Trackside Now: Smyrna Speedweeks - Friday, Feb. 15th
Eric Beers Wins A Wild Richie Evans Memorial 100
2008 Smyrna Speedweeks
Super Late Models
Tour-Type Mods
Much More
Feb. 8th-16th
New Smyrna Speedway
New Smyrna, Florida
Friday 12:25pm ET - Joe Winchell’s Speedweeks didn’t start on a very good note.  Racing in the Super Late Model division, he had a decent car, but was never in contention.  Then, early in the week, he got in an accident which nearly destroyed his car.

So the team got together, loaded it up, went back to the shop and started preparing the Limited Late Model to bring it back later in the week.

Well, it paid off for him.

Winchell took a second-straight win in the Limited Late Model division on Friday night, leading into Saturday night’s 50-lap finale.

“Last night, we didn’t have the best car, we were just in the best position.  Tonight, we had a pretty good car.  We really hit on something.  We tore up a Super Late Model here earlier this week.  So we went home and got this car put together.  We got two of these things now… and two in a row… and that is a pretty cool deal.”

Limited Late Model Results
1Joe Winchell
2AJ Curreli
3Drew Brannon
4Alan Bruns
5Jessica Murphy
6Derrick Kelly
7Kirk Hooker
8Kevin Ingram
9Steven Simpson
10Rob Knox
11CJ Faison
12Ginney Quinones
13JR McMichael
14Johnny Clark
15Ben Bargnesi

Friday 11:55pm ET - The story of the week in the Crate Late Models has been that of 13-year-old Logan Ruffin.  The youngster captured the fans hearts and was a favorite every night.

So when all he had to do was finish within eye sight of Will Thomas to win the title, he knew it wasn’t just about wins.  Heck, winning a race at Speedweeks was totally unexpected.

Now, the youngster has a Speedweeks Championship in his back pocket.

“It is really awesome,” said Ruffin, who said earlier this week that he and his team had simply come down to Speedweeks to get in some laps, not compete for a championship. “We came down here and got our first win.  That was surprising and unexpected.  So we kept going and started getting a couple of other wins.  So to get the championship is really unreal.  It’s been an incredible week.”

It was a great week for Ruffin.

“I have learned a lot this week.  I have learned a lot of things about passing.  I have learned a lot of simple things too, just like really working to keep your tires warm.  You can learn so much out here with all of these veterans out here and with racing for a whole week.”

With such a great start to the week, what is next for him?

“We are going to run some PASS South races, we are going to run some CRA Super Series races, we are going to run some ASA Challenge Series race, along with the ASA Southeast and maybe some ASA South stuff.  We are going to work on getting as many laps as we can this year.”

In the race, it wasn’t Thomas or Ruffin who was up front and running away with it.  It was Jimmy Weller instead.

“We have been quick, but had some problems all week,” said Weller.  “That is the sad story of everyone, I know.  We knew we had a fast car.  So getting to start up front today really helped.  I saw Will Thomas coming from the back.  I could see his number coming in my mirror.  So I was getting a little nervous about that.”

Thomas and Ruffin were the other top-three finishers.

Crate Late Model Results
1Jimmy Weller
2Will Thomas
3Logan Ruffin
4Joey Pole
5David Wagner
6David Rigan
7Blake Koch
8Steven Brooks
9Griffin McGrath
10Kyle Maynard
11AJ Fulgenzi
12Joey Pletka
13Earl Beckner
14Donald Williams
15Jason Vail
16Brandon Johnson
17Nick Glaze
18Thor Anderson
19Brett Moffitt
20Jimmy Lang
21Casey Caudill
22Cody Pitts
23Phillip Myburgh
24Austin Kirpatrick
25Mark Stevenson
26Chazz Anderson

Friday 10:55pm ET - Kevin Henry looked like he was going to win the Pro Truck race.   Nope.

Scott Bishop looked like he was going to win the Pro Truck race.   Nope.

Ricky Moxley looked like he was going to win the Pro Truck race.   Nope.

