Saturday - 11:59pm ET - Well, this wraps up our Trackside Now coverage of the 43rd Annual World Series of Short Track Racing. In the coming days, we'll have more from the race, so stay tuned.
It has been an honor to cover this event, which is like none other in racing for sure. We thank our sponsors Ocean Properties and Pub 44, as well as New Smyrna Speedway for their hospitality. We thank the crews and competitors for working with us and most of us, we thank you the fans for reading.
On behalf of all the Speed51.com people who filtered in and out this week to help us liven up our coverage: Elgin Traylor, Jason Buckley, Bob Dillner, Matt Dillner, Matt Kentfield, Jim Dupont, Jamie Williams, Denise, Dupont, I'm Mike Twist, the Editor of Speed51.com, saying, "Good Night."
Saturday - 11:45pm ET - Here are the results from the final night of racing at New Smyrna Speedway:
Late Model - Feature Tour-type Modifieds - Feature SK Mods - Feature Super Late Models - Feature 33112 DNSStephen Weaver Jr. Trucks - Feature
Saturday - 11:03pm ET - Austin Pickens has closed out Smyrna Speedweeks by winning the 50-lap Pro Truck feature. It was a race that went green to checkered without a caution.
We'll have full results from the Pro Trucks, and all other divisions, as soon as they become official. Stay tuned.
Saturday - 11:00pm ET - Austin Pickens still leads with five laps to go in the Pro Truck feature.
Saturday - 10:50pm ET - Austin Pickens is showing the way over Zack Jarrell at lap 10 of the Pro Truck feature.
Saturday - 10:30pm ET - Jessica Murphy has won the Limited Late Model feature over Alan Bruns and Drew Brannon.
The final race of Speedweeks, a 50 lapper for the Pro Trucks, will take place next.
Saturday - 10:15pm ET - The caution is out on lap eight for a wreck between Brendon Palmer, Zach Donatti and Austin Pickens. All drivers are okay, but it might take awhile to clean up the mess.
Jessica Murphy had taken the lead and is out ahead of Alan Bruns and Drew Brannon.
Saturday - 10:09pm ET - Jimmy Good looped his #19 on lap three. The caution has come out.
Saturday - 10:08pm ET - The Limited Late Models have taken the green flag and Alan Bruns has taken the early lead over Kirk Hooker.
Saturday - 10:03pm ET - The Limited Late Models are up next, the championship has already been decided as Drew Brannon has clinched the 2009 championship.
Saturday - 9:59pm ET - Jimmy Blewett has won the SK Modified feature and the championship. Tom Farrell, Rob Schultz, Brad Van Houten, and Chris Jensen rounded out the top five.
Saturday - 9:54pm ET - On the 22nd lap Russell Savoy and Chris Jensen went around in turn one. At the same time coming to the yellow flag Brad Van Houten, Jimmy Zacharias and Wayne Arute pilled up in turn four. This will shake up the finishing order.
Saturday - 9:50pm ET - On the 19th lap Chris Jensen wreck around off turn four. It will be a quickie yellow.
Saturday - 9:45pm ET - To no surprise Jimmy Blewett sailed away on the restart and is pulling away from Tom Ferrall. On the 10th lap the yellow comes out again for Timothy Zacharias for stopping on the backstretch.
Saturday - 9:40pm ET - The SK Modifieds have taken the green for their feature event. Tom Ferrall led the opening laps as Jimmy Blewett started on the rear after having a loose gas cap. After five laps we have gone yellow as the 23 of Tim Zacharias stopped in turn two. Blewett has worked his way up to second.
Saturday - 9:29pm ET - In addition to winning the Pete Orr Memorial 100, David Rogers has also won the World Series of Short Track Racing Super Late Model championship.
Saturday - 9:28pm ET - The SK Modified feature will be up next.
Saturday - 9:24pm ET - David Rogers has won the Pete Orr Memorial 100 ahead of Tim Russell, Jack Landis, Wayne Anderson and Johanna Long.
Saturday - 9:23pm ET - The green has come out again and David Rogers is maintaining his lead. Tim Russell stuck a nose under him in turn one of the restart lap though.
