The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

February 17, 2017

  Fifty years ago in 1967, Curtis Turner in a Smokey Yunick Chevelle took the pole for the ninth annual Daytona 500.Turner toured the 2-1/2 mile oval at 180.831 mph. Second fastest and taking the outside pole was Richard Petty. Petty went 179.068 mph. A total of 56 cars attempted to qualify
  Forty five years ago in 1972, Bobby Issac in the K & K Dodge took the pole for the Daytona 500.Second fastest was AJ Foyt. Andy Hampton won the ARCA 300 at Daytona. Iggy Katona finished second with Red Farmer, third. Speedweeks in Daytona was the beginning of a big year of change for NASCAR. Bill France Sr, who formed NASCAR, stepped down as President and in his place was Bill Jr, 38 years old at the time. Before he stepped down, France Sr. reorganized the Grandnational (Winston Cup) tour into a 31-event championship program, which eliminated events of less than 250 miles and dirt track events.

  Forty years ago in 1977, the Modifieds were added to the World Series of Asphalt Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway. Fred DeSarro was the opening night winner. Richie Evans finished second in the 25-lap event and was followed by Geoff Bodine, Ronnie Bouchard, Bugsy Stevens, Merv Treichler and George Kent. Geoff Bodine, in the Richard Armstrong No.1 came back to win the next three with Evans the bridesmaid on all three occasions. Donnie Allison was the Daytona 500 pole sitter with a speed of 188.048 mph. AJ Foyt was the outside pole sitter.

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, Benny Parsons was the Daytona 500 pole sitter with a speed of 196.317 mph. Harry Gant was second fastest with a speed of 195.609 mph. Bobby Allison won the Daytona Busch Clash. An all-new Modified team appeared at New Smyrna. Long Islander Greg Sacks teamed up with Ernie Wilsburg and took the Florida oval by storm as they won the first three events. Richie Evans finished second in the opening night event and was followed by Tony Hirschman, Ronnie Bouchard, Gil Hearne and Jamie Tomaino. Night number two saw Evans again in second spot with Doug Hewitt, Maynard Troyer and Hirschman, following. Evans continued to be the bridesmaid as he recorded another second on Sunday night. Hewitt and Troyer followed with Gail Barber rounding out the top five.

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Bill Elliot was the top dog at Daytona as he took the Daytona 500 pole with a speed of 210.364 mph. Elliott also won the Busch Clash. In World Series action at New Smyrna, Jamie Tomaino was the opening night winner. Jim Spencer finished second and was followed by Tony Jankowiak. Saturday night action rained out. Jim Spencer came back with fire in his eyes as he won the Sunday night event over Reggie Ruggiero and Dave Reszendes. Ruggiero got his night of glory on Monday as he won the 25-lap feature over Tomaino, Spencer and Reszendes. Spencer became the first repeat winner as he took top honors on Tuesday night. Tomaino finished second with Reszendes, third. Bobby Fuller arrived in Florida and wound up fourth in his second night out.

   Twenty five years ago in 1992, Sterling Marlin was the Daytona 500 pole sitter. Bill Elliott took the outside pole making it an all Junior Johnson front row. Geoff Bodine, in the Bud Moore No.15, won the Busch Clash. In World Series action at New Smyrna, Steve Park in the Joe Brady No.00 went pole to pole to win the opening Friday night event. Ricky Fuller finished second with Tom Baldwin, third. Park made it two in a row as he won again on Saturday night as he again beat out Fuller for the win. Fuller jumped into a back up car after wrecking on the start with Tom Baldwin and Jay Hedgecock. Tom Baldwin jumped out on Sunday night and went on to record his first win. Park finished second and was followed by Tim Arre, Rick Fuller and Bob Park. Ricky Fuller, driving for Mario Fiore, took the top spot on Monday night. Fuller was followed by Park, Richie Gallup and Tony Ferrante Jr. Gary Balough, who had won four late model features in a row, was disqualified for having too much left side weight. Park became the first repeat winner as he won on Tuesday night. Fuller, Baldwin, Gallup and Arre rounded out the top five.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, Jim Hendrickson, a top gun on Long Island and former driver of the Ferrante x3 passed away. Mike Skinner in the Richard Childress No.31 took the Daytona 500 pole with a speed of 189.813 mph. Steve Grissom was second fastest with a speed of 189.813 mph. Jeff Gordon won the Busch Clash, a sleeper of a race with no passing. Tom Baldwin was the opening night winner at New Smyrna, going pole to pole for the win. Tony Stewart, in the Bob Fuller No.17, finished second. Dave Berube, Eric Beers and Mike Christopher rounded out the top five. Baldwin made it two for two as he again went pole to pole as he won the Saturday night event. Stewart again finished second with Tim Arre, Dave Berube and Gary Meyers rounding out the top five. Arre went pole to pole on Sunday night with Fuller second and Stewart, third. Ted Christopher was having a horrible week as he blew three engines in a row. Stewart went pole to pole on Monday night. Baldwin finished second and was followed by Arre, Fuller and Doug French .Rick Fuller got his first win for Joe Brady on Tuesday night. Christopher finally got an engine to stay together and finished second. Stewart finished third and was followed by Baldwin and Tomaino.

