New Smyrna Speedway Race Recap for 10/3/15


Fall was in the air Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway as the track hosted week number 30 of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Racing Series. Some fans even had to break out sweaters and light jackets as temperatures late in the evening dipped into the upper 60s with (for once) no rain in sight the entire day.
The track also hosted its second Classic Car show of the year and it proved to be even more successful than the first one as 55 cars crowded the area behind the grandstands before the races began. All of the classics who registered were given five laps on the track following the National Anthem. There were so many cars in attendance that three sessions had to be held to accommodate the big gathering.
October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and the speedway began a full month of activities and fun to generate funds for the track’s Hart to Heart Breast Cancer Foundation. It was also Sanford Auto Dealer’s Exchange (SADE) night and the Sanford-based auto auction matched all the donations collected from fans during the races. A grand total of $714 was collected.
The headliner event of the night was a 50-lap contest for the Pro Late Models and it drew the largest field of the year for the class with 15 race teams in attendance. Brad May blitzed the field in time trials with a top lap of 17.973 seconds. May and his car owner Bobby Sears had been searching for a sponsor all season and finally had one on the car this week as R. K. Edwards, Inc. came on board. The Longwood-based general contractor has supported a number of race teams in the past and May would not disappoint his new sponsor on this night beginning with his quick lap in qualifying. Daniel Keene, Jr. was second quick at 18.105 seconds followed by the 18.130 lap of Tim Russell who brought out his Pro Late Model car this week after dominating the Marion Edwards, Jr. Memorial for the Super Late Models the previous week.
May drew a three pill for the inversion placing Russell on the pole for the half-century grind. Russell managed to lead the opening lap but May was quick to move up from his third starting spot to snare the lead on lap two bringing Keene along with him to pass Russell for second. From that point it was all she wrote as May drove off to his sixth Pro Late win of the year as the entire event ran green to checker. Veteran Michael Williams debuted a brand new car sponsored by Bucked Up Apparel and Camp House Bar & Grill and was running fifth when mechanical issues sidelined him on lap 18. In winning, May lapped everyone up to the top five. Keene raced hard but had to settle for second, well in front of third place Russell. Rich Clouser took fourth with Larry Blount fifth on the lead lap.
Sixth, leading a group of drivers one lap down, was Cody Blair as Blaise Hetznecker, Noah Cornman, Zach Jarrell and Paul White rounded out the top ten. White was making his first-ever Pro Late Model start here in a new AMF Chassis car. Rounding out the finishers were Jeff White, Dalton Smith, Aaron Rader, Williams and John Kennedy.
In what most fans called one of the best races of the year, a field of 17 Speedway Flooring Super Stocks were on hand to duke it out for 25 laps. Shannon Kelly had the pole position and opened up a quick lead but fourth starter Mike Trocki was on the charge and took over the top spot on lap six. Trocki was driving the Manheim Orlando special normally driven by Butch Herdegen who arrived at the track late and watched the proceedings from the grandstands. Meanwhile Preston Hunt in the Sunbelt Rentals/Sanford Auto Dealer’s Exchange machine and point leader Justin Reynolds in the Hot Colors Powder Coating special zipped by Kelly to assume the second and third spots on lap seven.
Caution flew on lap ten as Bobby Holley’s mount stalled in turn three. On the restart, a number of cars near the back of the field got tangled up in turn one with J. T. Tippins getting the worst of it as he hit the wall hard. The red flag was displayed as emergency crews were called to the scene but Tippins emerged from the scrap in OK shape. Dale Howard also got a piece of the concrete and was eliminated while both Eric Kottwitz and Ronnie Hadden were done for the night.
As the field took the green, Reynolds got a great jump and took the lead from Trocki with Hunt looking to get second. Trocki battled back and re-took the lead from Reynolds on lap 15 as the pair began a wild crowd-pleasing side-by-side duel with Hunt just behind them. All of a sudden, Hunt’s engine exploded going into turn one on the 16th lap coating the track with oil and sending cars scattering everywhere. Matt Reynolds, driving the twin car to his older brother Justin, hit the oil and smacked the wall hard and was done for the night. Kelly also spun in the oil but was able to keep going and was not penalized for his spin as he was running fourth at the time.
With Hunt out of the mix it became a two car knock-down, drag-out battle between Trocki and Reynolds with Zachary Curtis and Kelly not far behind. Trocki held the point through lap 19 before Reynolds edged ahead to lead through lap 22. Trocki made a banzai charge low into turn three on the 23rd lap and the pair banged together with Trocki getting enough of an edge to lead the final pair of laps to score the victory. The bright Petty blue #43 “Tribute to the King” machine is the only car to beat Reynolds this year, once with Herdegen behind the wheel and this night with crew chief/sometimes driver Trocki at the helm. Herdegen came out of the stands to join Trocki in a big celebration that would last well into Sunday morning.
Reynolds was not too thrilled with Trocki’s turn three move but took everything with a grain of salt and settled for the runner-up spot as he is well on his way to the 2015 Speedway Flooring Super Stock track points title. Reynolds also managed to finish 12th in the NASCAR Division V standings although he was only able to run 12 races while other drivers around the country were able to run more events to use their best 14 finishes for Division V points. “If it hadn’t been for all the rain outs we had, I think New Smyrna Speedway would have had two national champions,” said Reynolds after the races were over, referring to the fact that Sportsman driver Patrick Thomas had taken the Division III championship when the final points were calculated two weeks ago.
Kelly made a late pass to take third from Curtis at the stripe with Gino Tuminello bringing his SADE-sponsored car home fifth just in front of his brother Ernie who was sixth followed by Larry Harris in seventh as the only car still running at the finish of the attrition-filled race. Mike Dahm was scored eighth at the end with Joe Gerard, Hunt, Matt Reynolds, Hadden, Howard, Kottwitz, Tippins and Holley rounding out the field. George Spears was unable to start. Heat wins were taken by Hunt and Curtis.
Ted Vulpius continues to have the upper hand toward another Sunshine Seamless Gutters Mini Stock championship as he again dominated the action Saturday night in the Guy Callon special. “Mr. Mini Stock” easily won the heat race then grabbed the lead from David Russell on lap four to lead the remaining distance of the 25-lap feature that was slowed only once when Megan Matheny spun in turn two while running fourth on lap 16.
Vulpius crossed to take Ralph Miller’s checkered flag well in front of Russell who just held off Brad Blanton at the stripe for second. Behind that battle came Mark Broat and Matheny who tangled coming down to the checker. Both spun without hitting each other or anything else as Broat was fourth with Matheny crossing the line backwards to get fifth. Bobby Dooley was sixth with Jamie Dixson seventh.
Charlie King, Jr. had the 20-lap Bomber feature in the bag but spun out in turn three on the final lap while going for his second win of the season. King’s spin allowed Aaron Overman to take the checker first for his first career victory in the Tim’s Automotive Chevy Monte Carlo. To go along with the win, Overman took over the season-long points lead in the class as James Skinner continued to have a variety of recent mechanical problems, falling out on lap 15 while running second.
Keith Wylie brought his big Lincoln home in second over young Jeff Gross who was making his first-ever start here in a Toyota Celica. Matt Boner, King and Skinner rounded out the finishers.

Winner Photos by Jim Jones -

  1. Pro LM winner Brad May…
  2. Super Stock winner Mike Trocki…
  3. Mini Stock winner Ted Vulpius…
  4. Bomber winner Aaron Overman…

Brad May led.jpg

Mike Trocki.jpg

Ted Vulpius.jpg

Aaron Overman.jpg