Saturday - 9:20pm ET - There is some dispute as to whether or not the #51 of Michael Pope is on the lead lap. If he is, he is in the ninth position. If not, he could be much further behind.
Saturday - 9:18pm ET - Jeff Choquette is sitting on pit road and he might be out of the race. We are still under caution.
Saturday - 9:13pm ET - On lap 98, Jeff Choquette cut down a right front tire and brushed the fronstretch wall. He is coming down pit road.
We are going to go green-white-checkered for the finish with David Rogers, Tim Russell, Jack Landis, Wayne Anderson, Johanna Long, Derrick Wood, Cale Gale, Matt Bowers and Michael Pope your unofficial top nine.
Saturday - 9:13pm ET - There are 10 laps to go in the Pete Orr Memorial 100 and currently David Rogers leads Jeff Choquette, Tim Russell, Jack Landis, Wayne Anderson, Johanna Long, Derrick Wood and Cale Gale.
Saturday - 9:09pm ET - The caution is out at lap 83 for a spin by Jeff Scofield.
Saturday - 9:08pm ET - Joey Coultier has slowed on the track, but he used his head and puleld down in time to avoid a caution.
Saturday - 9:07pm ET - The green flag is back out and David Rogers will still lead Jeff Choquette and Tim Russell.
Saturday - 9:04pm ET - It appears that the oil on the track may have come from the #24 car of David Rigin, which is now being pushed behind pit road.
Caution laps are not counting anymore. They have not done so since the race was 75 laps old.
Saturday - 9:02pm ET - On lap 78, David Rogers slowed coming out of turn four...but it may have been in anticipation of a caution. Right now, the yellow flag is being displayed because of fluid on the backstretch surface.
Saturday - 8:58pm ET - Seth Greco looped his #74 coming out of turn four to bring out the caution on lap 74. He may have had some help in doing so.
Meanwhile, up front it is David Rogers over Jeff Choquette, Tim Russell, Jack Landis, Wayne Anderson, Jeff Scofield, Johanna Long and Cale Gale.
Saturday - 8:55pm ET - Jason Hogan has puleld his #21 behind the wall.
Saturday - 8:54pm ET - At lap 59, Jeff Choquette has passed Tim Russell on the outside for second place.
Saturday - 8:53pm ET - At lap 58, Tim Russell has passed Jeff Choquette on the inside for second place.
Saturday - 8:50pm ET - At lap 48, the caution has come out again. This time, it is for a spin by Don Keithley on the fronstretch.
Michael Pope and Nevin Gainey have both pitted.
Saturday - 8:46pm ET - We're green at lap 43 and David Rogers still leads.
To help speed things along, track officials have decided to count cautions until the race reaches the 75 lap mark.
Saturday - 8:44pm ET - Michael Pope pitted again under this caution period. The #51 team looked under his hood, did some work and sent him back on the track. Now Jeremy Colangelo is pitting and his team has their hood off.
Track workers are cleaning up oil in turn one.
Saturday - 8:42pm ET - The caution is out for a spin by Matt Bowers. Jeff Choquette has moved into second behind David Rogers. We're at lap 35.
Saturday - 8:41pm ET - On the restart, David Rogers kept his lead, but Tim Russell is looking under him for the position. Jeff Choquette sits in third - ready to pounce?
Saturday - 8:40pm ET - Michael Pope has pitted and Jason Hogan has pitted. Justin Larson drove down pit road the wrong way, but was later pushed behind the wall.
Saturday - 8:38pm ET - The caution is out on lap 28 for a spin by Justin Larson in turn one.
Saturday - 8:36pm ET - There was a three-wide battle for second between Jeff Choquette, Tim Russell and Wayne Anderson for a few laps. Currently, Russell has setlled into second with Choquette right behind him though. Jack Landis has moved up to fourth and Anderson has slid back to fifth.
We're at lap 22 and it still isn't raining...yet.
Saturday - 8:34pm ET - David Rogers kept the lead ont he restart, but Wayne Anderson has slid into second place.
Saturday - 8:33pm ET - On lap eight, the caution is out for a few cars that got together in turn two. There was no damage to anyone and this should be a quick caution.