  Fifteen years ago in 2002 Charlie Pasteryak went pole to pole to win the opening Friday night 25-lap event at the New Smyrna Speedway. Ted Christopher finished second with Rob Summers, John Blewett III and Eric Beers rounding out the top five. Daytona 500 qualifying was held on Saturday afternoon with 53 cars on hand. Rookie Jimmie Johnson took the pole with a speed of 185.831 mph. Kevin Harvick was second fastest. Thirty Modifieds went to post on Saturday night at New Smyrna. Ted Christopher survived six cautions and came home the winner over Summers, Pasteryak, JR Bertuccio and Blewett. The Busch Clash for Winston Cup pole qualifiers was held on Sunday afternoon. Tony Stewart took the win in the 70-lap event that went non-stop. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second with Jeff Gordon, third. Rain washed out New Smyrna on Sunday night. In other news, NASCAR announced a television package for their touring series, which included seven events each for the Featherlite Modifieds, and Busch North Series. It was also announced that Knoxville Raceway promoter Ralph Capitani had been selected as the RPM Promoter of the Year. Francis Venditti of the Seekonk Speedway was the New England Regional winner. NASCAR was hit with a $8.5 million lawsuit that was filed by safety equipment manufacturer Bill Simpson who felt that he had been defamed over the way NASCAR handled the Earnhardt seat belt issue.

  Ten years ago in 2007, the engines started in New Smyrna, Fla. for the 41st annual World Series of Asphalt Racing last Friday night. Clear weather and temperatures in the 70’s greeted both fans and competitors. Twenty-one Tour Type Modifieds and 15 SK Type Modifieds were on hand. In the Tour Type 25 lap feature Eric Beers and Don Lia led the charge at the green. As the field entered turn one Ted Christopher spun, triggering a scramble that collected Jim Storace and Earl Paules. Christopher was able to restart at the tail end of the field. With Beers and Lia still on the point a second start was attempted. Bob Grigas spun in turn one, bringing out the second caution. Another spin made restart No. 3 a bust. Out of desperation Modified Chief Steward made the decision to start the field single file. With one lap on record Bob Holmes brought out the caution after hitting the wall in turn 2. One more caution, on lap 19 for a minor spin slowed the field. At the finish Eric Beers, who went pole to pole was the winner. John Blewett III finished second with Andy Seuss, third. Ted Christopher rebounded from his first lap skirmish to finish fourth. Don Lia rounded out the top five. Jimmy Blewett was the SK Type Modified winner.
  The newly paved speedway saw elapsed times getting much faster as competitors toured the half-mile oval in the 16-second bracket. Joey Logano made his Tour Type Modified debut in practice. He got into the wall during practice and was not able to take time for qualifying James Civali is driving a second Joe Brady machine renumbered the #80. Mike Andrews is also back in the driver’s seat, driving the Bear Motorsports #14. Ryan Preece has also shown up at the track in the #40. Eric Beers was the fastest in Tour Type Modified time trials for the second night in a row when he blistered the half mile oval in16.526 seconds. John Blewett III was second fastest with Earl Paules, third. The first five tour type cars broke the track record. Twenty-two Tour Type Modifieds were on hand. Donny Lia and Eric Beers led the field down for the start. Just as the field completed the first lap Ryan Preece hit the wall in turn 2 and went along the outside wall for a few yards. Mike Andrews in the Bear Motorsports #14 hit the wall in between turn 3 and 4.Lia led the restart with Beers in tow. On lap five Ted Christopher brought out the caution when he tried to go under Andy Seuss between turns three and four. Both cars hit the wall a ton! As the field went under red both cars were double hooked off the track to the pits. Lia continued to lead Beers on the lap 5 restart. Chuck Hossfeld had moved into third with John Blewett III, fourth with Jimmy Blewett rounding out the top five. Caution No.3 flew on lap 10 for debris on the track. Beers applied the heat to Lia but to no avail. Hossfeld began to fade as the Blewett brothers passed him. Bob Grigas brought out caution No. 4 when he spun in turn four. He drove away. On the restart Butch and Shelly Perry got together as well as Bobby Holmes and James Civali. Once again, with seven laps remaining, the field restarted with Lia on the point followed in single file by Beers. On lap 20 Jimmy Blewett ran out of patience and in a bonsai move shot by Beers. John Blewett followed. At the finish it was Don Lia by four car lengths over Jimmy Blewett, John Blewett III, Eric Beers, Zach Sylvester and Chuck Hossfeld. After two nights it appears that only a chosen few can handle the increased speeds at New Smyrna. Jimmy Blewett made it two for two in the SK Type Modifieds.
  The Modifieds had Sunday night off.
  The Daytona International Speedway shifted into high gear with the running of the Busch Clash on Saturday night. Stewart nudged Kyle Busch out of the lead with eight laps to go, then calmly drove to his third victory in the all-star event when runner-up David Gilliland never challenged. Busch, who needed a huge save to keep his car off the wall, finished seventh and seemed certain that Stewart made at least slight contact. As Stewart closed in on the finish line, Dale Earnhardt Jr ran into the back of Elliott Sadler to start a four-car pileup far from the leaders that collected defending race winner Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle. David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd won the top two starting spots Sunday in qualifying for the Daytona 500. Gilliland turned a lap of 186.320 mph to win the pole, and Rudd was right behind at 185.609. Sixty-one cars attempted to qualify.