In what was a wild race, the fourth-place Pro Truck of Logan Brodeau won the caution-filled (and black-flag filled) 25-lap Pro Truck feature event.

The race dominator, Henry, was black-flaged late in the race for lagging back on the start, handing the lead to Bishop.  Bishop was then black-flagged next for the same infractoin, handing the lead to Moxley.   Moxley was then black-flagged on the one-lap dash to the finish for bringing the field down to the start too slowly, stacking the field up behind him.

Pro Truck Results
1Logan Bordeau
2Paul Antley
3Danies Scott Reeves
4Mark Evans
5Larry Jordan
6Zach Jarrell
7Pat Mahoney
8Tim Gertsch
9Steve Senerchia
10Cole Powell
11TJ Duke
12Ricky Moxley
13Tyler Laing
14Scott Bishop
15Kevin Henry
16Les Law
17Philip Luizzo
18James Campbell
19Heath MacDougall
20Brett Huber
21Jessica Murphy

Friday 10:15pm ET - For most of the week, the Tour Modified races have been pretty calm.  And that is something that isn’t normal for Modified races at Speedweeks.  Normally there are new rivalries, fights, big wrecks and lots of tempers.  But this year, its been rather calm, all things considered. 

But, all of that changed on Friday night during the running of the Richie Evans Memorial 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.  It’s the race that every single driver in the field wants to win more than any other. 

When the smoke cleared, it was one of the Modified veterans of the day, and the defending Speedweeks champion, Eric Beers, that came out on top.

“It means a lot.  Richie Evans is the king of the Modifieds, no matter what anyone says.  He always will be, no matter who comes through here.  No one is ever going to match what he did in a modified. This is just awesome to win a race with Richie’s name on it.  I now have a trophy that has Richie Evans name on it and it is the best thing ever.”

Getting there wasn’t easy.  In fact, it wasn’t till a round of pit stops that Beers even showed his hand.

The first part of the race was dominated by two drivers, Teddy Christopher and Eric Beers.  And the week’s comeback kid, Jimmy Blewett, was flying through the field as well.  Grigas and Christopher each led a ton of laps.  But when Grigas spun while trying to lap Butch Perry, things changed in a hurry.

The field came in for pit stops after that.  Beers’ team got him out first of the cars that pitted, putting him in the right positions.

But at that point, Kevin Goodale looked like the hero.  By staying our, he inherited the lead.  It would be a lead that he wouldn’t relinquish until near the very end. 

Behind them, there was plenty of beating and banging.  Chuck Hossfeld, Christopher and others were beating and banging, spinning and crashing.

On lap 93, with pressure coming from behind from Beers and Blewett, Goodale spun across the nose of Beers. 

After that, it was Beers’ race to lose.  But he didn’t do it at all.

“Goodale was getting really tight through the center and then jimmy was on my outside.  I gave Jimmy the top,” added Beers.  “We got down there and Goodale skated to the top.  He gave me the race track so I went to the bottom and when he got on the gas, he was sideways and went right across my front bumper.  It was just hard racing.  It was a racing deal.  I hope he sees it that way too.  Me and Jimmy were coming.  It was just a hard race.  It could have been anyone’s race.  That was just a blast.”

Then, Beers was able to reflect on what it meant to win a race named after one of his heroes.

“I would finish dead last every day of the week to win this race. I’ve been trying to win this race for about eight years now.  I’ve got a ton of second- and third-place finishes here. 

“I have run a bunch of races for Richie and I’ve never won one.  I told Richie Evans Jr. there before this race that I was winning this one tonight, no matter what I had to do.  My guys did an awesome job.  It’s just unbelievable. “

What is it compared to his championship of last year?

“This is definitely more special than the championship.  To win this race is unbelievable.  To have my name on that trophy is just amazing.”

Behind him, Blewett was able to hold of Grigas in a photo finish for second.

Richie Evans Memorial 100 Results
1 Eric Beers
2 Jimmy Blewett
3 Bobby Grigas III 
4 Ronny Silk
5 JR Bertuccio  
6 Chuck Hossfeld 
7 James Civali 
8 Jon McKennedy 
9 Ted Christopher
10 Rowan Pennick 
11 Ryan Preece  
12 Butch Perry  
13 Kevin Goodale 
14 Charlie Pasteryak
15 Buck Catalino 
16 Billy Pauch, Jr 
17 Andy Seuss  
18 Billy Anderson
19 George Bierce

Friday 9:55pm ET - With just eight laps to go in the Richie Evans Memorial, Eric Goodale leads Eric Beers and Jimmy Blewett.

Friday 9:35pm ET - With 65 laps down, Ted Christopher led the leaders into the pits for their only round of pit stops, handing the lead over Eric Goodale.  Of the leaders that came in, Eric Beers is came out of the pits first.

The first half of the event was dominated by two drivers... Christopher and Bobby Grigas.  However, a spin by Grigas while running second while passing the lapped car of Butch Perry brought the field under caution.  Currrently, its Goodale, Charlie Pasteryak, Beers, James Civali and Ronnie Silk.

Andy Seuss also was strong in the first hald of the event, but has since dropped out.

Friday 9:05pm ET - A note of interest from the Super Late Model class...  unofficially, Jeff Choquette has already locked up the Speedweeks Championship, given that he starts the 100-lapper on Saturday night.  Choquette has a point total of 258 to Tim Russell's 222.  The maximum points that can be earned for a win is 40.  Just to start a race earns a driver 4 points.  Therefore, as long as Choquette starts the event, he'll have a point total of 262.  If Russell wins, he'll have a point total of 262 as well.  The tie would be broken by the number of wins, which would give it to Choquette.

Friday 8:55pm ET - Not to anyone’s surprise, and not to the chagrin to many of those in the stands, but Jimmy Blewett took the win once again on Friday night in the SK Modified division.  Blewett passed Josh Sylvester to take the win, his fourth in six nights of racing.

But the real surprise was the driver who, once again, finished second in the event to Blewett…. Josh Sylvester. 

Sylvester, the younger brother to Modified Tour regular Zach Sylvester, finished second. 

But when he got out of his car, Sylvester was just as happy as Blewett, who was sitting some 200-feet away in Victory Lane. 

“Jimmy is awesome here,” said Sylvester.  “Finishing second to Jimmy is not all that bad. I’m really happy because we are having a great week.  Jimmy has helped us out all week long.  That is cool that he’s been helping us.  That shows you exactly what kind of guy he is.”

It was just on Thursday night that Blewett called Sylvester a great talent and a driver that is only going to get better with time.

“That is the greatest compliment you can get coming from a guy like him,” added Sylvester.  “You love to hear that and you love to race with guys like that. 

Tomorrow night (in the 50-lapper), I gotta figured out how to get by that wide number 12.  Even if you are faster than him, it’s hard to pass him. Running with him I hard enough.  Passing him is a whole other thing.  We’ll do what we have been doing and try to get him tomorrow.”

SK Modified Results
1 Jimmy Blewett 
2 Josh Sylvester  
3 Glen Griswold 
4 Billy Anderson 
5 Shelly Perry 
6 Brad Vanhouten 
7 Chris Jensen  
8 Barry Callavini  
9 Eric Goodale  
10 Butch Perry  
11 Kevin Shea 
12 Russ Savoy  
13 Don King, Jr.  
14 Jimmy Zacharrias
15 Jason Migonia  
16 Tim Zacharrias

Friday 8:15pm ET - As Jeff Choquette says, “this is Speedweeks, we have to have something go wrong.”

When he pulls into Victory Lane and a little bit of water is spraying out of the overflow is his biggest problem, you know you are having a good time.

Choquette moved from fourth to first in just three laps on Friday night, one night before the Pete Orr Memorial 100, which rounds out the nine-nights of action at New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. 

“The car actually got better tonight,” said Choquette, who has now won four of the six Super Late Model events during Speedweeks.  “The track is taking a lot of rubber right now, so we had to free the car up.  But we drove it tonight.

