The Blacroch Chronicles…
Commentary From Behind The Scenes at Speedweeks
By Jim Blacroch
It must be the end of the first week of February with everything that is going on - A trip to the Central Florida area for 'Speedweeks', the 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing at New Smyrna, the Alltel Nationals at Volusia for a variety of divisions on the _-mile dirt track and of course all of the action at the World Center of Racing Daytona International Speedway.

For novice fans, it sounds like paradise. For veterans of short track racing, it means a little bit of sleep, a lot of racing and occasionally a warm meal that isn't delivered via a drive thru window on your way to another racetrack.

If you come earlier in Speedweeks to Volusia and Ocala and East Bay, you could have two full weeks and then still return to hibernation before the season starts up North.

However, if you want to see the East Coast's finest run on some fast asphalt, New Smyrna is the place to be.  However the action was on dirt Thursday night, when Stevie Smith put on a last lap show that was just incredible as he beat Craig Dollansky to the stripe off the final corner in the All-Star show at Volusia. It was an incredible race that many didn't see because temperatures plummeted into the teens… Not much different on Saturday - a little warmer, but not much.

A slow start to night number one at New Smyrna had things crawling at a snails pace in the early features. When the generator dies at a racetrack, you know it is a bad night… The lights were out, but it wasn't the first time I've been at track when this has happened. Thompson has had it happen and Jennerstown once lost all its power during a wicked storm.

The storm of the night, however, had to be the “You Can't Fix Stupid” 25-lap Tour-type Modified feature. Each driver knew it was cold and damp and rather than settle in it , they put on a demolition derby with a multiple red flags.

In my personal opinion, there needs to be a line drawn by the New Smyrna officiating team and Dick Brooks on what goes on during these events. Most of the guys involved know full well how to race, they just chose to go over the line last night, well over the line.

Apparently, Jon McKennedy is on now his way home and I wouldn't be surprised if Ryan Preece's effort was cut short because the car looked like it was damaged extensively in the front and rear, quite possibly needing both clips.

Hopefully, Saturday nights 25-lapper will be a little less eventful.

Quick notes. Jeff Choquette looked very strong in the Super Late Model event and it's good too see a guy like Jimmy Weller in victory lane in the Crate Late Models. Matt Hirschman's car was hurt pretty bad, but there are some crafty folks over there, so it wouldn't surprise me to see them back in competition tonight.

More on Sunday morning… as Blacroch's Chronicles continue…