New Smyrna Speedway Race Recap for 3/21/15

GORHAM INHERITS SPORTSMAN WIN - BLACK, SYMONS & SKINNER GET VICTORIES AT NEW
SMYRNA SPEEDWAY

Week number two of the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series at New Smyrna
Speedway produced some great racing with a nice crowd enjoying both the
top-notch action and some fantastic weather to go along with it.
For the second week in a row, 19 Sportsman cars signed in to do battle on the
high banks including most of the ones that had been damaged in last week’s big
wreck that claimed over half the field.
It looked like there might be a repeat of opening night though as the cars of
Sandy Lee, Timmy Todd, Jr., Richard Fiore, Jr. and Justin Starr got tangled up
in turn two on the opening lap to negate the first start of the event. Only
Todd was able to continue as the second attempt at a start was much better
with outside pole sitter Austin Howell grabbing the early advantage. George
Gorham, Jr. moved by Garrett Hill for second on lap five as Hill’s mount began
to drop back, apparently down a cylinder.
As the race continued under green, Gorham reeled in Howell and finally passed
him for the top spot on lap 20 only to see the caution come out one lap later
as Richard Goodrich spun in turn two. Howell got the jump on the restart and
re-claimed the lead, then held off Gorham for the apparent victory. However,
Howell’s tires were found to be too soft in post-race tech and the win was
awarded to Gorham. The victory was a sweet one for the Lakeland driver after
having thrashed all week on his machine after it was badly damaged in the big
lap two wreck the week before.
Daniel Conlin, Jr. made a late charge but had to settle for second in front of
Patrick Thomas, Junior Beckner and John Emerson. Rounding out the top ten
were Todd, Ron Gustafson, Mike Pletka, Goodrich and Jon Compagnone who was
driving the car that had won the previous week with Michael Seay behind the
wheel out of Sheppard Racing Enterprises in Deland. Completing the finishers
were D. J. Farr, Donny Williams, Mike Dahm, Hill, R. J. Glaser, Fiore, Star
and Lee. Heat wins went to Gorham and Thomas.
Ray Black, Jr. of Palm Coast put his Team Scuba Special out front on the
second lap and led the rest of the way to claim his first Pro Late Model win
here. Black, who had the week off from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
where he drives for owner Bobby Dotter (and finished fifth in the
season-opening race at Daytona), ran unchallenged as the entire 25-lap
distance was run under green.
Opening week winner Rich Clouser worked his way up from his scratch starting
spot to take second followed by Anthony Cataldi, Blake Cejner and Colby
Clements. Rounding out the finishers were Zach Jarrell, Noah Cornman, Blaise
Hetznecker and Bob Greene.
The Modified 25-lapper saw some great action with young Matthew Green setting
the pace before his teammate and mentor Alan Bruns (who had won the heat race
earlier) stormed by on lap four bringing Jerry Symons with him. As the field
exited turn two on the fifth lap, Symons just got into Bruns enough to send
him spinning backwards into the back stretch pit entrance barrier. Bruns was
able to drive his car away and actually tried to continue despite some very
severe damage but eventually had to drop from competition. Symons was sent to
the rear of the restart line-up for his involvement but that only seemed to
make “The Hammer” even more determined.
Matt Wheeler inherited the lead at this point and did a fantastic job holding
the field at bay for ten laps before Symons turned up the wick and went to the
front on lap 16. From there it was “all she wrote” as Symons ran off and hid
in the America Auto, Tires & Service/Kelly Roofing Special. Wheeler’s great
run came to a halt on lap 18 as he and Ricky Moxley touched coming off turn
four sending Wheeler spinning to bring out the second, and final, yellow
flag.
Symons easily pulled away to take the victory over arch-rival Tank Tucker with
Moxley third over Green and Wheeler. Matt Jarrett took sixth followed by Jim
Higginbotham, Bruce Packer, Mike Dahm, Bruns and George Dahm.
After winning the Bomber heat race, James Skinner of Melbourne sped past early
leader Shane Sutorus and went on to win his first career feature at New Smyrna
in his Chevy Monte Carlo sponsored by Clean Cut Tree Service. Charlie King
made several runs at Skinner but his Chevy Cavalier just did not have enough
“oomph” and he settled for the runner-up spot while Sutorus held on for third
in his Lincoln over Megan Matheny and Aaron Overman.
The evening of racing was dedicated to Darlene Corso-Patsos, wife of long-time
New Smyrna Speedway sponsor Skip Patsos of Skips Boots & Western Wear who lost
her battle with cancer on Friday.
Next Saturday night, the Super Late Models will make their first regular
season appearance going for 50 laps. Also on the card will be the Super
Stocks, Mini Stocks and Bombers with racing starting at 7:30 pm.

Race winner photos courtesy Jim Jones:

  1. Sportsman winner George Gorham, Jr.
  2. Pro Late Model winner Ray Black, Jr.
  3. Modified winner Jerry Symons
  4. Bomber winner James Skinner

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Jerry Symons.jpg

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