Tuesday February 28, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

After having Sunday night off the Modifieds and SK Modifieds resumed their series at New Smyrna. Ryan Preece who suffered severe damage to his family owned mount on Saturday night returned to the racing wars with his grandfathers’ Modified, the legendary Bobby Judkins 2x. Fourteen Modifieds and five SKs went to post for their 25 lap feature. Daniel Hemric, driving the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 went pole to pole to record the win. It was not a Sunday drive as he had a lot of heat on his bumper through out the feature. Eric Goodale finished second with Patrick Emerling, third. Two cautions during the early going for minor spins slowed field. Going into the closing moments things heated up. On lap 22 Chuck Hossfeldt and Ted Christopher made contact with Hossfeldt spinning out. Both were put to the rear for the restart. On lap 23, Preece made contact with John Jensen bringing another yellow. On the restart, Hemric jumped out in front and sprinted to the win. A tangle between Preece and Christopher unfolded at the finish. Preece was under Jensen who ran into Christopher. Jensen then tried to go between Preece and Christopher and made slight contact. The end result found Christopher and Preece in the wall with damage. Rob Schultz was the top finishing SK.

Twelve Modifieds and five SK Modifieds were on hand on Tuesday night at New Smyrna. Ted Christopher appeared to have recorded his second win of the series until his car was disqualified when he and car owner Joe Brady refused a teardown. Second place finisher Chuck Hossfeldt was awarded the win. Patrick Emerling was elevated to the runner-up spot and Daniel Hamric was placed third. Eric Goodale and Johnsen rounded out the top five. Christopher had taken the lead from Hossfeldt after a slingshot-bottom shot move on lap 4. Evidently track officials and fellow competitors felt that the Brady #00 had a little too much power. One can understand why a teardown was refused. First of all the pit area at New Smyrna is dusty and dirty. Second of all even if the engine in question was found to be legal the cost of re-assembly would far exceed the winners share of the purse paid. It makes more sense to take the engine out and put in a spare and go on from there.

Rain washed out Wednesday night’s action. It was learned that Joe Brady and Ted Christopher had made the decision to end their racing at New Smyrna and return home.

The skies cleared on Thursday as 19 Modifieds, including five SKs went to post. Joining the field was Chris Young and Andy Seuss. Rejoining was the Preece #40 that had been rebuilt after an early series crash. The event was originally scheduled to be a 50 lapper in honor of John Blewett III but it was reduced to 25 laps. Chuck Hossfeldt took the lead with five laps to go and went on to record the victory. Patrick Emerling, who had led from the drop of the green, finished second with Preece, third. Rounding out the top five was Eric Goodale and Andy Seuss. Among the casualties were Chris Young and Donnie Nall who wrecked hard on the backstretch on lap 19. Jim Zacharias was the top finishing SK Modified.

The eighth night, Friday, saw the running of the annual Richie Evans 100. Eric Goodale scored the biggest win of his career as he won the event after taking the lead from Daniel Hemric on lap 70. In the final run-down, Ryan Preece finished second with Chuck Hossfeldt, third. Hemric slipped to fourth with Andy Seuss rounding out the top five. Rob Schultz was the top finishing SK. Nine of the original 14 starters finished on the lead lap.

The final night of competition saw only nine cars go to post for the 25 lap Modified feature. Chuck Hossfeldt took the lead from Andy Seuss after a lap 10 restart and went on to record his third win of the series. Hossfeldt was also crowned Series Champion. Following Hossfeldt in the feature finish was Seuss followed by Kyle Ebersole, Daniel Hamric and John Jensen.

It appears that the 2013 schedule will change, especially concerning the Modifieds who will be in competition at the soon to be constructed 4/10 mile oval on the backstretch at the Daytona Int. Speedway.

In 53 previous Daytona 500's, only four have been shortened by rain, none have been postponed. Had the Daytona International Speedway run the 500 on its traditional weekend, last week, the race would have gone off without a hitch. At the urging of FOX Sports NASCAR moved the date. Monsoon type rain fell just about all day in the Daytona area forcing NASCAR to go to their next clear policy. Mike Joy and his announcing team did yeoman’s duty for over five hours talking about everybody and everything associated with the running of the 500. It must be noted that on one occasion during the early 80s when Joy worked at Stafford he talked non-stop for 12 hours on a CB while driving from Martinsville to Connecticut with the late Ed Yerrington who was the promoter and General Mgr at the Stafford Speedway.

A word to the wise, NASCAR has announced that the 2013 Daytona 500 will remain the last Sunday in February at Daytona International Speedway. Track president Joie Chitwood confirmed that "The Great American Race" would start on Feb. 24 of next year. The race was moved from its traditional second or third week of February this year for the first time since 1971 as NASCAR eliminated its weekend off in early March. Many with timeshares and renewable leases were caught short and had to scramble for last minute accommodations when the change was made this year.

An At-A-Boy to Mario Fiore who scooped the Donnie Lia announcement of his return to the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile in 2012. It had been rumored that Garbarino would retire but it looks like that’s not going to happen. With Lia back it will be interesting to see if Troyer Bob returns as crew chief. The Mystic Missile will be without the during the week services of Jimmy ”The Junkman” Savage as he suffered a stroke and is pretty much confined to his home. Jim has been a vital part of Mystic River Marina Racing for many years and will be missed.

In TV land, viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday, at 6:00pm with NASCAR Race Hub. Race Hub will also be shown on Wednesday and Thursday at the same time. NASCAR Now will be on espn2 at 3:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

Race viewing begins on Tuesday at noon with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Replay of the Daytona 500 on SPEED. The NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus, has the Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour.

Thursday’s viewing consists of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Replay of the recent Daytona event on SPEED at noon.

Speed goes live at Phoenix on Friday at 12:30pm with NASCAR Live. Nationwide Series practice at Phoenix follows at 1:00pm. Action continues on Speed at 2:30pm with Sprint Cup practice followed again with more Nationwide Series practice at 4:00pm and final cup practice at 5:30pm. Trackside at Phoenix at 7:00pm and Speed Center at 7:30pm on Speed wrap up the day.

Saturday’s viewing begins at noon with NASCAR Performance on Speed. Trackside at Phoenix follows at 12:30pm. Action on the Speed Channel continues at 1:00pm with Nationwide Series qualifying followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at 2:30pm. The action shifts to ESPN2 at 4:00pm for the pre-race show that will lead into the 4:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix. Speed Center Saturday on Speed at 7:00pm wraps up the day. On Sunday the action shifts to the FOX network for the Sprint Cup pre-race show at 2:30pm and the actual race at 3:00pm.

Speed Center on Speed, both at 7:00pm will re-cap the Phoenix event. Rounding out the day will be Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week, two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.35 to 25.80 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.19 to 16.16 while Dover Motorsports went up 0.15 to 1.36. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 017 to 2.47 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.55 to 39.39 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.33 to 13.09. Two of the three major car makers were also down. Ford dropped 0.52 to 12.23 and General Motors dropped 1.28 to 26.06 while Toyota went up 1.19 to 84.55. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.27 to 46.98 while Lowes dropped 0.52 to 27.16. The major sponsors were also down for the week. Dupont dropped 0.49 to 50.99 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.07 to 64.72. Target Department Stores went up 2.59 to 55.23 while Aarons Rentals dropped 0.98 to 27.46 and Fedex dropped 2.75 to 90.24.

That’s 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 other publications for over 3 decades.

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