David Rogers currently leads BJ McLeod, Wayne Anderson, Jeff Choquette, Jeff Scofield, Jack Landis, Tim Russell, Johanna Long, Justin Larson and Cale Gale.
We are getting reports that there are some raindrops being felt on speedway property. Right now, it is not raining over the track itself, but that could change quickly.
Saturday - 8:30pm ET - Using an outside move on lap five, David Rogers has taken the lead from BJ McLeod.
Saturday - 8:29pm ET - We have gotten a lap in the books and BJ McLeod has taken the lead over David Rogers.
Saturday - 8:28pm ET - Michael Pope has pitted under caution as well.
Saturday - 8:27pm ET - Jeremy Colangelo has pitted under caution.
Saturday - 8:25pm ET - Because of rain in the area, track officials hurried along the start of the Pete Orr Memorial. The drivers didn't get the memo to hurry things along though as it only took one turn for the field to get jammed up. Jeremy Colangelo spun around, but doesn't appear to be damaged.
Since one whole lap wasn't completed, there will be a complete restart.
Saturday - 8:20pm ET - There is one final addition to the starting field. The #28B of Sean Bass will start shotgun on the field.
Saturday - 8:18pm ET - There have been a few lineup changes to the Pete Orr Memorial staring grid. This is because of he inversion and a few late additions to the field.
3123Rusty Ebersol 3283Karl Willard
Saturday - 8:15pm ET - Ted Christopher has won the final Tour-type Modified feature of the weekend. Eric Goodale got by Andy Seuss in the final corner to take second. John McKennedy and Matt Hirschman rounded out the top five.
Saturday - 8:11pm ET - Andy Seuss is trying to work some magic on Ted Christopher as the leaders work the final 10 laps. Eric Goodale is third and Jon McKennedy is fourth.
Saturday - 8:08pm ET - Ted Christopher is lead at the 10 lap mark with Andy Seuss in second. Seuss started seventh and in now stalking Christopher.
Saturday - 8:05pm ET - Eric Goodale and Ted Christopher lead the field to the green flag. Christopher took the lead in turn two. Chuck Hossfeld moved up quickly to the top three, but went for a spin coming off turn four.
Christopher will lead the pack to the restart.
Saturday - 8:01pm ET - Engines have fired again, and now the cars are blowing off the speedy dry in the third and fourth turns.
Saturday - 7:54pm ET - We are hearing that a tire went down on Bobby Grigas' car and that after the wreck his car is destroyed. We are still red as they clean up the mess in the third turn. Both cars have been taken away, officials are just attending to the surface.
Saturday - 7:49pm ET - We had a good clean start for the first two turns. As the cars hit the backstretch everything went crazy as Bobby Grigas and JR Betuccio made contact and went into the wall hard in the third turn. Eric Goodale was involved as well. After going to yellow Betuccio had a few words, punches, and kicks for Grgas. Later there was some pushing and shoving at the entry to pit road. Jimmy Blewett was also involved as the red flag is out and we have no laps complete.
Saturday - 7:38pm ET - The Tour Type Mods are rolling on to the track as they get ready for their final event of the week. Ted Christopher will roll off fifth after having clinched the series championship last night. It's the fourth time he has won the title here at the World Series of Short Track Racing.
We have a few late entries as DJ Chasse and Darwin Green have joined the back of the pack.
Saturday - 7:30pm ET - Tonight is the Pete Orr Memorial 100 for the Super Late Models and prior to the race the Pete Orr Sportsmanship award was given to popular Florida native Chad Pierce. Many people have told us how much Pete Orr meant to the sport of auto racing here in the state of Florida and around the south, so it’s truly an honor to be honored with the award. Pierce was shocked with the honor and said to the crowd that the only reason he was the type of person he was, was because of his parents and he like so many was a fan of Pete Orr.
Saturday - 7:15pm ET - The first race of the evening will be for the Tour-type Modifieds. After the redrew position, here is how they will line up;
1. 59Matt Hirschman 2. 09Bobby Grigas, III 3. 58Eric Goodale 4. 2 JR Betuccio 5. 00Ted Christopher 6. 12 Jimmy Blewett 7. 71Andy Seuss 8. 22Chuck Hossfeld 9. 73Jon McKennedy 10. 58Eric Goodale 11. 91John Jensen 12. 9NHPeter Jarvis 12. 65Danny Marcello
Saturday - 6:42pm ET - We have just heard that the track officials have swapped tonight's feature lineup around. The Limited Late Models and the Super Late Models will switch places in the lineup. Here is the rundown for tonight's features.
