Friday March 4, 2011

By Phil Smith

Last year, 2010 with Speedweeks in Florida and the New Smyrna World Series history most of the auto racing snow birds had headed back north to await the beginning of the 2010 season at their favorite tracks. For the most part race fans and teams endured the cold, wind and rain during their stays in the sunshine state. The racing at New Smyrna could have been better but the somewhat short fields didnít help. Ted Christopher was off his game a bit as many thought he would clean house in Fla. Keith Rocco had a chance to prove himself but he blew it when he went after Ron Silk. Rocco has a lot of raw talent but he needed to tone it down a bit.

A big disappointment was the fact that Burt Myers didnít come to New Smyrna to trade paint with the northern boys. Myers has become somewhat of a racing personality because of his part in the Mad House reality show on the Speed Channel.

Had occasion to speak to Bob Garbarino who stated that he was surprised to hear from Donny Lia that he was going with the trucks. In the mean time, he said, no deals with any one had been made. It could very well mean that the Mystic Missile has taken its final lap.

Lou Modestino reported that the recession has hit the Daytona Beach area hard with several businesses closed up, and there were lots of half-priced tickets for the big events at Daytona International Speedway. He also stated that there were a lot of room vacancies, even though the room rates at the major hotels had dropped prices, some as much as two-thirds.
Between the weather and the ailing economy, things were way off from a few years ago in the Daytona Beach area.

Kyle Busch barely overtook Greg Biffle out of the final turn in a green-white-checker finish to win by 0.051 seconds in the NASCAR Nationwide race at Fontana, California on Saturday, with Brad Keselowski right behind them.

It was a heartbreaking loss for polesitter Joey Logano, who led 130 laps and was up front when the final caution came out. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate finished fifth.

Danica Patrick was 31st in her second Nationwide race, three laps off the pace and ahead of six other cars that were still running at the end.

In Sprint Cup action Jimmie Johnson held of Kevin Harvick to take the win at Fontana. Johnson scored his 48th career victory, which came at the same track where he got his first one eight years previous. He led eight times for 101 laps to win for the fifth time in 15 starts at California, including the last three fall races there. Harvick finished 1.523 seconds behind Johnson, with teammate Jeff Burton in third. Clint Bowyer was eighth, putting all three Childress drivers in the top 11 for the second straight week.

This week are several vintage racing photos of the late Gene Bergin who passed away on Feburary 27th Courtesy of & Dave Dyke's Racing
Click on Photo for Full Size

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

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

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