“We are having a little bit of problem with the water systems.  This is Speedweeks and we have to have something go wrong.  We’ll have to go look at that.” 

With the win, and Tim Russell’s election to not start the race following a controversial call during qualifying, in which Russell would have had to start at the back, Choquette takes over he Super Late Model points lead and is a virtual lock for the title, baring he solid finish in Saturday night’s 100-lapper. 

“That gives us a good shot at the championship.  This is exactly the way I want to win it, but we will take it.  We had cut the lead to four points tonight.  Obviously, tonight we took the lead as long as we make it through the tech shed.  Those guys do what they want.  I can’t change their minds.  We’ll take it anyway we can get it.”

The best thing to watch during the night was seeing in Jack Landis, the only other driver to beat Choquette over the last few days, coming through the field and trying to make it to Choquette’s bumper.  He had the chance when a caution came out with just eight laps to go, but a solid restart by Choquette made none of it matter.

Super Late Model Results
1Jeff Choquette
2Jack Landis
3Trevor Sanborn
4Justin Drawdy
5Travis Kittleson
6Louis Mechalides
7Scotty Crockett
8Jeff Scofield
9David Rogers
10Kurt Jett
11Darrell Midgley
12Jeremy Gerster
13Chris Staggs
14Nevin Gainey
15Kevin Bayless
16Gary Terry
17John Coffman
18Derrick Wood
19Steve Weaver Jr.
20Bruce Gowland
21Jerry Symons
22Frank Alberson
23David Myer

Friday 7:45pm ET - None of the drivers and cars that were DQed from qualifying, including Tim Russell, Ryan Sieg, Ricky Charmichael, BJ McLeod, Patrick Conrad and Justin Larson, are out on the grid.  It looks like none of them will start the green flag.  That will ruin Russell's championship hopes.

Friday 7:30pm ET - Things are getting underway here at the track.  A few of the Vintage Modifieds that were here in attendance took some hot laps.  Now, the division officials have named the "Ineeda" Division..  as in "I Need A Few Laps" to check something I just repaired on the car.

The Super Late Model 30-lapper is up next.

Friday 5:50pm ET - Well, Super Late Model qualifying was more than interesting, just to say the least.

On the track, Jeff Choquette was the man to beat, once again.  And it came to no one's surprise.  He was just a bit quicker than Justin Drawdy, David Rogers and Scotty Crockett

However, the biggest story invovled something that didn't even happen on the track... sort of.  Point leader Tim Russell, Ryan Sieg, Ricky Charmichael, BJ McLeod, Patrick Conrad and Justin Larson were all sitting on the hill, having missed the cutoff time to make it down to pit road before qualifying started.  Officials told all the drivers they would be allowed to qualify, but would get only one lap, and the track would not be blown off before they started... a penalty for being late. 

When the six cars pulled out onto the track though, all six drove around the track, weaving to warm up their tires instead of pulling straight down onto pit road, giving them an advantage over the rest of the field.  Officials decided to DQ all six cars right away, and all will be given no times.

Super Late Model Qualifying
1Jeff Choquette16.984
2Justin Drawdy17.148
3David Rogers17.241
4Scotty Crockett17.246
5Trevor Sanborn17.421
6Jack Landis17.426
7Louis Mechalides17.459
8Travis Kittleson17.477
9Bruce Gowland17.726
10Jerry Symons17.760
11Jeff Scofield17.841
12Chris Staggs17.988
13Kurt Jett18.014
14Darrell Midgley18.024
15Kevin Bayless18.047
16Gary Terry18.125
17Jeremy Gerster18.212
18Derrick Wood18.433
19Steve Weaver Jr.19.066
20Frank Alberson19.229
21John Coffman21.101
22Ryan SiegNo Time
23Tim RussellNo Time
24BJ McLeodNo Time
25Justin LarsonNo Time
26Ricky CarmichaelNo Time
27Patrick ConradNo Time

Friday 5:15pm ET - Will Thomas did what he needed to do to put himself in a position to win the Crate Late Model championship here at Speedweeks.  Thomas, who won last night's feature event, was the quick qualifier in the Crate Late Models for tonight's Speedweeks finale for the class.

