New Smyrna Speedway Race Recap for 6/13/15 and Preview for 6/20/15


There was plenty of action Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway for night
number 14 of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Racing Series on a very warm night
that featured not a cloud in the sky… very unusual for mid-June.
Once again the Sportsman drivers were out in force with 22 signing in to do
battle. The Jim Daley team housed at Sheppard Racing Enterprises in Deland
alone brought six cars to the track. Along with their regular drivers, the
team had a car on hand for D. J. Farr, the young driver from Lake Helen who
finished second in points last year but has been struggling with changes being
made to his regular ride this season. Daley offered Farr a ride in his #0 car
while the #20 machine was offered to young Modified driver Matt Jarrett of
Orlando. Horrible luck continued to plague Vero Beach driver Richard Fiore,
Jr. as his mount blew an engine in practice and he headed home before sunset.
The Sportsman field was split into two heats and the first one proved costly
to defending champion Donny Williams. Ron Gustafson got loose coming off turn
two while battling for the lead and stacked up the field. Gustafson regained
control but several cars went for wild rides behind him. When the dust
settled, Williams’ car had severe damage to both ends while the machine of
Garrett Hill needed a tow in with right front damage. Williams’ #111 was done
for the night while Hill’s crew effected repairs and got him out for the
feature later. John Emerson went on to dominate the first heat while the
second heat was clean and green all the way and saw St. Cloud’s Scotty
Bramlett take the checker first.
Twenty-one cars would start the 25-lap feature event. Matt Jarrett was
scheduled to start the race from the outside pole but, in a nice gesture of
sportsmanship, he and car owner Daley opted to let Donny Williams take over
the machine in order to earn his points on the night. Williams was relegated
to the back of the starting line-up due to the driver change and that moved
Richard Goodrich to the outside pole with Daniel Conlin, Jr. on the point.
Three other cars went to the back for the start after being offered an extra
$150 if they could win the race after starting from the rear of the grid.
Point leaders Patrick Thomas and Junior Beckner along with second heat winner
Bramlett took the challenge.
Goodrich grabbed the early lead and was looking very strong as Emerson worked
his way up to second after starting fifth. Michael Held spun off turn two to
bring out the first caution on lap ten. At that point, Emerson pitted from
second place and, after attention from his crew, returned to the track but
stopped against the wall on the back stretch just as the green was about to
fly. Emerson came down pit road again but was not allowed to return to the
race by track officials.
Derrick Wood, again behind the wheel of the Daley #1 this week, breezed by
Goodrich into the lead on the restart and led three circuits before Thomas
made his way to the front. The other two drivers who took the challenge to
start from the back, Beckner and Bramlett, were still mired mid-pack. On lap
17, Timmy Todd, Jr. lost control coming off turn two and slid hard into the
inside back stretch wall severely damaging his machine and ending his
The restart saw a big resurgence for Wood as his car was working extremely
well in the lower groove as he and Thomas duked it out side-by-side until the
caution flew again on lap 19. Goodrich got loose and spun in turn four with
several cars getting stacked up behind him. Bramlett spun and was hit in the
driver’s door by Held who was going backwards at the time after also having
spun to try and avoid things. Bramlett was finished for the night while
Goodrich pitted and eventually dropped out. Held continued but got involved
in another incident one lap after the green flag was displayed as he and his
teammate Brandon Christian tangled coming off turn four. Both cars got a
piece of the front stretch wall with Held out of the running while Christian
continued in his damaged mount.
The final restart saw Thomas change his strategy as he opted to use the inside
for the restart rather than the “preferred” outside line as Wood’s car was
running so good down low. That strategy worked as Thomas was able to pull
away from Wood as Wood got locked into a battle with teammate Ron Gustafson.
Thomas led the remaining five laps to claim his fifth win of the year in his
unsponsored car and he was quick to thank his crew for getting the car ready
as he’d been busy coaching Little League baseball during the week. He was
challenged by his team to do ten push-ups in victory lane if he won Saturday
night which Thomas gladly did to the crowd’s approval.
Wood came home a strong second with Gustafson right behind him in third.
Garrett Hill did an incredible job after his heat race wreck coming from 15th
on the starting grid to fourth. New Hampsire’s Sandy Lee again had another
good run taking fifth. Beckner struggled with his car all night but still
managed sixth while Williams drove his unfamiliar Daley car to a fine seventh
after starting scatch on the field. Conlin struggled with and ill-handling
car but still took eighth with Farr and R. J. Glaser rounded out the top ten.
Car owner Daley and chief wrench Alan “Gadget” Sheppard were all smiles as all
six of their machines finished in the top ten. Christian came back from his
lap 20 incident to get 11th while George Alexander was the last car running in
12th. Completing the finishers (all DNF’s) were Held, Goodrich, Bramlett,
Warren Howie (who ran out of gas after a nice debut making his first start in
his new immaculate Sportsman after moving up from the Bomber class), Todd,
Mike Pletka, Emerson, Mike Dahm and George Dahm.
Zach Jarrell was looking for a really good night in the Pro Late Models as he
was already assured to take over the point lead as Rich Clouser did not race
as he and his family were on vacation in North Carolina. Jarrell came into
the evening just one point behind Clouser, then drew the pole for the 25-lap
Jarrell led the first two laps just before Michael Lira nudged Noah Cornman
into a spin as the field started lap three. Cornman got his spot back for the
restart while Lira went to the back of the line-up.
On the restart Brad May blew past Jarrell and began to build up a big
advantage. Lira was charging again and took second from Jarrell on lap eight
as Jarrell’s car began to fall off the pace. Jeff White spun in turn two to
bring out the yellow on lap 11 as Jarrell pitted his ailing machine and called
it a night. Although he ultimately would finish last in the field, Jarrell
still snared the season-long point lead.
May was again on rails in his Bobby Sears Racing Special as he easily held off
Lira for his third win in a row and fourth on the season. Blaise Hetznecker
held off Cornman in a great late-race battle while Auburn (AL) University
student C. J. Castetter was fifth trailed by White, Aaron Radar and Jarrell.
James “Tank” Tucker used his outside pole starting spot to his advantage and
led every lap of the 25-lap Modified headliner. Tucker had already built up a
huge lead when fourth-running Shain Held (out for the first time this year)
came down pit road on lap 13 and dropped from the event. One lap later, Alan
Bruns spun off turn two while running second. Bruns didn’t hit anything and
was able to continue.
The restart saw Tucker and arch-rival/earlier heat winner Jerry “The Hammer”
Symons side-by-side but Tucker had the stronger car as he easily pulled away
and sped to his third win of the season. Symons took a solid second while
Bruns rebounded for third in front of Matt Wheeler and Matthew Green. Green
won an extra $100 hard-charger award put up by fellow Modified driver Joe
Jacalone who has an auto repair/car sales business in St. Augustine. Jacalone
was not in the field as he is still “tweaking” on his new car and instead went
to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France - in front of his TV set. Completing the
finishers were Bruce Packer, Matt Jarrett, Held and Mike Dahm. Robert Deal
was at the track for the first time since Speedweek but did not run either the
heat or feature after having problems in hot laps.
Greg Bruce had his Saturn on the pole for the Bomber feature and he would run
“rings” around his competition as he won by over half a lap over heat winner
Charlie King as the 20-lap contest ran green to checker with no yellows.
Bruce claimed his second victory of the year with King second in front of new
point leader James Skinner. Crash Tyner was fourth followed by Dustin Higdon,
Aaron Overman, Shane Sutorus (driving with a broken spindle on his Saturn
wagon), Travis Soukup and Zachary Curtis who broke an engine in his potent
This coming Saturday night is “Florida Firm Night” hosted by the Florida Firm
of attorneys; Colling, Gilbert, Wright and Carter. It’s also “Dad’s Night
Out” in honor of Father’s Day and all dads will get free admission on the
grandstand side. In action for week 15 of the NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series will be the Super Late Models, Super Stocks, Sunshine Seamless Gutters
Mini Stocks and the Bombers.
Anthony Sergi holds the Super Late Model point lead by five markers over Brad
May and by eight over David Rogers. Justin Reynolds, who had his five race
win streak snapped by Butch Herdegen two weeks ago, still holds a healthy
point lead in the division, currently ahead of Bobby Holley by 32 points with
defending champion Shannon Kelly another two markers behind Holley. Ted
Vulpius has lost just once this year in Sunshine Seamless Gutters Mini Stock
competition but still has only a five point edge over Brad Blanton, the only
other driver to win in the class so far this year.
The Bomber points changed significantly last week when former point leader
Shane Sutorus told track officials that he was credited with points for a race
a few weeks back when he was not at the track and had another driver in his
car. After removing those points from his tally, Sutorus is now third in the
standings behind new point leader James Skinner and Aaron Overman. Sutorus
says he’ll be going all-out though to get back on top.
Pit gates open Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm with open practice from 5-6:30
pm. Grandstand gates open a 6 pm with all fans invited to come out early for
the pre-race party featuring live music at the Throttle to Bottle Pub courtesy
of Pub 44 in New Smyrna along with $1.00 beers and half-off bar food menu.
Racing begins at 7:30 pm with 8-lap heat races for the Super Stocks, Sunshine
Seamless Gutters Mini Stocks and Bombers. After intermission the Super Stocks
will run their 25-lap feature followed by 25 laps for the Super Late Models
and Sunshine Seamless Gutters Mini Stocks. The evening wraps up with a 20-lap
contest for the Bombers.
Adult admission is $15 with all seniors (65+) and military with valid ID
admitted for $13 but, remember, all dads will be admitted free of charge in
honor of Father’s Day and, as always, all kids aged 11 and under are free.

A reminder that there is an open practice session this Thursday, June 18th.
Pit gates open at 5 pm with practice from 6-10 pm. Pit admission is $10 per

Also, experienced cooks are needed at New Smyrna Speedway. E-mail Concession
Manager Holli Schwegler at or fax your resume to

New Smyrna Speedway will introduce their new “Entertainment Director” this
coming Saturday night, June 20th… you won’t want to miss him (or is it a

Photos (Victory lane courtesy

  1. Super Late Model winner Brad May…
  2. Sportsman winner Patrick Thomas…
  3. Timmy Todd, Jr.'s car was just one of several damaged in Sportsman class wrecks…
  4. Modified winner Tank Tucker…
  5. Bomber winner Greg Bruce…

Three Pro Late Model wins in a row for Brad May.jpg

Patrick Thomas was ).jpg

Tank Tucker.jpg

Greg Bruce.jpg

Clearly, another bit of brilliant driving & strategy from Mr. Thomas.