Trackside Now: Smyrna Speedweeks - Sunday, Feb. 10th
Lots Of Big Wrecks... And Big Winners At New Smyrna
2008 Smyrna Speedweeks
Super Late Models
Tour-Type Mods
Much More
Feb. 8th-16th
New Smyrna Speedway
New Smyrna, Florida
Sunday 11:15pm ET - Zach Stroupe made it three-for-three in Pro Challenge Series events at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks.  The older of the Stroupe brothers took Sunday night's 25-lap Pro Challenge Series event. 

Stroupe led from the start of the event and held off JL Snowden over the whole event to grab the win.  Stroupe's younger brother, Nick, won one of the two Pro Challenge Series events at Orlando SpeedWorld this past weekend.

"I have been sick with the flu," said Stroupe.  "I think I got it last night.  I got in the car and the car was great.  JL gave me a good run.  I respect him for that because no one could do it last year.  We had some pressure from JL.  The second half of the race we pulled away.  That is what we did last year.  The car ran great."

Jason Burchard came back from an early-race spin to finish third.

Pro Challenge Results
1Zach Stroupe
2JL Snowden
3Jason Burchard
4Terry Horak
5Trevor Cauble
6Dean McIntyre
7Matt Harris
8Jeff Layne
9Ryan Rust

Sunday 10:45pm ET - Troy Decaire won the 30-lap TBARA Sprint Car event.

Sunday 10:20pm ET - Last night, the Super Late Model feature finished with Jeff Choquette and Tim Russell one and two.  Sunday night, things were he exact same. 

But it didn’t come easy for either driver.

Russell started deep in the field, and worked his way up to Choquette on the outside line.  Then, the two drivers, a long with third-place Justin Drawdy, found themselves in the middle of a ton of lapped traffic, including Nevin Gainey

On lap 22, Choquette found himself pushing Gainey down the backstretch when the lapped car wouldn’t get out of the way.  Coming out of turn four, Choquette looked low and Russell looked high.  Gainey moved down, getting into Choquette.  Choquette climbed the left rear of Gainey’s car and spun around on the frontstrech.

"I am at a loss for words," said Choquette.  "If I am a slower car, even if we are in practice, I get out of the way.  It went on for about two laps.  He didnt look in the mirror or the flag stand.  He said his spotter never told him.  He kept coming up on me, so I picked him up down the front stretch.  He pushed high and I tried to go underneath him.  He cut down on me.  I spun around and flat-spotted my tires.

"I am racing against cars that I am not racing for position.  I know they are racing too, but they are supposed to yield to the leaders.  Most series do protect the leaders.  It would be a different deal if I was racing for second."

However, track rules state that they go back to the last completed lap, and Choquette was given his spot back.  After the restart, Russell had nothing for Choquette, and the Florida driver earned his second-straight win and his fourth-straight in that particual car.

"All week in the driver's meeting they said if there is a caution both cars involved goes to the rear," said Russell.  "But, no big deal.  We will move on.  We got another second and the car was good.  I just hope when I am in the lead and I get taken out by a lapped car, I get put back in the lead."

Super Late Model Results
1     Jeff Choquette
2     Tim Russell
3     Justin Drawdy
4     Louie Mechalides
5     Scotty Crockett
6     Jack Landis
7     Ricky Carmichael
8     David Rogers
9     Trevor Sanborn
10     Jerry Symons
11     Bruce Gowland
12     Eddie Gainey
13     Kurt Jett
14     Jeremy Gerstner
15     John Gerstner, II
16     Russell Shaw
17     Martin Maresca
18     Kevin Bayless
19     Gary Terry
20     Ryan Sieg
21     Darrell Midgley
22     Edward Nevin Gainey
23     Stephen Weaver Jr.
24     Gary Passer
25     Frank Alberson
26     Derrick Wood
27     John Kennedy
28     Rusty Ebersole
29     James Andrews
30     John Coffman

Sunday 9:42pm ET - The Florida Modifed race started with a bang… literally.   Just yards after the green-flag flew, a 10-plus car pileup took out several of the big names.

The two cars on the front row, two-time winner and points leader Tank Tucker and Jerry Symons, got into each other just after the green flag.  Symons was starting on the inside, but slid up into Tucker in the first corner, sending both cars around and into the wall.  Several other cars piled into the mess behind them, including the other fastest car of the weekend, Lee Collins

"I guess Jerry got in there too hot, locked his brakes up and got into us,” said Tucker.  “Now, I’ve got a bent up racecar.  I don’t know why he did it.  He hasn’t won in a while.  I went over there and asked him what that was all about, and then I had some other words for him that I don’t want to repeat.  I want to keep it pleasant.  It was uncalled for.”

Tucker doesn’t know if he’ll be able to be back for the rest of Speedweeks.

“I went off in the turn there just like have been all weeks and when I got on the brakes, the car just never turned,” said Symons.  “I ran into Tank and took him out and the whole dang field out.  I do not like to do that kind of stuff.  People think I did it on purpose, I can tell them I didn’t do that on purpose.  That is not me.  I don’t care who they are, I don’t wreck anyone on purpose.”

When racing resumed, the race was shortened to 15 laps and it was AJ Winstead that inherited the lead, but John Gerstner then took the top spot and held it until the end.

"It's a shame because there were a lot of good cars that got taken out by that accident," said Gerstner.  "I just didnt hit the brakes and made it through there. I have always had issues here at New Smyrna.  I am usually in one of those wrecks.  Tonight the car was good.  I am usually stuck in traffic, but there wasnt any traffic tonight."

Florida Modified Results
1John Gerstner
2Kevin Terry
3Kurt Jett
4AJ Winstead
5Don Keithley
6Ryan Preece
7Bobby Jo Woodley
8Dennis Pierce
9Gordon Moodie
10Art Kunzeman
11Mickey Wright
12Alan Bruns
13William Burba
14Jeff Coeburn
15Jerry Symons
16Tank Tucker
17Lee Collins
18Matt Wheeler
19Gary Fountain, Sr
20James Yarborough
21Woody Pitkat
22Robert Deal

Sunday 9:00pm ET - The Florida Modified event is currently under a red flag situation after a 10-plus car pileup in the first corner.  The two cars on the front row, Tank Tucker and Jerry Symons, got into each other just after the green flag.  Both cars got into the wall and a bunch of cars piled in behind.  Woody Pitkat's dismal week continued, as he was swept up in the mess and actually got airborne.

Sunday 8:35pm ET - Racing has finally resumed here at New Smyrna Speedway, where Derrick Kelley took the lead early in the Limited Late Model 25-lap feature and kept it going to the finish,  fending off a major challenge from JR McMichael in the early and late portions of the event.

Kelley is a former USAR Pro Cup Series regular.  He came into the night in third-place in the point standings.

“We haven’t touched this car since this time last year," said Kelley.  "We are really having to pick it up a lot this year with all the young guys out here. 

"We have been patiently racing.  We just have been sorting it out all week long.  I’m really impressed with this field here.  I got one for the old guy’s tonight though."

Chad Akins, the 15-year-old that has won the Late Model race on the first two nights, finished fifth.

Two Crate Late Models started the event, including Jimmy Lang and Blake Koch.  Lang had the best finish, coming home 6th.

Limited Late Model Results
1Derrick Kelley
2JR McMichael
3Drew Brannon
4Jessica Murphy
5Chad Akins
6Jimmy Lang
7AJ Curreli
8Greg Skyta
9Kirk Hooker
10Ben Bargnesi
11Kevin Ingram
12Richard Douglas
13Daniel Maddox
14Rob Knox
15Tom Malloy
16Blake Koch
17Thomas Horner

Sunday 8:18pm ET - Officials have decided to scrap the third Sprint Car heat..  the Limited Late Models will be running their feature next. 

Sunday 8:15pm ET - An update from the track here... Sprint Car driver Rod Anderson was knocked out, but he is now conscious.  He will be transported by ambulance to Halifax Memorial Hospital in Daytona. 

Sunday 7:54pm ET - Rod Anderson has crashed his Sprint Car during during hot laps, bringing out a red flag situation.  They are bringing in an outside ambulance to help the driver.  We've give you more as it becomes available.

Sunday 7:48pm ET - Dude Tete won the second Sprint Car heat race. 

Sunday 7:38pm ET - Dave Steele won the first Sprint Car heat race. 

Sunday 7:30pm ET - Racing action is getting underway for the evening.  First up is heat races for the (TBARA???) Sprint Car Series.   Then, the features will start with the Limited Late Models first. 