Tour-type Modifieds (25 Laps)
Super Late Models - Pete Orr Memorial 100 (100 Laps)
SK Modifields (25 Laps)
Limited Late Models (25 Laps)
Pro Trucks (50 Laps)
Saturday - 6:30pm ET - One of the faces in the crowd here this week has been Maine's Jay Cushman - who usually fields a Super Late Model here during Speedweeks.
Cushman didn't have a deal to race here this year and actually intended to skip the races although. But he couldn't stay away and came as a spectator instead.
The plans for Cushman's #29 team this year are inclear. He has run drivers such as Trevor Sanborn, Ted Christopher, Scott Chubbuck, Louie Mechalides, Travis Kittleson, Ben Rowe and Tony Ricci in his cars in the past. Cushman would like to race in PASS North and open SLM shows this year, but just needs to put the right deal together with a driver to do so.
Saturday - 6:20pm ET - We asked several Super Late Model teams how they stacked up tonight for the 100 lapper. It was like a poker game and no driver wanted to show their cards. So either everyone thinks they are good or they are just not sure. We have heard teams say that the track has changed so much in the last few days and it has kept them guessing.
On the subject of the championship, Jeff Choquette and David Rogers enter tonight’s event tied for the points Super Late Model points lead. Choquette told us that anything can happen and he just needed to finish in front of Rogers.
On the other hand, Rogers said “Hey the points were tied entering the week.”
Rogers also thinks if he can load the car on the trailer with no damage at the end of the week, then that would be a victory for them.
Saturday - 6:10pm ET - Thanks to our own Elgin Traylor AKA ‘Stat Boy’, we can provide you with the past champions of tonight’s Peter Orr Memorial 100:
2008Jeff Choquette 2007Jeff Scofield 2006Travis Kittleson 2005Jeff Choquette 2004Wayne Anderson 2003Wayne Anderson Information like this can be hard to come by, but tracks like New Smyrna Speedway have compiled their own lists and information on their website. Shorttrackhistory.org is another great database for racing history. For more short track history visit shorttrackhistory.org
Saturday - 6:05pm ET - We caught up with Zach Campbell in the 45 truck and he has perhaps the most interesting story here this weekend. Campbell is paralyzed from the waist down, but that doesn’t stop him from climbing in and out of his Pro Truck each night. Campbell uses hand brake and throttle controls to maneuver the truck. It just goes to show that when you put your mind to it you can do anything.
“This is just awesome it’s a dream cone true for me,” said Campbell. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. You just have to have faith, stay strong and you can make it happen.”
Saturday - 6:00pm ET - We are now entering our 100th hour of Trackside Now coverage from the 43rd Annual World Series of Short Track Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. We've never really kept track of it before, but this just might be the most that Speed51.com has ever done from one racing event in our history.
So we thank the competitors from all of the divisions here for working with us, the staff of New Smyrna speedway for their hospitality, Oceans Properties for giving us a great place to catch a few hours of sleep while we haven't been working, Pup 44 for keeping our bellies full and most of all every single fan who has logged on to keep up with the races here this week.
The racing world might have their eyes on the Daytona 500 this week, but we all know here that maybe the best racing of all in Florida this week took place on the short tracks this week and we've been very fortunate to be able to bring you that action firsthand.
Saturday - 5:59pm ET - Several cars are out on the track for hot laps right now including Alan Bruns and Michael Pope - whose team changed a rear end in their Super Late Model just minutes ago.
Saturday - 5:58pm ET - Here are the qualifying results for the Pro Truck division. They will race a 50-lap feature tonight.
1530Christopher Huntoon20.737 1611Robert Strader Jr.20.805 2088Joseph Locascio23.064
Saturday - 5:45pm ET - We told you at the start of today's Trackside Now coverage that the Speed51.com crew is working with heavy hearts today after learning about the death of short track driver Matt Hawkins after an incident of accidental gun discharge.
