin Goodale
started on the pole but Blewett was on a mission as he put him away
in short order as he recorded his second feature win of the night.
Blewett’s only pressure came in the early stages of the 20 lapper
from Josh Sylvester. Glen Griswold moved into second in the late
stages as Sylvester slipped to third. Billy Anderson and Goodale
rounded out the top five. There were 18 SK type Modifieds on hand.
The Tour type Modifieds and the SK type Modifieds were off on Sunday
In Bud Shootout action at the Daytona Int Speedway Dale Earnhardt
took the win with a dominating run Saturday night in his new
Hendrick Motorsports ride, powering past Tony Stewart with two laps
to go and holding on for his first win against Cup drivers since
Fifty three NASCAR Sprint Cup cars lined up last Sunday for Daytona
500 pole and outside pole position qualifying. When all was said and
done defending series champion Jimmy Johnson was the fastest of the
fast as he locked himself into a front row starting spot for what is
known as the Great American Race. Michael Waltrip who sat on the
sidelines and watched last years event locked up the outside pole
starting spot in his Toyota powered car.
NASCAR announced that former driver Chad Little had been named the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director. Little had been an official
with NASCAR since 2005, most recently as advisor to the NASCAR
Mexico Series. Former tour director Ed Cox would handle special
projects with the NASCAR competition division. NASCAR also announced
that Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion Don Lia had secured a ride
in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for 2008 with TRG Motorsports.
Lia would drive the No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado for Kevin Buckler and
TRG Motorsports. Lia was not eligible to drive in the season-opening
Chevy Silverado 250 in Daytona since required rookie testing at the
track had already passed. Mike Bliss would be in the truck at
Daytona. Lia would make his debut for TRG Motorsports at California
Speedway in the San Bernardino 200 on Feb. 23, and was scheduled to
run the remainder of the season. With that being said it looked like
Bob Garbarino would retire as a Whelen Modified Tour Series car
owner. Garbarino had previously stated that his plans for 2008 would
be based on those of his driver. Needless to say, Garbarino changed
his mind at the urging of his wife and reunited with Chuck Hossfeld
for the 2008 season.
Colechester CT native Phil Moran was named Car Chief of the No.22
Caterpiller Bill Davis Racing Toyota driven by Dave Blaney on
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup circuit. Moran cut his racing teeth and honed
his skills as a race car mechanic and fabricator as he worked with
Spearpoint Auto, Pasteryak Racing, Jerry Pearl Racing and Todd
Szegedy Racing. Moran followed a long line of New England drivers,
mechanics and fabricators who have made it to NASCAR’s senior
circuit. Tom Baldwin JR is the Crew Chief. Baldwin is a product of
the Modified circuit on Long Island.
Last year, 2012, The 46th annual
New Smyrna World Series of Short track Racing was scheduled to begin
on Friday night. With 13 Tour type Modifieds and four SK type
Modifieds ready to go rain moved into the area, forcing speedway
officials to cancel the opening night’s racing.
The skies cleared on Saturday allowing the World Series to go on as
planned. The Modifieds and SK’s were combined for their 25 lap
feature. Seventeen cars went to post. Chuck Hossfeldt led the charge
to the green with Daniel Hemric in tow. On lap 8 Ryan Preece hit the
wall a ton, inflicting severe right side damage to his family owned
mount. Preece blamed Ted Christopher whom he said hit his left front
with his right rear. Speedway officials felt that Preece just washed
up the track on his own. Hemric took the lead on the restart and
held it until the next restart which occurred on lap 17 when James
Zacharias spun. On the restart, Christopher took the lead and
proceeded to lead the remaining circuits as he recorded his first
win of the series. Patrick Emerling finished second and was followed
by Hossfeldt, Eric Goodale and Hemric. Don Cranmer was the highest
finishing SK type Modified.
Sunday night was an off night for the Modifieds.
