SLM & MOD NOTES: NIGHT FIVEby Jeremy Troiano & Bob Dillner
MATHEWS OK AFTER WILD RIDE ON FRONT STRETCH
The Super Late Model feature on Tuesday night was one of those not many people will soon forget. A couple of those people will be Ryan Mathews and some of the fans sitting in the front row of the stands just before the start finish line.
On lap six, second-place running David Rogers got crossed up coming out of four. As he slowed and gathered the car back up, Mathews and the rest of the field ran up on Rogers fast.
Mathews hit the back of Rogers’ car. Mathews’ left front actually jumped over Rogers’ right rear, sending Mathews into the air and into the fence along the front stretch.
Mathews car tore down part of the catch fencing before sliding on its side along the front stretch wall. Eventually, Mathews car tumbled along the front stretch, doing a serious of flips before coming to rest heading into turn one on all four wheels.
Luckily, being at the head of the field, no other cars slammed into Mathews car before the red came out and everyone came to a stop.
“The 11 car (Rogers) got out of shape and pretty much just pinched me right into the wall as he was gathering it up,” said Mathews, who was uninjured in the accident. “I don’t know how it happened, but somehow the car must have caught the wall and/or the fence and went twirling and whatever. I don’t know really. You saw it better than I did.
“It is too bad, because we had a great qualifying run. We had good track position and we were trying to use it. It is just too bad that this had to happen.”
Rogers simply got loose and everything went downhill from there.
“My car got loose coming up off the corner,” said Rogers, who won the Super Late Model race on Sunday. “I rolled out of the throttle. I thought I picked the throttle back up in time. Evidently, whoever was right on the outside of me had more speed. I don’t know what he hit. He must have run over the right rear. I thought I was just loose and I thought ‘whatever.’ Before you knew it, it was like ‘wham’ in the right rear and looked up in the mirror and the fence was getting torn down. I thought I had it saved again and I got hit again and turned around. I don’t know what happened.
Ryan Mathews (#21) goes flipping as the rest of the field bears down on him on Tuesday. (51 Photo)
Ryan Mathews (#21) and David Rogers (#11) were two of the cars that were damaged in the first "big one" at New Smyrna.
“I caused it I guess. I just got loose and rolled up off the throttle. I don’t’ think I moved up on him. I think it was just that he was going so much faster than me at the time.
“I caught a little glimpse and then when I was spinning around, I saw him again. I was like ‘oh my goodness.’ It wasn’t a good deal. The car is tore up everywhere. I’m just glad he and everyone was ok.”
Rogers knows about horrible accidents. He is still recovering from a serious accident last year that nearly ended his racing career.
Mathews car knocked a hole in the fence that had to be fixed before racing could resume.
Officials had to stop the race for some time to try and fix the fence along the front stretch and also get all fo the damaged equipment off of the track.
Other drivers involved in the crash included Michele Jourdain Jr., Trevor Stewart, Mike Fritts and Louis Mechalides. All but Stewart and Jourdain were able to continue however.
SECOND SLM RED FLAG TAKES OUT MANY MORE
After the cleanup from the first accident, the cars made it just one more lap before the second rud flag of the night came out during Tuesday’s Super Late Model feature. While this wreck wasn’t as spectacular, it did a lot more damage to a lot more cars.
Ironically, the accident started with two Canadian drivers. Pete Shepard Jr. got a little tap from behind by Shaun McWhirter coming out of turn four. Shepard chased the car all the way down the frontstretch, but eventually lost it going into turn one. Shepard’s car collected McWhirter and he crossed back up the track, along with Jack Landis. As the cars started to crash, several others piled in and spun and wrecked while trying to avoid the chaos.
When the smoke cleared, at least 10 cars had some form of damage as a result of the accident and seven were retired from the race right away. Included in the accident, along with Shepard, Landis and McWhirter were the cars of Dale Nottedstad, Alex Yontz, Bill Whorff Jr., Shawn Dunning and Ron Vanes among others.
“Everything happened fast,” said Shepard. “We were running good. We came into the race with high hopes. A car tagged us going down the straightaway and really got into the back of us hard. I tried to save it but couldn’t do it. We ended up hitting the wall hard.
“The guy got into me for no reason. It was just stupidity. Our week is done now. We wanted to run up front. I’m disappointed. I’d do anything to find a car and race.”
And Shepard said if he had a car to race, there might be some payback coming to McWhirter
Pete Shepard looks over his car.
“Oh well, if that is what they said, bring it on,” said McWhirter. “They can wreck me or do whatever. I’ve got another car in the trailer.
“Look, I’m out of the race now too. You think I wanna take myself out of the race?
“The 59 (Greg Boone) and 97 (Shepard) were just hitting each other there and the 97got sideways. I tried to get to the other side to avoid it all and he came back up the race track and I just caught him with the left front of my car. It was just an accident. I didn’t mean to do nothing to the kid. I race with him in Canada. I hope they can get the car fixed.”
There were tons of wrecked cars on Tuesday night.
Landis was the first of the innocent victims to get caught up in the melee.
“The 31 and the 97 got into it,” said Landis on what he saw. “That sent the 97 to the bottom. I think he didn’t have control. The 31 went to the outside and they were both slowing up some. I wasn’t going to get stopped for it. I was hard in the gas thinking I was going to make it on the outside, but I didn’t quite make it. Then it got ugly.”
Landis nosed his #101 into the wall hard, but the damage isn’t too bad.
“It is easy damage. I don’t think the right front actually
hit the wall. It is just mainly body damage and superficial stuff. The good thing was that they turned me before I hit the wall. The front of the nose took the brunt of it.
“Hey, this is Speedweeks, you know!”
There was plenty of fall out from the accident. Several drivers were not pleased.
“They were driving like a bunch of idiots out there,” said Alex Yontz. “If that is how they drive down here, they are crazy. They were driving like it was the last lap on the first lap.”
HEARTBREAK AGAIN FOR LIA
Donny Lia has been the “heartbreak kid” this week at Speedweeks. On Tuesday night, for the second time in four Modified features during Speedweeks, Lia appeared to have the field covered and was pulling away in the lead when mechanical problems cut his night short.
Lia, who started third, took the lead over on lap two from Charlie Pasteryak and proceeded to pull away from the field.
However, on lap 12, the #18 abruptly slowed on the backstretch and Lia pulled the car in the pits.
“We blew a transmission,” said a frustrated Lia after the race. “I’m not bothered that we broken again. Everyone knows who the best car is here and has been all week. We just are really having bad luck. We buy the best of everything. And when you have stuff break and go wrong, that is just the luck of the draw. Right now, we are on the
Donny's #18 sits on pit road after blowing a transmission early in the Mod feature.
short end of the luck scale. You know, it doesn’t bother me right now.
“The car was just perfect. It was fine. I could have gone 150 laps on that one set of tires. That was basically a Tour set up right there. And we are using it for sprint races. The thing was that good.
“We started third. I had to pass one car really. Usually, you just hang the guy on the outside pole out. Basically, I just had to get around Charlie. I knew that we were better than him. And he is a gentleman. The guy always gives you a lane and races you with respect. That is the way I like to race people. I knew it would be alright racing him. Charlie is one of the good guys. I like racing him. You’ve got other guys out there that would wreck half of the field.”
It was the second time that Lia’s problems have resulted in a Ted Chrospther win. Lia was more frustrated at that than his mechanical problems.
Donny (#18) leads the pack and begins to pull away from the field.
“It’s a joke. There are a couple of guys that are the luckiest guys in the whole world. These guys win races that they shouldn’t be winning and they are considered one of the best drivers out there.
“It just sucks to see who won again. I sit there and watch a late model race this guy is in and he wins that one as the whole field practically wrecks behind him and takes out every car that is capable of beating him.
“The other day, he wins a modified race when we have a problem and we give up the lead. We were just cruising. We had that race all locked up. Tonight race we also had locked up. My transmission blows tonight and I
look to my right and there goes Teddy on the outside going by. I was just laughing in the car. Then everyone turns around and says he’s the best, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, the guy has won four races that a 10th place car could have won by just being in the right spot at the right time.
“Here you got a guy that is considered one of the best drivers and he’s won four races so far total now by luck. It is funny because the guy is a bomb. Everything he’s been getting through just to win races… he’s the luckiest guy alive. But I got to hand it to him. I wish I had his luck. I’d rather be lucky than good any day. It is just funny, you know. It’s funny that the guy who has that luck is him. It is hilarious.”
ARRE OUT OF BEAR’S #14, BURTUCCIO IN
Tim Arre took himself out of “Bear” Calicchio’s #14 Modified on Tuesday night, handing the seat over to JR Burtuccio for the remainder of the week.
“We couldn’t get it to where we wanted it,” said “Bear.” “It was more Tim than me saying he wanted out of the car. I was going to stick with it. He said we were just chasing our tails. We put Eric (Beers) in the car to get his opinion and we had two different opinions. Timmy said he couldn’t drive it the way it needed to be driven and he told me to see if I could find someone else to drive it.
“JR was hanging out so he got in the car. After the race, we determined that we are fine. The car still did a bunch of things it did with Timmy. We are headed in the right direction though. It is more competitive now.”
JR Bertuccio took over teh #14 on Tuesday.
There were no bad feelings between Arre and “Bear.”
“It is just not going good,” said Arre. “We had to make a change. We made a bunch of changes and I suggested that we put someone else in it. I didn’t know if it was me, the car or what. We are still on good terms and everything. We just needed to make a change.
“Instead of wasting a bunch of days, he needs to get a win. I just couldn’t get it to go. Everything we tried just didn’t work. We just put someone else in it. No big deal.
“I don’t know, but it didn’t look like it went any better to me.”
Bertuccio was happy for the opportunity.
“Timmy said he didn’t want to drive it no more. (Bear) said if I could turn a decent time I could drive it the rest of the week. I was in the right place at the right time.
“I changed a bunch of stuff, which made it a lot better. Tonight was like a practice for us.”
Bertuccio has been a regular at Speedweeks over the last few years, but has not run at Speedweeks this time. His 2005 plans are also up in the air.
“We don’t’ have too many guys left. Stuff is half-assed. We have no decent motors. It was better off this way. We are going to try and run the tour if we can get a ride in someone else’s stuff, if not, I’ll probably end up at Riverhead.”
ARRE COMPLETELY DONE??
Tim Arre told our Bob Dillner that he was going to hang up his driving shoes.
Jumping out of the #14 car wasn’t the only news that Tim Arre made on Tuesday night.
He decided to hang it up for good.
“I think I’m retiring. I need to do a little searching. I won the last race I ran. I think this is it. It isn’t much fun to me anymore.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I don’t’ have the money to do it right. I wanna win. It is getting to a point as if you can’t do it 100-percent, why do it. It isn’t worth it to me anymore.”
GOOD NIGHT FOR GOODALE
Tuesday night was the best showing of the week for Kevin Goodale. He had his best finish of Speedweeks thus far, second, and had a shot to win the race near the end when he had a big run on Ted Christopher before TC shut the door.
“It was good,” said Goodale. “I wish I would have gotten him on the restart. He was a little slow. I had a wheel on him, but he shut the door on me. I was in the grass. I tired mh best. He closed it down. I thought I would get him.
“I would have done the same thing though. The only chance I had to get out was to get Charlie at the start of the race and I could have gotten out front.
“Our week is getting better. We only got one more position after this. That is what we need this week.”
ROUGH NIGHT FOR MECHALIDES
To say Louis Mechalides had a rough night on Tuesday would be an understatement.
First, he was involved in the first caution of the night when Ryan Mathews got into the front stretch wall. That resulted in just minor damage.
Second, he got into it the back of Jay Middleton’s #74 when Middleton’s car broke coming off the foruth corner and then get turned around by James Powell III.
Third, he got into a mixup with Jeff Emery while coming up through the field, sending him spinning again.
Louis had a few more donuts on his car by the end of the night.
Fourth, after the accident with Emery, he had to deal with a retaliation effort by Emery, who hit Louis on the frontstretch while under caution.
“I was trying to get up under the 74 and I guess his throttle linkage broke or something. Someone then got into me from the rear and turned me around. Coming back up through traffic, I just got into someone, I don’t know if it was a lapped car or slow car or what. They were all over the place. We needed up all banged up.
“That isn’t too smart to run into a car under yellow. That isn’t cool I think.”
POINTS LEAD SLIPS AWAY FROM MIDDLETON
Jay Middleton did have a lead in the Super Late Model point standings heading into Tuesday night. Heading into Wednesday night, he doesn’t any more.
Middleton was running second in the Super Late Model feature after all of the accidents when he dramatically slowed coming out of turn four. He was hit from behind by Louis Mechalides, who then got turned around by James Powell III. Middleton’s throttle linkage broken, leaving him powerless.
Jay Middleton had some tough luck on Tuesday.
“I went into the corner and I went to push the throttle and I didn’t fell it anymore,” said Middleton. “I pushed down and felt nothing there. I just pulled down to the bottom and stuck my arm out the window, hoping no one would kill me there. Louis hit me and then I think someone got to him. He did a good job of not tearing my stuff up.
“We came in and fixed it, but by that point, it was too late. We were two laps down.”
It was a shame, as Middleton thought he had something for eventual winner Christopher.
“We had a good car. I was just trying to conserve. Christopher was running really hard at the start of the
race with 25 laps still to go. I think I could have out run him in the long run.
“This is the new engine. It is running good. We were running 17.70s in the race, which was faster than the pole today. I guess this type of stuff happens though.”
BEERS GOES BACK-TO-FRONT IN BOTH MOD RACES
Eric Beers had an eventuful night, pulling double-duty, running in both the Mod and SK Mod features on Tuesday night.
In the Mod race, Beers was running up front when he got together with Jeff Malave and had to come from the back of the pack.
“I got underneath Malave getting into the corner and he started coming down. I tired to keep the left sides as low as I could and I ended up catching the apron and I just went up and touched him. When I touched him, Teddy (Chrostopher) was right up on me and turned me. It was one of those deals.
“We had the front end bent up pretty bad. The toe was bent in a little bit. We came in and adjusted the car. Had to start in the back and start all over. I guess we had some guys that were worse off than us, because we were able to come back and finish fourth.
He then drove the #71 SK Modified that Tim Arre piloted to a win the night before and came home fourth, after coming from the back of the pack towards the front in that race as well.
Eric Beers had a lot of work to do in coming from the back to the front.
WAYNE ANDERSON AT THE TRACK, NOT RACING
Super Late Model veteran Wayne Anderson is at New Smyrna, but not racing.
“I came here to help Ryan Foster from Arkansas,” said Anderson. “I wanna race real bad. I do this for a living and it was a great opportunity for me to work with him this week and maybe he’ll have some experience by the end of nine nights. Ryan has been working out of my shop for a year now.
“Our season starts a week after Speedweeks ends, so this is a good chance for us to take it off and come help him.”
TOUGH NIGHT FOR DRAWDY
“We broke a right front shock. We lost tire stagger in the front. We came in took look at it and ended up breaking a shock in the process.