Several drivers who knew Hawkins are racing with heavy hearts tonight as well.
Michael Pope, like Hawkins, is from Georgia and the two have raced against each other many times. Pope's BDI Racing team wanted to remember their friend and enlisted the help of New Smyrna Track Announcer Mark Keeler, who owns and operates Intense Graphics of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Keeler fired up his computer, generator and printer at the track and produced a few #22 decals to remember Hawkins by. The decals have ended up on Pope's car and also the entries of Jason Hogan (another Georgian) and Johanna Long as well. Long's driving coach is Freddie Query - who has also worked extensively with Hawkins.
Saturday - 5:40pm ET - Last night, over 7,000 fans listened to Speed 51 Radio's broadcast of the Richie Evans Memorial 100. Tonight, Speed 51 Radio will also be carrying the racing action from New Smyrna - highlighted by the running of the Pete Orr Memorial 100 for the Super Late Models.
Speed 51 Radio's live broadcast of tonight's Richie Evans Memorial 100 will kick off at 7:30pm ET. To listen, go to RaceTalkRadio.com and click on the “Listen Live” button on the upper right portion of the website.
Saturday - 5:30pm ET - Stop the presses! Jimmy Blewett has ste fast time for the SK Modifieds. The New Jersey driver has only won each and every event for that division this week, so what's another pole award?
Here are the results of qualifying for the SK Modifieds.
Saturday - 5:20pm ET - It was almost like a scene from the movie ‘Slap Shot’ last night in the Limited Late Model feature when Travis Hanson and Austin Pickens made contact on the final lap of the race. Pickens spun while Hanson went to victory lane.
Pickens' crew chief Jason Boyd met Hanson in victory lane and was yelling at him after he stopped in the victory circle. That’s when Hanson’s dad Jeff Hanson came flying in and did his best Johnstown Chiefs' impression with a body check and a take down. After a few swings and some rather colorful language, the scuffle was broken up. The drivers told us what happened while the parents duked it out.
“That F***** #141 [Hanson] turned us right around,” said Pickens. “We had the lead on the last lap going into one and he just dumped us.”
The winner said there was contact before and that his intensions were not to wreck Pickens.
“That’s not the way I want to win a race,” said Hanson. “When he got up underneath me, he ran me clear into the marbles. Then he was brake-checking me after that. I didn’t intentionally mean to get into him like that. I did mean to rough him up a little, but I didn’t want to do that by spinning him out.”
Saturday - 5:15pm ET - Ted Christopher has set fast time for the Tour-type Modifieds' final night of racing at New Smyrna. Here are the results of qualifying:
100Ted Christopher17.156 Seconds
Saturday - 5:10pm ET - Ohio’s David Wagner emerged as the overall champion in the Crate Late Model class. Wagner finished behind Logan Ruffin in that division one year ago and came back strong in 2009. Other contenders like Landon Cassill and Patrick Laperle were strong, but wrecks took them out of the championship chase.
“We had a good car all week,” said Wagner. “I just waited for the guys to get single file and then I drove it to the front. It really was about survival, we were close a couple of times to getting torn up. It feels good to win a championship, I finished second to Logan Ruffin here last year so I know that these young kids can drive.”
Saturday - 5:08pm ET - Several Tour-type Modified teams have loaded up and headed home early. We've already told you that Rob Fuller and Ronnie Silk have, but the others who are on the list of not planning to race tonight includes Louie Mechalides, Ryan Preece and Butch Perry.
Saturday - 5:02pm ET - John Jensen spun during his qualifying lap during Tour-type Modified qualifying. He looped the #91 in turn two, but did not hit anything.
Saturday - 5:00pm ET - If you were cut off from the outside world yesterday and missed the results and stories from last night’s Richie Evans Memorial 100, then you missed perhaps one of the best races of all time.
Ted Christopher and Ronnie Silk swapped the lead 10 times over the final 45 laps and put on one heck of a show for the packed house here at New Smyrna Speedway. Christopher made the final pass and scored his fourth Richie Evans Memorial 100 win.
“This race is defiantly one of the top five races I have won,” said Christopher. “To go back and forth like that was just awesome. It’s great to win, and it’s even better when it’s a hard fought win. I really had to get up on the wheel tonight.”
