New Smyrna Speedway Pete Orr Memorial Preview for 1/24/15

FINAL PETE ORR MEMORIAL SHAPING UP TO BE A HUGE EVENT SATURDAY NIGHT AT NEW
SMYRNA SPEEDWAY
RICO ABREU TO MAKE SUPER LATE MODEL DEBUT

New Smyrna Speedway is back in action this Saturday night as the track hosts
the 13th, and final, Pete Orr Memorial. The Orr family has requested that
this event be the final one to honor the late Charles “Pete” Orr who lost his
battle with lymphoma in November 2002 after a stellar racing career.

Orr began racing Hobby Stocks at Palm Beach Fairgrounds Speedway in the
mid-1970s and quickly became a fan favorite eventually moving up to the Late
Models before moving to Montverde and becoming a regular competitor at New
Smyrna as well as Orlando SpeedWorld and other Central Florida tracks.
Orr was a force to be reckoned with any time he showed up at the track but his
biggest success came during the several years he teamed with friend and fellow
competitor David Russell of Longwood.

One of Orr’s favorite races was the Orange Blossom 100 that was run at Palm
Beach before the track closed in 1983. Later, New Smyrna Speedway resurrected
the Orange Blossom event and Orr won it in back-to-back years, 1991 and 1992.
Orr also won the Florida Governor’s Cup championship at New Smyrna in both
1993 and 1994 before embarking on a brief NASCAR career driving on the former
Busch Grand National circuit in parts of 1995 and 1996.
The NASCAR scene wasn’t to Pete’s liking and he returned to his short track
roots in late 1996 at took up right where he left off. He was just getting
his race consulting business, “Pete Orr’s Winner’s Circle” going when cancer
struck in 2000.

The Orange Blossom 100 was re-named in honor of Orr in 2003 and became the
Pete Orr Memorial Orange Blossom 100. It is expected the race will return to
its “Orange Blossom” name next year. Wayne Anderson won the first event held
in 2003, then repeated in 2004.

Jeff Choquette claimed his first Pete Orr Memorial trophy in 2005 and went on
to win the race again in both 2008 and 2010. Travis Kittleson won the race in
2006 with Jeff Scofield topping the field in 2007 and David Rogers taking the
checker first in 2009. Tim Russell was the victor in 2011 before Kyle Larson
won the race in 2012 in his very first stock car race. Young Kyle Benjamin
dominated the event in 2013 while Travis Cope took the honors last year.

A host of drivers hope to race to victory in the 2015 final running of the
Pete Orr Memorial including Rico Abreu of Rutherford, CA, the little guy with
the heavy foot who will make his first career start in a stock car after
racing both Midgets and Sprint Cars. Abreu isn’t just a little person, he’s a
true “little person.” At 22 years old, he stands 4-foot-4 and weighs just 95
pounds. He was born with the condition of achondroplasia, a genetic disorder
of bone growth and the most common cause of dwarfism. That means he and his
DLP Motorsports team will have to make alterations to his Super Late Model,
but surprisingly few. The pedals and the steering column will be extended and
Abreu’s racing seat simply uses less room behind it, but that’s it.

Abreu is coming off a stellar open-wheel racing season in 2014 that saw him
capture the United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget title as well as
wins in USAC and Outlaw Sprint Cars. Just this past weekend, Abreu took home
the prestigious “Golden Driller” trophy after winning the 29th annual Chili
Bowl Nationals “A” Main in Tulsa. OK defeating a field of 326 competitors.
Abreu hopes to duplicate Kyle Larson’s feat of winning in his first stock car
race, and also doing it at the famed New Smyrna Speedway.

Although a full roster of entrants is not available at this time, a large
field is expected including last year’s winner Travis Cope of Weeki Wachee and
former winners David Rogers of Orlando and Longwood’s Tim Russell. Among the
other drivers expected are Daniel Keene, Jr. of Weeki Wachee, Lake Mary driver
Bobby Good, Anthony Sergi of Geneva, Michael Lira of Port Orange, Orlando’s
Chad Pierce, Rich Clouser of Deland and David Green of Ft. Pierce.