Crate Late Model Qualifying
1Will Thomas17.734
2Steven Brooks17.751
3Jimmy Lang17.782
4Jimmy Weller17.786
5Brandon Johnson17.788
6Logan Ruffin17.898
7Joey Pole17.958
8Brett Moffitt17.993
9Griffin McGrath18.141
10David Wagner18.173
11Casey Caudill18.225
12Blake Koch18.334
13Thor Anderson18.368
14Kyle Maynard18.456
15David Rigan18.489
16Rusty Ebersole18.528
17AJ Fulgenzi18.563
18Eric Chase18.585
19Nick Glaze18.653
20Cody Pitts18.681
21Car #40718.847
22Donald Williams19.007
23Earl Beckner 19.056
24Mark Stevenson19.148
25Chazz Anderson19.663
26Austin Kirpatrick20.255
27Phillip Myburgh22.001

Friday 4:35pm ET - Even though there are only 17 Tour Modifieds that took time for tonight's Richie Evans Memorial, that didn't stop Eric Beers from getting off his struggles to grab the pole for tonight's 100-lap event.

Tour Modified Qualifying
1Eric Beers16.638
2Jimmy Blewett16.701
3Ted Christopher16.718
4Bobby Grigas III16.755
5Ryan Preece16.771
6Chuck Hossfeld16.771
7Charlie Pasteryak16.781
8Andy Seuss16.831
9Kevin Goodale16.853
10Buck Catalano16.893
11Ronnie Silk16.894
12James Civali16.932
13Jon McKennedy16.984
14Billy Pauch Jr16.987
15Rowan Pennick17.028
16JR Bertuccio17.133
17Butch Perry17.538

Friday 4:15pm ET - Jimmy Blewett won the pole once again for the SK Modified race on Friday night.  He was one of only 15 SK Modifieds to take time.

SK Qualifying Results
1Jimmy Blewett17.454
2Glen Griswold17.514
3Eric Goodale17.574
4Josh Sylvester17.644
5Brad VanHouten17.737
6Jimmy Zacharrias17.773
7Butch Perry17.890
8Billy Anderson17.904
9Mchael Callavini18.018
10Kevin Shea18.223
11Russ Savoy18.291
12Chris Jenson18.369
13Shelly Perry18.891
14Don King Jr.19.182
15Jason Migonia22.109

Friday 3:25pm ET - When looking at the final results from last night's Limited Late Model feature, a new name was sitting in the third position.   However, this morning, was informed by the track that the final results were wrong, and the driver of the car in the #119x, a team car to JR McMichael, was none other than 2006 PASS North Champion Johnny Clark.

Clark is down at Speedweeks helping out Louis Mechalides in the Super Late Models.  But, Clark is going to race the last couple of nights in the Limited Late Model class.

Friday 3:10pm ET - Last night, Limited Late Model points leader Derrick Kelley grabbed a fourth-place finish.  However, if you saw his car (check out the Trackside Now from Thursday for a photo), you would know it was going to be impossible for him to get it prepared for tonight's 25-lap feature.

So Kelley, who has won two race this Speedweeks, brough out a backup, all-black car for Friday night's competition.   The car was all-black, with no numbers during practice.

Friday 2:35pm ET - Teenager Jessica Murphy's tough week here at New Smyrna Speedway continued on Friday morning.

A night after getting dumped out of the lead in the Limited Late Model event and then being penalized in the Pro Truck event, Murphy was knocked out of the Trucks for Friday night when she was invovled in a practice accident.

Friday 2:30pm ET - Chuck Hossfeld had quite the scre in practice for tonight's Richie Evans Memorial 100.  Hossfeld cut a left-rear tire in practice and slid to a stop, just barely touching the wall with the right front tire.  It appears that there is no major damage and the team will be a-ok.

Not but just minutes after Hossfeld's incident, the exact same thing happened to James Civali in the exact same location on the race track.  he was also ale to pull away with no damage.