Sunday 7:00pm ET - Joey Pole might not be racing tonight since the Crate Late Models are off, but that doesnt mean he isn't creating headlines.  The team was seen placing Shark Energy Drink decals on his #97 machine during the afternoon.  Team representatives told that Shark Energy Drink, which has recently announced sponsorship of Kenny Wallace in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Brian Scott in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has come on board to sponsor Pole this season.  In an official announcement coming soon, Pole will race ACT as well as selected PASS North and South races throughout the 2008 season, all under the Shark Energy Drink banner.  The team also confirmed the rumors that Pole will be a teammate to Ben Rowe in the PASS North Series.

Sunday 5:30pm ET - There is some downtime now in the schedule.  The track is quiet until 7:30pm, when racing will start.  Things will start with the Sprint Car heats, followed by Limited Late Models (25-laps), Florida Mods (25 laps), Super Late Models (30 laps), Sprint Cars (30 laps) and Pro Challenge (35 laps).

Sunday 5:20pm ET - JL Snowden grabbed the pole for tonight's 35-lap Pro Challenge event.  Snowden was able to best Zach Stroupe, who is returning to the Pro Challenge Series for the two races at New Smyrna, and Jason Burchard, who won last night at Orlando SpeedWorld.

Pro Challenge Qualifying
1JL Snowden19.937
2Zach Stroupe19.981
3Jason Burchard19.981
4Trevor Cauble20.266
5Dean McIntyre20.299
6Terry Horak20.402
7Matt Harris20.438
8Ryan Rust20.684
9Jeff Layne20.844

Sunday 4:55pm ET - Jeff Choquette will hope to build on his strong run from Saturday night on Sunday evening.  He started it off well by grabbing the pole for tonight's 30-lap feature event.  Choquette busted off the fastest lap thus far during Speedweeks in qualifying on Sunday afternoon.  Tim Russell, the fast qualifier on the previous two nights, was second.

Super Late Model Qualifying
1Jeff Choquette17.012
2Tim Russell17.243
3Justin Drawdy17.257
4Louis Mechalides17.378
5Ryan Sieg17.393
6Scotty Crockett17.394
7Jack Landis17.493
8Trevor Sanborn17.532
9Ricky Carmichael17.550
10David Rogers17.652
11Kurt Jett17.854
12Jerry Symons17.913
13Darrell Midgley17.935
14Bruce Gowland18.290
15Jeremy Gerster18.325
16Eddie Gainey18.360
17Rusty Ebersole18.372
18Gary Terry18.429
19Gary Passer18.457
20Kevin Bayless18.477
21Steve Weaver Jr.18.557
22Derrick Wood18.686
23Nevin Gainey18.848
24John Gerster18.897
25Joe Kennedy18.910
26John Coffman19.028
27Frank Alberson19.148
28Jerry Andrews19.664

Sunday 3:15pm ET - An update on the Sprint Cars that are here... they are not TBARA sanctioned anymore.  Or they might still be TBARA sanctioned, but the group is all over the place.  The old management is out and there is some new management in.  But they don't seem to quite have anything in order. They have no push trucks on hand and the officials for the series seem rather confused.  They are pushing cars off with four-wheelers.  There are even cars still getting in, thinking practice starts at 4, not ends at 4.  It should be an interesting night.

Sunday 3:00pm ET - The Pro Challenge racers took to the track for their first practice of the day, but was slowed due to a wreck on the track involving the #151 of Matt Harris and the #1 of Jeff Layne.  Harris' truck hit the outside wall hard on the front stretch, coming to a rest against the inside wall.  Both Harris and Layne were able to drive their vehicles to the pit area as they will evaluate and possibly fix the damage before their racing action takes place later today.

Officials also announced that the Pro Challenge drivers will get another practice session after the Winged Sprints complete their session.  Pro Challenge was originally only scheduled for one practice today.

Sunday 2:40pm ET - The "Gorilla" is on the loose during Speedweeks.  Gene "The Gorilla" Kirila has been racing the last few nights at New Smyrna in the Crate Late Model division, but that isn't the only track he is planning on racing during his stay in Florida.  Next week Kirila is planning on running his Legends Car at Orlando Speedworld during the five-race Winternationals in the Semi-Pro division.  After the afternoon races at Orlando, Kirila will drive the hour back to New Smyrna to race his Crate Late Model.'s sister site is the official site of the Legends and Bandolero Winternationals.  Fans will be able to keep up to date on all the action from Orlando Speedworld February 12th through the 16th on the site.