One interesting driver entered Saturday night is Dalton Sargeant of Boca Raton
who calls New Smyrna his “home track” although he’s never even seen a race
here! Sargeant turned heads by finishing second in the prestigious Snowball
Derby in Pensacola last month. Sargeant will be a teammate to Abreu as both
will be running the NASCAR K&N East Series in 2015 that kicks off at New
Smyrna during the World Series of Stock Car Racing on February 15th.
“I really can’t wait to get back into a race car, especially the same car
prepared by Richie Wauters and Bobby Gill that we finished second in the
Snowball Derby with," says Sargeant. “It’s definitely my favorite car out of
the potent Wauters Motorsports stable and it’s been calling my name ever
since we parked it in December. It’s funny that I’ve lived almost my whole
life only three hours away from New Smyrna Speedway and never seen a race at
the facility, I hear it’s one of the nicest tracks and a crown jewel of the
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series so I’m really looking forward to competing
for the first time at my home track,” he said.

Several out-of-state drivers have expressed an interest in running the event
too including Tyler Dippel of Wallkill, NY. The 15-year-old, better known for
his exploits on the dirt Modified circuit in the Northeast, has already gotten
some experience at New Smyrna and looked good in action here last year.
Spencer Davis of Dawsonville, GA is also expected to compete after winning the
Zack Donatti Memorial Pro Late Model 50 earlier this month along with
finishing fourth in the Red Eye 100 Super Late Model event the same night.
All total, around 25-30 teams are expected to take part.

Also on tap will be a 75-lap Modified race. This is the re-scheduled event
that was rained out during the Governor’s Cup weekend last November. 2014
Open Modified champion Jerry “The Hammer” Symons of New Smyrna is entered
along with Edgewater’s James “Tank” Tucker, the only driver to score a class
victory other than Symons in 2014. Also expected are former track champ Alan
Bruns of Clermont, Ricky Moxley of Hobe Sound, Daytona’s Matt Wheeler, Shane
Held of Orlando and former Floridian Art Kunzeman who now hails from the
Houston, TX area but makes several trips to race at his “home” track. There
is also a good possibility that ageless veteran Dick Anderson of Wildwood will
“dust off the cobwebs” and run the event in his new Modified creation. Augie
Grill had been slated to run the car back in November as Anderson was unsure
he was up to going the scheduled 100-lap distance. Since the race has been
trimmed to 75 circuits, Anderson just might give it a go.

Also on Saturday’s card are the Sportsman cars, Mini Stocks and Strictly
Stocks, so a full night of racing and fun is on tap.

Pit gates open Saturday at 1 pm with practice slated from 3-5:15 pm.
Grandstand gates will open at 5 pm with qualifying for the Pete Orr Memorial
Super Late Models and the Modifieds getting under way at 5:30 pm. Opening
ceremonies are slated for 7:10 pm followed by racing at 7:30.

Action begins with a 25-lap contest for the Mini Stocks followed by the 75-lapper
for the Modifieds. After intermission it’s the Pete Orr Memorial for 100 laps then
the evening concludes with a 25 lap run for the Sportsman cars and 20 laps for the
Strictly Stocks. It will be the final “Strictly Stock” race at New Smyrna as the class
name will be changed to “Bombers” for the 2015 regular race season.

Adult admission is $20 with all seniors (65+) and military with valid ID
getting in for $18. All kids aged 11 and under are admitted free.

A special practice night is slated for Friday, January 23rd from 6-10 pm, and
is open to all classes. Pit gates will open at 5 pm with admission $15 per
person at the back gate.

Photos:

  1. The late Pete Orr in victory lane at New Smyrna after winning the 1993 Governor’s Cup race…
  2. The Orr family in victory lane last year with winner Travis Cope…
  3. Rico Abreu won the Chili Bowl Midget classic last week in Tulsa, OK and will make his first stock car start Saturday night in the Pete Orr Memorial…
  4. Dalton Sargeant will be another driver making his first start Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway…

Pete Orr in.jpg

The Orr.jpg

How is it possible that Sargeant lives 3 hours from the track, drives Super Late models, and has finished 2nd at the Snowball Derby, and yet has never seen a race at New Smyrna?

Money and Mo Money

Dalton Sargeant, a native of Boca Raton, Florida, has an extensive r?sum? of open-wheeled racing, having competed in various championships in both the USA and Europe.

Sargeant made his competition debut in the Rotax Max Challenge USA Minimax Grand Nationals in 2008 and finished sixth in the overall standings.

He rapidly climbed the Rotax Max Challenge ranks before travelling across the Atlantic in 2012 to take on the European Karting scene in the WSK Euro Series and CIK-FIA European KF3 Championships.

However, now back on American soil, Sargeant makes his car racing debut in the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship with 8Star Motorsports.

Obviously has some talent, and buying his way up the ladder. But I haven’t seen him in person to make my own judgement yet.
This weekend is a good chance to judge future talent.

Personally i can’t wait. Probably gonna show up pretty early and have a SUDS party first.

All other fans welcome