Big News for NASCAR’s touring and weekly divisions came out at the
Daytona Speedway when NASCAR announced that the Daytona
International Speedway will host the inaugural “UNOH Battle At The
Beach”. It was also announced that a temporary flat 4/10-mile oval
would be built on the backstretch of the Daytona International
Speedway. As a comparison, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY
is a 4/10 mile oval but is banked.
NASCAR announced that the events will be run on Monday and Tuesday
nights, Feb. 18-19, 2013. The two-days of racing will be headlined
by three non-points special events: the NASCAR K&N Pro Series,
NASCAR Whelen Modified tours, and the Late Model division of the
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Both nights of race action will
air live on the SPEED channel.
Kevin Rice of Area Auto Racing News and The Lowell Sun wrote that
the base purse for both events would be the same, paying $20,000 to
each race winner before any bonuses are added. It is a purse that,
from early indications will to be large enough to entice Modified
teams from the northeast to make the trek south. Tentative but
unofficial plans include a field size of up to 30 cars to race on a
four-tenths mile oval on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile oval.
Practice and qualifying on Monday will set the fields for feature
events on Tuesday.
Event entitlement sponsor, the University of Northwestern Ohio, has
been heavily involved with NASCAR’s grassroots racing programs. The
school, which offers a degree in High Performance Motorsports, owns
NASCAR-sanctioned Limaland Motorsports Park and is the sponsor of
several NASCAR touring races.
Congratulations were in order for Keith Rocco who was named as
driver for the famous “Ole Blu” owned by the Boehler family. The
Mighty No. 3, originated by the late Len Boehler in the early 60’s
has carried some of NASCAR Modified’s Greatest drivers to victory.
This will mark the 55th consecutive year that Ole Blu has rolled out
of the backyard garage in East Freetown, Mass.
During the 2011 season Rocco surpassed 100 feature wins in his
career while winning his third Connecticut State Championship
successively. Pushing the asphalt “win-bar” higher than any racer
since Richie Evans or Geoff Bodine, the Wallingford, Connecticut
frontrunner drove to his sixth Track Championship after winning more
races (32) than any single driver in the United States.
Two Rhode Island legislators took on the greed of big oil. State
Rep. Samuel Azzinaro, a Democrat, and Sen. Minority Leader Dennis L.
Algiere, a Republican, wanted the General Assembly to pass
legislation that would prohibit retailers of essential commodities,
like home heating oil, gasoline, food, water and ice, from charging
"unconscionably high prices."
Azzinaro's bill, No. H-7409, would prohibit price gouging during
statewide emergencies and "market emergencies," or supply shortages.
Unconscionably high prices are defined as those that are grossly
higher than the average price of similar commodities sold in a local
trade area. Under the bill, violations of the law could result in a
fine of up to $1,000 with a maximum penalty of $25,000 per 24-hour
period, along with the forfeiture of any profits earned.
The bill was introduced on Feb. 8, and has been referred to the
House Committee on Corporations.
At the end of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season Kyle Busch could do
nothing right. In the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Int’l Speedway,
Busch could do nothing wrong. He wrecked twice but used driving
skill to keep the car from hitting anything and was able to continue
in the race. By being able to avoid disaster Busch placed himself in
position settle the race with three-time and defending Sprint Cup
champion Tony Stewart.
Heading to the finish line Busch was able to perfectly time the old
“Slingshot Pass” to drive ahead of Stewart and win the race by 0.013
seconds — the closest finish in Budweiser Shootout history.
In Daytona 500 qualifying, Carl Edwards won the pole and Greg Biffle
was second fastest during Sunday’s single-lap qualification session.
Edwards was the fifth driver to make a qualification attempt and the
early draw was beneficial because of better track conditions. He ran
a fast lap of 194.738 miles per hour in his Ford Fusion. Roush
Fenway teammate Biffle went out soon thereafter and put down a fast
lap of 194.087 mph. Biffle claims that gusty wind conditions
hampered his qualification attempt.
Forty nine cars attempted to qualify.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly
R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail
This week are several
Vintage photos, Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes