Speed Weeks in Florida shifted into high gear last Friday night as the Annual World Series at the New Smyrna Beach high banked half mile Speedway got the green. A good field of Modifieds, 24, were on hand for the opening night 25 lap feature. Upstate New Yorker Chuck Hossfeld, who will be driving the Hills Enterprises No.79 on the Whelen Modified Tour Series this year, started on the pole and led every lap to take the opening night win. Hossfeld drove a New York based Modified owned by Jerry Graydle Racing. Eric Beers finished second with Kevin Goodale, third. Rounding out the top seven were Rob Summers, John Blewett III, Donnie Lia and Andy Seus.
A devastating wreck midway of the event all but ended the comeback attempt of Mike Ewanitsko. Jimmy Blewett, who is driving for Eddie Partridge, stated that he exited turn two a little too fast and triggered the wreck that also collected Ted Christopher. Christopher was able to return to competition but was never a factor. It was unfortunate that Ewanitsko was injured but Blewett is to be commended for accepting responsibility.
Eddie Partridge brought two cars to New Smyrna. A brand new Troyer Modified and a rebuilt tour car that is now an SK Modified. Brad Lafontaine, who is a Troyer distributor, is the crew chief. Partridge says his tentative plans include weekly SK Modified competition at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night and SK Modified competition at Stafford on Friday night. Partridge and Blewett also plan to race at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday nights as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series when their schedule permits.
Mark and Rob Arute from the Stafford Speedway were at New Smyrna. Both feel very optimistic about the installation of the new crash barrier in turn one. The Arutes also stated that NASCAR New England which shows television coverage of the Stafford races on WTXX in Connecticut will return for 2006. They also stated that they are in the process of hooking up with NESN to get the program to all of New England.
Rain washed out Saturday night action at New Smyrna. Sunday night was a scheduled night off.
In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of mostly Speed Channel programming. This weeks viewing begins on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16 at 9:00AM with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ROOKIE PRACTICE from Daytona. There will be live coverage from Daytona up until 2:00pm when the live action switches to TNT at 2:00 pm for live coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Gatorade Duel.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 will also be busy. At 1:00 its NASCAR Live on Speed followed by Nextel Cup practice and Busch Series qualifying. Live coverage continues at 6:00pm with the Crown Royal IROC Series, Round #1. At 8:00pm Speed presents the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "250". Saturday’s schedule begins with NASCAR Live at 9:00am. Final practice for the Nextel Cup is on at 10:30am. At 1:00PM the action switches to TNT for the NASCAR Busch Series Hershey’s Kissables 300. NASCAR Live wraps it up at 5:00pm. More live programming from 7:00 on will fill out the evening. Sundays viewing begins at 10:00am with Dave Despain on Assignment: In the premiere of this series of specials, Dave takes viewers on a trip through the history of stock car racing in Daytona, from the beaches in the early 1900's to that fateful meeting at the Streamline Hotel in 1947. At 11:00AM a two hour NASCAR RaceDay: preview of the Daytona 500 begins. Live action of the Daytona 500 will be on NBC starting at 1:30pm.