Friday 2:00pm ET - There are a few new Super Late Models in attendance here today, led by Jay Middleton.  Other drivers that showed up today include Chris Staggs and Patrick ConradScotty Crockett has returned to the track as well.

Friday 1:50pm ET - Just so you are aware... by looking at the picture on the index page of that Monster Trucks will not be racing here tonight.  The Grave Digger truck is simply on display, courtsey of sponsor Advance Auto Parts.

Friday 1:45pm ET - Today is a special day here at Speedweeks in New Smyrna Speedway.  Tonight is the running of the annual “big one” for the Tour-Type Modifieds, the Richie Evans Memorial 100.  It is the longest race of the week for the Modifieds, and easily, the most prestigious.

But it isn’t just about the Modifieds.  The Super Late Models (30 laps) will have their final tune-up before tomorrow night’s Pete Orr Memorial 100.  And the rest of the classes, including Limited Late Models (25 laps), Pro Trucks (25 laps) and SK Modified (20 laps) will be running regular features.

The Crate Late Models are also spotlighted tonight.  This will be their final event of Speedweeks, with a 50-lapper on tap.  We got an updated points sheet, and Logan Ruffin holds just an eight-point advantage over Will Thomas in the points race.

There is also another special feature here at the track today.  There is a Modified Reunion going on in the parking lot, which features some of the best old-time Modifieds of all time.  The reunion will be going on all day, and features one of Richie Evans’ old Pintos, which we are hearing will pace the field tonight.

Qualifying today will begin at 4pm, with the Super Late Models, Crate Late Models, SK Modifieds and Tour Modifieds all taking time. 


Click Here For Speedweeks Point Standings
There are plenty of old-time Modifieds here at the track today, garnering a lot of attention.
Johnny Clark is racing the #119x tonight, as he did last night, to a third-place finish. 
The Crate Late Models has a little action in practice, that invovled Jimmy Weller and Phil Myburgh, Jr.  (#24)
Patrick Conrad is one of the new Super Late Models.
Derrick Kelley has a new Limited Late Model here today.
James Civali was one of two Modifieds to have problems on Friday morning in practice with cut tires.
Eric Beers is the quick qualifier for tonight's Richie Evans Memorial 100.
Super Late Model qualifying was crazy...  when six top-notch cars didn't ge to time because they all disobyed officials orders after being late to the qualifying grid.
Joe Winchell made it two Limited Late Model wins in a row.  (Jim DuPont photo)
Johnny Clark (#119x) had a good run going again before getting into an accident. (Jim DuPont photo)
Logan Ruffin was crowned the 2008 Speedweeks Crate Late Model Champion.
Logan Ruffin celebrates his title with a burnout. (Jim DuPont photo)
Jimmy Weller won the finale Crate Late Model feature event.
Two Pro Trucks pulled into Victory Lane... but the #33 was the rightful winner.
Ricky Moxley (#38) gets the black flag while Logan Bordeau (#33) gets the checkers.  (Jim DuPont photo)
Eric Beers takes a victory lap with the checkered flag following his big win. (Jim DuPont photo)
Kevin Goodale (#58) looked to be on the way to an upset win when he spun out of the lead with just eight laps to go. (Jim DuPont photo)
Kevin Goodale (#58) had a mirror-full of Eric Beers (#9) in the late stags of the race. (Jim DuPont photo)
Early in the race, it was all about Bobby Grigas III (#09) and Ted Christopher (#00).  (Jim DuPont photo)
Before the race, Eric Beers (right) told Richie Evans Jr. (center) that was was going to win the race. (Jim DuPont photo)
Jimmy Blewett won another SK Modified event.  (Jim DuPont photo)
Josh Sylvester (#18) is coming on strong and is gaining a lot of respect from Jimmy Blewett (#12).  (Jim DuPont photo)
Jeff Choquette grabbed another win and locked up the SLM title as long as he starts Saturday's race.
Justin Drawdy (#12) races with Scotty Crockett (#28). (Jim DuPont photo)