Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
One of Our Own

The winning crew chief for this year's Daytona 500 was someone that short trackers could relate to.  Massachusetts native Kevin “Bono” Manion was a plumber when he started turning wrenches at Riverside Park Speedway and on the NASCAR Modified Tour.  His first full-time job in the sport was working for the legendary Sheba Racing Modified team with Steve Park behind the wheel.  After that, Bono moved South and eventually ended up as a crew chief at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.  That's exactly the pit box he was standing on for driver Jamie McMurray in this year's 500.  It's good to see one of us make it big!

Predicting the Future

After crossing the finish line first towards the end of the week during the 44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, Jeff Choquette refused to go to victory lane.  Instead, the Florida Super Late Model driver elected to go straight to the technical inspection area.  He might have been predicting the future.  Choquette was disqualified, but at least no victory lane photos had to be thrown out.

Little Racecars, Low Car Counts

Ed Clark and Dwight Pilgrim recently split the double features in the Thunder Roadster division during the Winter Flurry Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway (GA).  That was fair - as both races only had two cars in each other - so no driver walked away empty-handed from the race weekend. Garrett Smithley did even better though.  He finished first and last in the two Outlaw Bandolero feature races.  Each event only featured a single car field!

They're Crate!

Once upon a time, the Late Models at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna were pretty much an afterthought.  The more powerful Super Late Models and Tour-Type Modifieds were the big dogs of the week, with the SK Modifieds right behind.  But now, with the advent of the ASA-type Crate Late Models, the “Crates” are now right up there as one of the big draws at Smyrna Speedweeks.  Great racing, featuring guys like Stephen Nasse, Patrick Laperle, Dustin Delaney and week-long champion Sean Bass.

Turning it Around

The thing about having nine nights of racing at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) is that until the very last moment, you don't know what kind of week it is going to turn out to be.  Matt Hirschman had crappy luck all week long at New Smyrna, but turned it all around by winning the biggest Tour-type Mod race of them all, the Richie Evans Memorial 100, on the final night of racing.  Every year, a ton of racers hope that their luck changes on the final night.  This year, for one of them, it actually did.

Not The Islander We Expected

A few years ago, Long Islander Donny Lia won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, but joined the NASCAR Truck Series and didn't defend that title.  He came back last season to win the championship again.  This time though, a Long Islander might win back to back Mod Tour titles.  It won't be Lia though.  He's off to the Truck Series again.  But Long Island native George Brunnhoelzl, III will join the Mod Tour after winning the 2009 Southern Modified Tour title.  It wasn't the kid of Islander defense we expected, but the championship trophy might still stay in the land of Riverhead after all.

IROC Karts - For a Great Cause

Imagine a race where winners from PASS, ACT, Supermodifieds and Tour-type Modifieds all got to go wheel-to-wheel with each other…an IROC of short track racing so to speak.  Well, this Saturday you'll see exactly that in Portland, Maine with the running of the DT 100 kart race.  The entry list for the race includes everyone from to Eddie MacDonald to Johnny Clark to Chris Perley to Rob Summers to Andy Seuss to Speed51.com Editor Mike Twist.  The best thing of all?  The proceeds from this race all go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

They Were Ready to Rumble

A post race fight after a SK Modified race at Smyrna Speedweeks might not have made Keith Rocco or Ronnie Silk (and their crews) look very good, but it did make them famous.  Over 10,000 fans so far have watched the victory lane fisticuffs on the Speed 51 Video page.

March Madness

In the next month, the 2010 short track racing schedule will kick into high gear.  March events on the calendar include The Rattler, a big CRA show at Gresham Motorsports Park, the UARA-Stars opener at Hickory, the Modified Racing Series opener at Waterford, Southern Mods at Atlanta Motor Speedway's infield quarter-mile, the openers for the K&N Pro East and West tours and much, much more.  We'll follow it all right here on Speed51.com.

A Dream Schedule

Chase Elliott's racecars carry the sponsorship of Aaron's and are therefore known as “dream machines”, but we're thinking that what really is dreamy about Elliott's racing program and his schedule for 2010.  The teen racer plans to run about 30 Super and Pro Late Model races with excursions planned in CRA, PASS, the Blizzard Series and more.  Big events like The Snowball Derby, Montgomery's All-American 400, the Winchester 400, the Red Bud 300 and PASS' Labor Day Classic at North Wilkesboro are all on there.  We can't think of many racers who wouldn't be just a little bit jealous of that schedule!