New Smyrna Speedway Racing Recap for 3/14/15

THREE FIRST TIME WINNERS HIGHLIGHT NEW SMYRNA SPEEDWAY 2015 OPENER

Fans were treated to plenty of wild action that produced several torn-up race
cars and some wild finishes Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway as the track
opened its 48th season of racing and its second under the NASCAR Whelen All
American Racing Series.
When Michael Seay showed up at the race track Saturday afternoon all he
expected to do was to hang out with friends and help whichever team needed his
assistance. However, the Sheppard Racing Enterprises team out of Deland had
four Sportsman cars on hand for owners Jim Daley and Sandy Lee and were one
driver short. Seay was offered a ride in Lee’s #10 car as Lee had already
decided to drive Daley’s #77 in the race while R. J. Glaser was set to run the
#20 machine while Ron Gustafson would be wheeling the #38.
The only problem was that Seay had no racing uniform, helmet, shoes etc. with
him. But he could not pass up the opportunity, so Seay borrowed the gear he
needed and decided to take the ride he was offered which ultimately would be a
very good move.
A very nice field of Sportsman cars were on hand for the first point race of
the year as 19 cars signed in to do battle. Eighteen would start the 25-lap
feature as Levi Hammond, moving up from the Mini Stock ranks, had problems
with his new racer in hot laps and headed home early.
Luck of the draw placed defending Sportsman champion Donny Williams on the
pole with Glaser on the outside for the start. Williams grabbed the lead at
the outset but, just as the field was about to complete the second lap, Glaser
got a bit high coming off turn four and checked up. That caused a big melee
on the front stretch that would eventually collect over half the field with
several cars receiving major damage including the ones of George Gorham, Jr.
and Scott Bramlett who hit head-on just to the left of the flag stand. When
all was said and done, Bramlett and Gorham were done for the night as were
Patrick Thomas, Daniel Conlin, Jr., Timmy Todd, Jr., Brandon Christian and
Austin Howell. Richard Goodrich and Mike Pletka were also involved but were
able to continue while Seay, who started last on the grid, just did manage to
get his car stopped in time.
On the restart, Pletka looped his mount in between turns three and four.
Gustafson, who was trying to get to the pits with a faltering engine, had
nowhere to go and hit Pletka’s car while trying to get around the spinning
machine. Gustafson was done for the evening but Pletka again was able to stay
on the track after making a brief pit stop for repairs. By this time only ten
of the 18 starters were left in competition with just one circuit officially
in the books.
Williams maintained his advantage once the field actually settled into racing
mode as Junior Beckner moved in to challenge. The pair began to run and hide
from third-running Justin Starr and everyone else with Beckner trying
everything in his bag of tricks to get around Williams. Coming off turn two
on lap 17, Beckner made an outside move on Williams and the two cars touched
knocking the rear bumper loose on Williams’ car. The contact also flattened
the left front tire on Beckner’s car but, before he could realize the trouble
he was in, Beckner’s car slid up the track in turn three and pounded the wall
with a loud boom that was enough to shake the grandstands. Beckner was a bit
shaken but unhurt by the impact. Meanwhile, Williams was forced to pit to
have his loose bumper removed which meant he would have to restart from the
tail of the field.
Starr inherited the lead but Seay was on the charge as he had become quite
comfortable with his new ride, sliding into second just after the green flew.
Starr managed to hold on for three laps but Seay zoomed by him on lap 20 while
Williams charged hard back up to second but was unable to unseat Seay from the
top spot. Seay, who has run at New Smyrna Speedway for several years
primarily in Mini Stocks and Super Late Models, took his first win of any kind
here. Interestingly, the car he was driving was carrying the #10 which is the
number Seay has run on his own cars over the years.
Seay was joined in victory lane by a jubilant Sheppard Racing Enterprises crew
and his friends and he indicated he was simply “stunned” by the way things
turned out. Williams was happy with his second place finish despite the
damage to his car that also developed a “miss” in the engine during the late
laps. Starr came home third for his first career podium finish while Goodrich
ran steady to fourth ahead of Sandy Lee, Seay’s car owner. Pletka and Mike
Dahm were sixth and seventh and the only other cars still running. Rounding
out the finishers (all DNF’s) were Glaser, Beckner, John Emerson, Howell,
Todd, Bramlett, Christian, Conlin, Gorham, Thomas and Gustafson.
The Modified feature produced another first-time winner as popular Ricky
Moxley scored his first-ever victory in wire-to-wire fashion after running
second and third on several occasions.
Moxley had the outside pole for the start of the 25-lap contest and he wasted
little time building up a big advantage. Pole sitter Matt Bosowski of Hudson,
