New Smyrna Speedway Race Preview for 3/14/15


New Smyrna Speedway begins its 48th year of operation this Saturday night as
the 2015 NASCAR Whelen All American point season kicks off for six of the
seven classes that will be running at the high-banked half-mile this year.
Seeing action will be the Pro Late Models, Modifieds, Sportsman, Mini Stocks,
Super Stocks and the Bombers, formerly called Strictly Stocks.
The Pro Late Model championship for 2015 is expected to be a wide open affair.
The defending class champion, Australian Will Carroll, has moved on to other
forms of racing and will use his New Smyrna Speedway experience to tackle a
limited schedule on the ARCA tour this year. A good field is expected
Saturday night that will be a mix of veteran drivers and youngsters like Zach
Jarrell of New Smyrna and Wildwood’s Ricky Anderson who should both be strong
contenders for the title this year. Rich Clouser of Deland looks like he’ll
be back behind the wheel of the #80 Sanford Auto Dealers Exchange car as they
turned a number of laps during open practice last Saturday. Tim Russell
Driver Development has not announced any plans so far this year after having
Oklahoma native Tyler Thomas behind the wheel of their car last season.
The Modified class should see the return of the weekly WWE-style battle
between New Smyrna veterans Jerry “The Hammer” Symons (the 2014 champion) and
James “Tank” Tucker. A number of new teams are slated to take to the track
this year along with many drivers who are happy to see the return of the
“open” style Modifieds on a regular basis. Robert Deal of Titusville has two
beautiful cars to choose from to race each time the class runs this season.
Expect Hobe Sound’s Ricky Moxley to run a few races this year when not
coaching his daughter Taylor in her rookie season driving Pro Trucks around
the state. Old pro Doc McKinney of Ft. Pierce is hoping to run as many races
as he can while “Diamond” Jim Higginbotham of Summerfield will become one of
the few drivers who will move up from the E-Modifieds to run regularly this
year. Matt Jarrett of Orlando will be in the field as will “Steady” Mike Dahm
of Enterprise. Joe Jacolone of St. Augustine is prepping a Modified for his
return to New Smyrna after several years off and expects to be in action by
Donny Williams of Tangerine has a brand new car ready to defend his 2014
Sportsman title but he will face a host of challengers this year including
young leadfoot Daniel Conlin, Jr. of St. Cloud and wily veteran Earl “Junior”
Beckner of Apopka. Orlando’s Brandon Christian will move up from the Super
Stock class and will have his brand new machine ready for this week. He’ll be
joined later this month by his teammate, young Michael Held, who also moves up
from the Super Stock ranks. Phillip Bessette has an awesome new racer he is
ready to debut in the class and Todd Allen has a new car in the works as well.
But if you are looking at race “teams” this year, nothing can compare to New
Hampshire car owner Jim Daley who has seven Sportsman cars housed at Sheppard
Racing Enterprises in Deland. Not every one of them will run each week but
look for Winter Garden native Ron Gustafson to make a run at the point title
as he’ll have plenty of machines to choose from.
2014 Mini Stock champion Pat Wells of Altoona is hoping to have his car ready
for opening night. Expect some tough competition in this class for 2015 as
“Mr. Mini Stock” Ted Vulpius of Mims has a new car race ready for Saturday
night. If Vulpius gets “serious” this year, another track championship could
be in the offing for him. David Russell of Melbourne is itching to get
another championship too after what he considered a sub-par 2014 season. The
veteran campaigner has been racing the “four-bangers” for a long time winning
track titles at the now defunct Hialeah Speedway, Orlando SpeedWorld and New
Smyrna Speedway. Tyler Simpson should be in the hunt for a championship this
year as well after taking a half-dozen victories last year, the most in the
Mini Stock division.
Shannon Kelly of Sanford will be looking for a “hat trick” as he goes for his
third consecutive Super Stock championship but he can expect some tough
competition this year from a host of challengers. Justin Reynolds of Merritt
Island has a new look to his racer and will be tough to beat as always while
his younger brother Matt Reynolds expects to run many more races this year.
With a year of “seat time” under her, Becca Samsoe of Deland is hoping to make
it to victory lane this season.
The former Strictly Stock class has been re-named “Bombers” and expect renewed
interest in the track’s “grocery-getter” division. It’s yet to be known if
Jimmy “Spaceman” Barron will be back to defend his 2014 championship but a
host of drivers will be out to claim the title this year including Megan
Matheny of Orlando in her “Old School Racing” Ford T-Bird. Orlando’s Shane
Sutorus is abandoning his Saturn station wagon for a new Ford while Warren
Howie of Pompano Beach plans to run his big Chevy as often as he can.
Pit gates open Saturday afternoon at 3 pm with open practice slated from
4:30-6:30 pm. Grandstand gates open at 6 pm with racing getting under way at
7:30 pm. This weeks events will have a features-only format with the
Sportsman, Mini Stocks, Super Stocks, Pro Late Models and Modifieds running 25
lap events in that order and the Bombers closing out the evening with a 20 lap
Adult admission is $15 with all seniors (65+) and military with ID being
admitted for $13. All kids 11 and under get in free.

An announcement was made on Wednesday that the winners purse for the Modified
class has been boosted to $500 for a regular 25 lap race this year. Also, the
Bomber class now has a purse rather than a trophies-only format. The Bomber
feature winner each night will get $125 with $100 going to second place, $75
to third and $50 to fourth with a $25 payout through the field.

Sunshine Seamless Gutters of DeBary has signed on as title sponsor for the
Mini Stock class. Sunshine Seamless Gutters offer gutter and downspout
installation and repair, leaf guard installation, soffit and/or fascia
installation and repair, pressure washing of gutters and gutter clean outs.
They guarantee all of their work and materials with a ten year labor warranty
and twenty year manufacturer warranty. Sunshine Seamless Gutters reputation
and history of successful business relationships speak for themselves and they
take pride in helping homeowners and contractors, whether it’s a large or
small project. We welcome them to the New Smyrna Speedway family of sponsors
and they can be contacted at (386) 215-7309. If your business is interested
in sponsoring a class, racing event or would just like a billboard or other
advertising at the speedway, contact Scott Cornman at

Although it is some time away, New Smyrna Speedway will celebrate its 50th
year in operation in 2017. The track opened on Sunday April 23, 1967 as
“Daytona Raceway” and operated as a dirt track for a few months before being
paved in late August of that year. Interestingly enough, April 23rd in 2017
also falls on a Sunday, exactly 50 years later. Expect a huge weekend of
racing and it’s just a little over two years away!

Jim Jones will begin his 37th season as the official track photographer at New
Smyrna Speedway… and he hasn’t aged a bit!

Nice!!! NEW Smyrna speedway looking very positive!!! I bet this place will be packed with cars!! this place has beautiful lighting great food nice stands awesome announcer I got my racing on :auto003:

Heard the radio advertisement today on 95.5 HOG,Good stuff :musik010: