POWELL SURVIVES NAILBITTER TO WIN MONDAY by Bob Dillner
Freddie Querry and David Rogers May Be Done
It hasn't been the best of weeks for Florida hotshoe James Powell, but that all changed when he led green to checker for his first win in the World Series of Asphalt.
"This definitely makes up for those first few nights," said Powell, who crashed and had mechanical failure in the first two nights of racing. "We've had a good car since we got here; we've just had a couple things that went wrong with accidents and stuff. These 30-lap races are just like a sprint, so things happen fast. I knew everybody goes through what we did the last few nights; we've just been on the wrong end of the stick. This makes up for it a little."
For James Powell it was a survival of the fittest. For Wayne Anderson, well, he was lucky just to survive to another day. And for Freddie Querry and David Rogers, they did not survive at all. That's the storyline from Monday's 30-lap Super Late Model race at New Smyrna Speedway during Florida's "Speedweeks."
But that's not to say Powell had it easy. Although he jumped into the lead from his outside pole starting spot, fellow Florida "top gun" Wayne Anderson poured on the heavy heat and Late Model legend Junior Hanley gave it one last ditch effort in the final laps.
"Wayne Anderson has run here more than anyone and I think Junior has been coming here since this place was built," smirked Powell after the race. "As long as we got off that restart good, I knew we would be ok. These cars are so equal, it is tough to pass. They were going to have to lay a bumper on me to get around. I wasn't even looking at the mirror there at the end."
James Powell III visited Victory Lane Monday.
Anderson never laid a bumper on Powell, although he did get under the #37 on many occasions. Shortly after and without warning, Anderson slipped and allowed Junior Hanley to jump into second.
"I thought I was getting a flat. I thought I had better slow down before I busted my ass. It was better to finish third and not have a wrecked racecar," said Anderson, who won Saturday night's race. "I just didn't get enough off the corner; we were trying hard though. I just have to keep the fenders on the thing. We are not even halfway done yet."
Anderson and Powell almost had their fenders torn off when a lapped car spun right around them on lap 11.
"I just missed that wreck," added Super LM "Speedweek" point leader Anderson. "I was a lot closer than you think. I just closed my eyes and got through it."
Freddie Querry and David Rogers weren't as lucky. Both of their cars were gobbled up in the incident.
"The lapped car spun and there was no where to do with it as crowded as it was," explained Rogers. "The front and back end are equally destroyed."
James Powell (#37) and Wayne Anderson (#84) experienced a scare when a lapped car spun.
"That's what you get when assholes are out there," said a pissed off Querry, who set fast time on Monday night. "Some slow car spun in front of Rogers and I had no where to go. I destroyed my racecar. This is ridiculous; this isn't the way to race. You set fast time and then they invert the field; it is stupid. I have been doing this too long for this to happen. It isn't a smart way to race; I know it is good for the fans, but I am though with it. I ready to pack up and go home."
In fact, both Query and Roger will miss Tuesday night's action at New Smyrna and Rogers tells us he may have heard the fat lady sing for this "Speedweek."
As for Junior Hanley, well, he finally had a little luck go his way. His brand new #66 didn't break or spin for the first time during "Speedweeks." He was fast and charging at the end, but ran out of time to catch Powell.
"We've had really good cars each night here, we've just
been the victim of circumstance," said runner-up Hanley. "We've be involved in a few little scuffles. Tonight, we didn't have as good of car as we have had. It was good, but it just came in a little too late. I just hope it will get better."
Several people complained about how good Wayne Anderson's #84 looked on Saturday so officials went over the car with a fine-tooth comb. "They checked it out of traction control and all of that," said Anderson. "I came out clean. They (other drivers) are doing what they have to, now we'll see if they can catch me. "
Louie Mechalides had the fastest car on the racetrack Monday night. He flew by both Anderson and Hanley at the start, then got hit and spun. His #47 then muscled his way all the way through the field to fourth. It's just too bad he didn't get a caution late to help close the distance between he and the leaders because it would have been a helluva dogfight.
Sunoco Super Series veteran Scott Hantz had his strongest run of Speedweeks. He finished sixth after qualifying seventh.
ARCA driver and Indiana teenager Shelby Howard made a decent run through the field while driving for fellow Indiana-native and veteran Late Model competitor Ray Skillman.
Jamie Skinner, son of Winston Cup competitor Mike Skinner, made a brief debut at New Smyrna. He drove a car he recently bought from ASA star Chris Wimmer. Skinner made only two practice laps before stuffing the car into the outside retaining wall.
BJ McCleod was missing from the lineup on Monday night for reasons unknown. Terry Schoppenholt also was missing after destroying his car in Saturday night's competition.
Newly announced NASCAR Busch Series driver Joey Clanton made a visit to the Smyrna track to visit with his former ASA crew chief Bond Suss, who currently serves as crew chief for Joey Miller. Clanton was one of just a handful of NASCAR stars who have made appearances at New Smyrna, including Rick Crawford, Randy LaJoie and David Green.
Part-time ASAer Joey Miller ran the 50-lap Limited Late Model feature on Monday night. He was involved in an accident which damaged the body on his #51, but he was still running third when something unpredictable happened; the track's lights went out. The entire track was in the dark, including the press box for some time.
Jason Boyd finished third in the night's Florida/ IMCA modified competition and won the 50-lap Limited Late Model race after the lights went out.
Modifieds were off and Sprint Cars were running on Monday night, but point leader Teddy Christopher was still in the house. "I tried to get a ride in a Sprint Car," he told our Bob Dillner, "but nobody would give me one." Too bad, Teddy would have given it a helluva ride.
Joey Clanton (right) talks with former crew chief Bob Suss, who is now working with Joey Miller for Country Joe Racing.