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Tuesday February 26, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The much touted Battle of the Beach at the Daytona International Speedway should have ended in a brawl following the checkered flag. Maybe it did behind the scenes but the live cameras were quickly diverted from any post race interviews or activities. What started out as a good idea turned into a typical NASCAR charade.

Kyle Larson, the defending NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion, who is considered one of NASCAR's next "Golden Boys" literally put the bumper to race leader C.E.Falk as they ran one-two to the checkered flag. Coming off the fourth turn on the final lap Larson executed a one -two punch as he first hit him on the inside followed by the shot that finished him off. Larson took his No. 98 Chevrolet Late Model to Victory Lane with a crumpled front nose after winning the inaugural Whelen All-American Series feature at the Speedway. Larson appeared somewhat arrogant as he exited his car and stood on the roof where he was roundly booed by those in the grandstand. He told the Daytona News Journal " I don't get booed very often, It's kind of cool.

NASCAR control did not do themselves any favors in the credibility department as they allowed the finish to stand. It's too bad because the race it self was pretty decent up to the final moment when Larsen ruined it and NASCAR let it slide.

The first annual "Battle at the Beach" for the Whelen Modifieds saw another "bump and run" affect the outcome. Pole sitter Todd Szegedy led the first 126 laps of the temporary four-tenths-mile, but dropped out with a broken suspension on lap 127. Mike Stefanik inherited the lead and held off the challenges of Kyle Larson until he missed a shift on a restart with four laps to go, collecting Woody Pitkat in the process, setting the stage for Parks last-lap victory. Steve Park, a former Modified tour driver, had worked his way from a 26th starting spot in Szegedy's team car. On the final restart, a green-white checker on lap 149, Park slipped under Eric Goodale for second spot. Stefanik took the white flag in the lead and while he was exiting turn to was deliberately spun by Park who went on to take the win. Goodale ended up finishing second with Boehler team cars driven by Ted Christopher and Doug Coby, third and fourth. Patrick Emerling finished fifth..

A very dejected Mike Stefanik finished 13th, one lap down. In a post race interview the multi time series champion was livid, almost spitting nails when he spoke. Park tried to suggest that Goodale had drilled him, forcing him into the back of Stefanik. A blind man could see that it was not the case, it was an out and out dump job.

The event produced 17 caution periods and should strongly be reconsidered before scheduling it for next year.

Evidently based on the "Battle of the Beach" brand of officiating NASCAR feels that it is ok to take out the leader without fear of penalty. NASCAR showed that it has no respect for it's competitors. If for nothing else, one who takes out the leader should be placed at the tail end of the lead lap at the finish, not rewarded with a trophy and a big check.

Canadian Cameron Hayley won the K&N series race.

Modified racing returned to New Smyrna on Wednesday night with the John Blewett III Memorial 76 lapper. Woody Pitkat made it two for three at the Samsula, Fla oval as he put the Hillbilly Racing 79 in victory lane. Fourteen cars went to post. Among the missing was Ted Christopher and the Joe Brady 00. For reasons not given, Brady elected to load up and go home. Matt Hirschman also headed home to seek medical attention for a broken wrist and Brandon Ward called it a week because of motor issues.

The Modifieds ran the entire distance with one caution for a minor spin by Danny Watts. Despite starting on the pole it was not a cakewalk for Pitkat. Ron Silk raced into the lead on the tenth lap and it wasn't until lap 32 when Pitkat took it back. Chuck Hossfeldt came alive to take the lead on lap 53 but in the closing laps it was Pitkat who prevailed as he retook the lead on lap 65 and romped to the win. Hossfeld hung on for second with Andy Seuss, third. Patrick Emerling and Jimmy Zacharias rounded out the top five. Hossfeld was later disqualified when it was determined that his car had an illegal gear in the rear end.

On Thursday night at New Smyrna, Woody Pitkat continued on a roll as he wracked up another win, coming from a fourth place start.