NH held the second spot for four laps but could not hold off defending track
champion Jerry “The Hammer” Symons who took over the second position on the
fourth lap. Eveyone figured that Symons would quickly be on Moxley’s tail but
such was not the case as Moxley was simply flying in his new machine recently
purchased from Kevyn Terry. “Diamond” Jim Higginbotham fell off the pace just
past the mid point of the event as his engine lost oil pressure.
This one looked like it might go green all the way but the yellow flag was
displayed on lap 20 for Matt Jarrett’s spin off turn two giving Symons and the
rest of the field a shot at Moxley. Moxley quickly opened up a decent
advantage on the restart only to see the caution out again on lap 22 as
Jarrett and Bosowski tangled and hit the wall in turn one eliminating both
from competition.
Moxley was again up to the task on the restart and held off Symons over the
final three circuits to claim the win. Matt Wheeler started eighth and
finished third advancing five spots from his starting position to earn a
special $100 “Hard Charger Award” put up by Jacolone Enterprises Auto Sales
and Service of St. Augustine. Tank Tucker took fourth in front of Matthew
Green with Bosowski, Jarrett, Mike Dahm and Higginbotham completing the
finishers.
Zach Jarrell led the first seven laps of the Pro Late Model feature but could
not hold back veteran Rich Clouser who took over the point on lap eight and
sped to an easy win. Caesar Bacarella and young Noah Corman began exciting
the crowd by putting on a ding-dong battle for third spot that culminated in
the pair tangling in turn one just after the field took the white flag. The
race thus ended under the checker and yellow flags with Clouser taking the win
while Jarrell was the runner-up over Blake Cejner and Blaize Hetznecker.
Cornman and Bacarella were scored fifth and sixth.
A dozen Super Stocks took the green flag for the start of their 25-lapper with
Jeff Colburn using his pole starting spot to grab the early advantage. On lap
five something appeared to break on the car of Dale Howard and he hit the turn
four wall hard. Howard, making a return to racing after several years away,
was done for the night.
Justin Reynolds, sporting a new paint scheme and sponsor (Hot Colors Powder
Coating), took over on the restart and began to build up a big lead until the
second caution flew on lap 16 as Bobby Holley was spun off turn four, narrowly
missing contact with the inner wall. Reynolds again led easily after the
restart as the remainder of the race ran under green although J. T. Tippins
spun out of fourth spot with two laps to go but kept going. Following
Reynolds to the checker were defending champion Shannon Kelly, a resurgent
Holley, Preston Hunt and Gino Tumminello. Becca Samsoe took sixth trailed by
newcomer Eric Kottwitz, Tippins, Ronnie Hadden, Colburn, Mike Dahm and Howard.
Justin Spears did not start the feature.
Ted Vulpius led all the way to claim the win in the Sunshine Seamless Gutters
Mini Stock feature. Vulpius, known to his peers as “Mr. Mini Stock,” has a
new ride this year driving a car owned by Guy Callon who is battling cancer
and Vulpius dedicated the win to Callon and told the fans he hopes to take a
few more before the season ends.
Vulpius won by a country mile in this one as Brad Blanton made a late charge
to second but was well behind the winner. Jamie Dixson took third in front of
David Russell and Mark Broat. New driver Bobby Dooley had problems during
practice and did not start.
Zachary Curtis showed up to run the Bomber (formerly Strictly Stock) feature
with a six-cylinder Hyundai that was driven last year by Charlie King. Curtis
was the class of the field and led the first 12 laps before Aaron Overman
looped his machine in turn four to bring out the caution.
On the restart Curtis’ car lost power and he quickly fell off the pace and he
stopped in turn two to bring out the yellow again. Curtis got the car going
again and re-took the lead from Robert Skinner on lap 17 and appeared on his
way to yet another win. However, the car shut off again on the white flag lap
and Curtis slowed to a crawl as Wes Railing, Jr. sped to the lead in his
Saturn station wagon and took the checker for his first-ever win at New Smyrna
Speedway.
Following Railing to the stripe were Skinner, Shane Sutorus, Overman, Dan
Webb, and Megan Matheny with Curtis scored in seventh spot. Warren Howie did
not start.
Next week, the Pro Late Models, Modifieds, Sportsman and Bombers return for
week two of the 2015 season while the Sunshine Seamless Gutters Mini Stocks
and Super Stocks have the week off.
Congratulations are also in order for New Smyrna Speedway driver Michael Lira
of Port Orange who placed eighth in the ARCA race at Mobile (AL) International
Speedway. Also, former NSS Super Late Model driver Brian Finney of Merritt
Island came back from an altercation in the race to score a nice tenth place
finish.

Photos:

  1. Michael Seay wins Sportsman feature…
  2. Part of the big Sportsman crash on lap two…
  3. Boneman took this shot of Modified winner Ricky Moxley being photographed by Jim Jones…
  4. Rich Clouser talks to the crowd after his Pro LM win…
  5. Super Stock winner Justin Reynolds (Jim Jones Photo)

Justin Reynolds.jpg