Christopher had issues early on in the race and looked to be out of the running for the win before halfway.
“We all got jumbled up on the restart with Jimmy (Blewett) early on,” said Christopher. “My car was very loose and we found out when we put the tires on that the spring was out of the pocket.”
Ronnie Silk was the bridesmaid when the checkered flag flew. Although he was disappointed he was still thrilled about have such a good race with Christopher.
“It was obviously a great race,” said Silk. “I think the last few days Ted and I have had the best cars. I am disappointed. I wanted to win the race for sure. Before the pit stop the car was awesome, we were just really close after that. We really have something to build on when we get to racing in the northeast.”
Bobby Grigas, III finished third and had the best view in the house in those final fifty laps.
“I was hoping that they would get together, because it has happened before this week,” said Grigas. “I would like to have won, but the circumstances that happened earlier in this week have just made this team stronger. I have a new team and they are use to running upfront. We proved tonight we can run with the best of them.”
Saturday - 4:58pm ET - The Crate Late Model division has manufactured some young winners at Speedweeks in the past. Last year, Logan Ruffin took the house down by winning several races and the championship. This year, 13-year old Stephan Nasse took home his first career Late Model win after a close battle with Sean Bass.
“This is great, it’s my first win in a Late Model. I am really happy we did it during Speedweeks. Sean Bass and I were having a good race, but I guess he broke a fuel line and I just got lucky.”
Saturday - 4:55pm ET - Here are the qualifying results for the Pete Orr Memorial 100 Super Late Model race:
184Wayne Andeson17.708 Seconds 605Jeremy Colangelo 17.803 14133Daniel Webster18.021
Saturday - 4:42pm ET - Wayne Anderson has set fast time for the Pete Orr Memorial 100 Super Late Model race ahead of Jack Landis, David Rogers, Tim Russell and Jeff Scofield. The #51 team of Michael Pope did not take a qualifying time, they are still working to change a rear end in that car.
We will have full qualifying results shortly.
Saturday - 4:15pm ET - The Super Late Models are lined up on pit road for their round of qualifying for tonight's Pete Orr Memorial 100.
Saturday - 3:10pm ET - Michael Pope has broken a rear end in his BDI Racing Oceans Properties/Pub 44 #51 Super Late Model. The team didn't have a spare rear end assembly and things were looking bleak for them.
Enter Johanna Long's #10x team. They did have a spare rear end and since both Pope and Long run a Hamke chassis, the mounting points were similar. The #51 team has borrowed a rear end from the #10x team and is working hard to replace it and answer the call of qualifying at 4pm.
Saturday - 2:55pm ET - Derrick Reeves spun his #21 Pro Truck coming out of turn four in practice. he didn't hit anything and after the track was checkered over, practice continued on.
Saturday - 2:50pm ET - Northeast racing legend and 1996 NASCAR Busch North champion Dave Dion was spotted roaming the pit area here last night at New Smyrna. Dion might be a native New Englander, but he is a smart one who spends his winters in the warmer climate of Florida.
Saturday - 2:45pm ET - Jeff Scofield's team has repaired their #07 Super Late Model after last night's wreck and they appear to be ready to race in tonight's Pete Orr Memorial 100. That might not be good news for Jeff Choquette, who had a run-in with Scofield in Thursday's night race, as documented in yesterday's Trackside Now reports. Scofield vowed revenge on Choquette - who is leading the SLM point standings. So there could be fireworks tonight.
Saturday - 2:15pm ET - We've filled out notebooks in the pits here at New Smyrna and have some updates for the final day of racing in the 43rd Annual World Series of Short Track Racing.
- The #12 team of Corey Freed is here for tonight's Pete Orr Memorial 100 Super Late Model race. Freed hails from Orlando, Florida.
- Ronnie Silk has been one of the toughest customers in the Tour-type Late Models this week. He started three races and logged a first, second and third place finish. He led laps in each event he entered. Today though, he isn't here.
Silk's Hillbilly Racing team left the track last night and it was all according to plan. They have a few test sessions scheduled in the coming weeks and want to get a jump on preparing for those in their North Carolina shops. The team focused on last night's Richie Evans Memorial 100 and Silk put on an epic battle with eventual winner Ted Christopher in that race.