Thirteen cars went o post for the 35 lap feature. Earl Paules took the lead on the start with Chuck Hossfeld and Andy Seuss in tow. Paules continued to lead until giving way to Seuss on lap 25. Paules wasn't about to roll over and play dead as he banged wheels with Seuss on lap 26. Before another lap was completed Paules found himself in the wall with his right front wheel hanging off the car. Seuss led the restart with Pitkat on his bumper. With five to go Pitkat shot into the top spot where he remained to the finish. Seuss faded to third as Hossfeldt moved into second at the checker. Jimmy Zacharias finished fourth with Eric Goodale, fifth.

Friday was a big day at the New Smyrna Speedway. In addition to hosting the annual Richie Evans Memorial 100 lap Modified event the speedway hosted the Annual Modified Reunion on the speedway grounds. Car owners, drivers, fans and officials from many past decades of racing were on hand to mingle and enjoy the numerous picnics. The place was packed.

Woody Pitkat had been the dominator all week at New Smyrna but it was Ron Silk who rose to the occasion to score the victory in the Richie Evans 100. Silk started fourth and was never a factor until the late stages after his competition used up their tires. A pit stop on lap 65 set the stage for the run to the checker. Restarting eighth, Silk picked them off on by one. On lap 83 he made a bottom shot on Chuck Hossfeld for the lead and went on to take the win from there. Hossfeld applied a lot of pressure but to no avail as Silk took the checkered flag. Hossfeldt finished second with Pitkat, third. Burt Myers and Jimmy Zacharias rounded out the top five.

The New Smyrna Speedway closed out the World Series on Saturday night. Chuck Hossfeld won the battle but it was Woody Pitkat who won the war. Pitkat wrapped up the World Series Modified title with a solid second place finish on the final night of competition. Nine cars took the green on the final night of competition. Patrick Emmerling took the lead from pole sitter Pitkat on the start. Hossfeld took the lead on lap 4 and that's all she wrote. Pitkat held on for second with Andy Seuss, third. Emmerling and Jimmy Zacharias rounded out the top five.

Now that the 2013 season has started there will be racing action on the TV just about every week. This weeks viewing is as follows:
 

2

27

Wed

12:00 PM

NSCS Replay

Daytona

SPEED

2

27

Wed

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

28

Thurs

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

28

Thurs

12:00 PM

NNS Replay

Daytona

SPEED

2

28

Thurs

2:30 PM

The 10

 

SPEED

2

28

Thurs

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

3

1

Fri

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

3

1

Fri

12:00 PM

NNS Practice

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

1:30 PM

NASCAR Live

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

2:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

3:30 PM

NNS Final Practice

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

6:00 PM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

8:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

9:00 PM

NASCAR Mexico Series

Phoenix

FOX Deportes

3

1

Fri

9:30 PM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Phoenix

SPEED

3

1

Fri

11:00 PM

A Racer's Life: Richard Petty

 

SPEED

3

2

Sat

12:00 AM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Phoenix

SPEED

3

2

Sat

1:30 AM

The 10

 

SPEED

3

2

Sat

11:00 AM

Trackside

Phoenix

SPEED

3

2

Sat

12:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Phoenix

SPEED

3

2

Sat

1:00 PM

NNS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Phoenix

SPEED

3

2

Sat

2:30 PM

NASCAR Live

Phoenix

SPEED

3

2

Sat

3:00 PM

NSCS Final Practice

Phoenix

SPEED

3

2

Sat

4:00 PM

NNS Countdown

Phoenix

ESPN2

3

2

Sat

4:30 PM

NNS: Nationwide Series 200

Phoenix

ESPN2


On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the down side. The "Big Circus" was in Daytona Beach. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.17 to 30.17. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.11 to 16.97 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.03 to 1.70. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.09 to to 5.82 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.75 to 13.45 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.44 to 47.19. All three car builders were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.54 to 12.48, General Motors dropped0.65 to 27.11 and Toyota dropped 0.26 to 102.34. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 1.94 to 65.98 and Lowes dropped 1.50 to 37.64. With the exception of Aarons Rentals which dropped 1.26 to 28.00 and Fedex which dropped 0.60 to 105.82 the big team sponsors had a good week. Dupont went up 0.30 to 47.24, Coca-Cola went up 0.04 to 64.17 and Target Department Stores went up 1.89 to 63.60.

Thats it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


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

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