Sunday 2:20pm ET - Jimmy Lang's Speedweeks has been eventful.  After being involved in a wreck Friday night in the Crate Late Model race, the crew decided to send a few back to Hilton Head (SC) to get a new rear end.  The crew was able to get back yesterday and put in the new rear end about 15 minutes prior to racing.

Since the Crate Late Models have the night off, Lang's crew has decided to run the car in the Limited Late Model race tonight and see what they can do.  Right now the plan is to return back to the Crate Late Model division after tonight, but the team hasn't ruled out running the rest of Speedweeks in the Limited Late Model division.

Sunday 2:00pm ET - Drew Brannon's Limited Late Model was damaged Saturday after a last lap feature incident with eventual race winner Chad Akins.  On Sunday, Brannon told that the damage was only cosmetic and they are ready to roll.

Sunday 1:45pm ET - In last night's Super Late Model feature, BJ McLeod and Jack Landis made contact, sending McLeod into the wall hard.  Today, McLeod and the team were working hard trying to get his car back together.

"We are fixing a few things here and there that we see broke," said McLeod.  "Whatever we don't catch we will know it when we hit the wall."

Sunday 12:45pm ET - There are several Tour-SK modifieds that are taking practice today.  JR Burtuccio is out in the #14, as well as his family-owned #2.  Andy Seuss and a few SKs are out as well.

Sunday 12:35pm ET - Well, here we are at day three of Smyrna Speedweeks.  Things are rolling right along here today, with practice for all divisions already underway.

The schedule is a little bit different today.  The Tour Modifieds, SK Modifieds and Crate Late Models all have the afternoon and evening off.  However, there not all of them took the full day off.  There are some teams here just working on their cars, while there are others that are still going to take some practice laps, even though they will not race tonight, as the track as scheduled the divisions some on-track time during practice rounds.

There are two new divisions here as well. 

Fresh off of two races at Orlando SpeedWorld is the Pro Challenge Series.   Nick Stroupe and Jason Burchard were the two winners at Orlando.

Also in attendance tonight is the TBARA Sprint Car Series.  They are the fastest cars that will hit the track during all of Speedweeks and offer up some great racing. 

We’re going to head down and see what we can find out in the pit area.  We’ll be back soon. 

Qualifying is set to go off today around 4:30, with Super Late Models and Pro Challenge qualifying.


Click Here For Speedweeks Point Standings
Jeff Layne was one of two Pro Challenge trucks invovled in a practice crash.
The lower pits are not too busy, with most of the Tour and SK Modifieds taking today off.
Even though the Tour Mods are off, a few of them took some practice laps right along side the Florida Mods
Scotty Crockett had to cut his Super Late Model practice short after a flat tire.  He is pitted on the outside of the track, so he had to just sit and wait.
Sprint Cars and Pro Challenge cars are here today
BJ MLeod's #78 Super Late Model is getting fixed.
Jeff Choquette grabbed the pole for tonight's SLM event.
JL Snowden took the pole for the Pro Challenge event.
One of the biggest issues here at New Smyrna is always the crossover.  With the number of cars that cross the track from the outside pits to the inside pits always brings in plenty of dirt on the track.  It normally makes for a interesting first couple of laps during each practice session.
Jeff Choquette points to the damage that nearly cost him the race win. 
Shark Energy Drink showed up on Joey Pole's #97 Crate Late Model Sunday.  They will be sponsoring Pole this season in multiple series.
Tank Tucker's damaged machine.
Derrick Kelley took the win in the Limited Late Model event.
Jerry Symons looks over his wrecked Modified.
Rod Anderson's wrecked Sprint Car.
John Gerstner took the Florida Modified win on Sunday.
Troy Decaire won the sprint race.
Derrick Kelley at speed.  (Jim DuPont photos)
Jeff Choquette (#70) got stuck behind the #17 car of Nevin Gainey, and it almost cost him the race.  (Jim DuPont photos)
Justin Drawdy (#12) and Louis Mechalides (#47) were two of the early front runners.  (Jim DuPont photos)
Zach Stroupe won the Pro Challenge race at New Smryna on Sunday night.
Zach Stroupe (#51) had to hold off JL Snowden (#40) in the Pro Challenge event.
Terry Horak (#28) and Jason Burchard (#4) had a great battle for third.  (Jim DuPont photo)