  Five years ago in 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 Hossfeld 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 Hossfeld, 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.
  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 had 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.

  Last year, 2016, The flatlands of coastal and central Florida came alive with the sound of racing engines this past weekend. The New Smyrna World Series got the green on Friday night and the first green flag dropped at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.
  Modified racing at New Smyrna wasn’t scheduled to begin until Monday. A preliminary event was run at the Bronson Speedway in Florida. Ryan Preece led from pole to pole to take the event that paid $2,000 to win and only drew five cars. Jeremy Gerstner finished second with Ron Silk, Dalton Baldwin and J.R. Bertuccio rounding out the top five.
  Denny Hamlin scored his third career Sprint Unlimited victory in a crazy, crash-filled run before an estimated 35,000 fans Saturday night at the Daytona International Speedway.
  Chase Elliott driving the #24 formerly driven by Jeff Gordon, won the pole for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway with a speed of 196.314mph, his first career pole and he is the youngest Daytona 500 pole winner. Matt Kenseth will start 2nd, running 194.036mph. The front row is locked into those spots. The rest of the top12: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #18-Kyle Busch, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #48-Jimmy Johnson, #21-Dave Blaney, #3-Auston Dillon, #19-Carl Edwards, #11-Denny Hamlin, #41-Kurt Busch and #22-Joey Logano.
  Sunday night’s NASCAR K&N Series 150 at New Smyrna, ended up being a rolling demolition derby and a scoring fiasco that saw the event go one two many laps at the finish. In the closing moments, Spencer Davis crashed hard, and Ronnie Bassett took the checkered flag, but it was Todd Gilliland who was declared the victor.
  In a statement, NASCAR said, “As tonight’s race neared the conclusion of the advertised distance, there was a delay in the appropriate flags being displayed to the field. As a result, the race continued for an additional lap beyond the scheduled 150 laps, during which a wreck occurred involving the cars at the front of the field. “Per the NASCAR K&N Pro Series rule book Section 10-2.11.B, the official results reverted the running order at the conclusion of lap 150, the advertised distance. NASCAR will review the circumstances surrounding the finish and take steps to avoiding a reoccurrence.” Unofficial results had Ryan Preece finishing 7th after starting 21st.
  The Tour type Modifieds, 14 of them, converged on the half mile central Florida speedway on Monday night. Needless to say the weather had other ideas as the entire program of feature events was rained out.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing it’s all about money, big money! NASCAR announced its new charter system on Tuesday, February 9. The new system, which NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center, is a nine-year plan that gives charters to 36 Sprint Cup teams and establishes greater, unprecedented lines of communication between car owners and the sanctioning body. The agreement also established a Team Owner Council, which gives teams more input into Sprint Cup-related decisions concerning competition, revenue and ownership. It also gives car owners a greater interest in digital operations.
  In addition to changes within the ownership package, Sprint Cup fields would be reduced from 43 cars to 40 beginning with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 21. The lowered car count gives four non-chartered teams a spot in each field, but the number of charters, France added, would not change. In order for a non-chartered team to obtain a charter, they must buy it from an existing team either in a permanent sale or a once-in-five years, full-season transfer.
  The system is designed to increase the long-term market value of teams, and provide them with a guaranteed spot in the field and an opportunity to plan farther ahead. They’ll also have a larger say in how they receive money from television contracts and the title sponsor’s point fund.

  That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail,

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

Looking Back Archive

Source: Phil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: February 17, 2017

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