- The #17 Tour-type Modified team of Rob Fuller has also loaded up and left the pit area.
- Austin Pickens will be allowed to race int he Pro Truck event last night. His team was involved in an altercation following last night's Limited Late Model feature. His crew chief has been suspended and fined by track officials, but Pickens is not going to be parked for tonight.
- Last night's results show that Jeff Jarrell ran the Pro Truck feature, but that was not so. The registration showed that Jeff was the driver, but the wheelman for the #18 entry was actually his son Zack Jarrell.
Saturday - 12:15pm ET - It is with extremely heavy hearts that we start our Trackside Now coverage today by remembering Matt Hawkins.
Hawkins passed away on Friday night at the age of 21, after an incident of accidental gun discharge in Georgia. He was well known by everyone in the short track community.
On the track, Hawkins had built up an amazing resume. He won in his first career starts in both the ARCA RE/MAX Series and USAR Pro Cup Series - a seemingly-impossible accomplishment that may never be matched. He also won numerous Pro Late Model races in the Southeast and finished in the top three of the Snowball Derby for the last two seasons.
Off the track, Hawkins was known for being an especially kind, polite and personable young man. He might have seemed quiet at first glance, but Matt was one of those people who you couldn't help but to become quick friends with.
Many of the Super Late Model and Crate Late Model drivers in attendence at New Smyrna this weekend have raced against Hawkins at some point in their careers. We wouldn't be going out on a limb by saying that most of them probably became good friends with the young man as well. You couldn't help but to like him right away.
Hawkins was definately a friend to all of us here at Speed51.com and we will miss him greatly. We offer our thoughts and prayers to all of his family and friends.
Saturday - 12:00pm ET - Here are all of the nuts and bolts items to bring you up to speed on about the 43rd annual World Series of Short Track Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. We our entering our ninth and final day of racing for this year's edition of Smyrna Speedweeks.
Some of the point races are tight, some have been decided. Here are the weekly point standings so far at New Smyrna:
Meanwhile, there is plenty of other racing action around the area this week. We all know about the action over at Daytona International Speedway, but the short tracks in the area are alive too.
Not too terribly far from New Smyrna, the Orlando Speedworld is in action this week with their annual Winternationals for Legends, Bandoleros and Thunder Roadsters. Today is also the final day of racing over there. Our sister website, LegendsNation.com will be at the track to provide live updates throughout the day.
The racing has been down and dirty over at Volusia Raceway Park this week as well, with Sprint Cars, Late Models and Modifieds are tearing up the dirt track. Even though we're a little partial to asphalt racing and limit our dirt fun to playing with tractors, we have heard that there is some great racing action that has taken place over there this week. Best of all, our friends over at DirtRacingDigest have been covering the action extensively. So be sure to check out that coverage
And finally, here are a few housekeeping items:
Here is today's schedule and a link to a PDF of every day's schedule for you to view, download and print.
9:00am - Gates Open / Tech Open
10:00am - SK/Tour-Type Mod Tech Open & Tire Room Open
10:30am - Fuel Open
11:30am-3:00pm - Practice (rotating divisions)
4:00pm - Qualifying (Super Late Model, Tour Modifieds, SK Modifieds, Pro Trucks)
6:15pm - Driver's Meeting
7:20pm - Opening Ceremonies (Invocation and National Anthems)
7:30pm - Feature Racing Begins
Tour-type Modifieds (25 laps)
Limited Late Models (25 laps)
SK Modifieds (50 laps)
Driver Introductions (Time Permitting)
Super Late Models - Pete Orr Memorial 100 (100 laps)
Pro Trucks (50 Laps)
If you see something that raises your hackles, jump over to the Speed51.com Speedweeks discussion forum at MotorsportsLounge.com and share your opinions. It is a great place to interact with other fans and comment about our coverage and the action here at New Smyrna.
You can catch up and see what has been going on here so far this week, by reading our Trackside Now coverage of the first four nights of racing. There is also a Speed51.com index page of all the stories leading up to Florida Speedweeks for your reading pleasure.