WILD NIGHT, WILD FINISH FOR MODS by Jeremy Troiano
Bertuccio and Christopher Get Into It While Arre Sneaks In Win
With action all race long, the biggest stories started with just several laps to go. Leader J.R. Bertuccio and Teddy Christopher had been going at it all race, leaning on each other very hard. It was a rivalry that sprouted back to last weekend. Teddy even told our Bob Dillner that J.R. was talking trash at a hotel bar following Saturday night's action.
On one of the race's several restarts, Christopher had a run on Bertuccio for the lead, but the two came together and a chain reaction ensued and
If you had to describe Tuesday night's Tour Type Modified race at New Smyrna, you'd be hard pressed to find the one right word. Wild. Crazy. Unbelievable. Intimidating. Amazing.
It was a 25-lap race that took over an hour to run. There were 25 cars that started the race and seven that finished. It took 25 minutes to just run the first four laps. The winner led only one lap, the last one.
collected the car of Jim Willis which heavily damaged his ride.
"Teddy Christopher is an asshole," said Willis after confronting Christopher after the race. "J.R. just started the race and Teddy was bouncing off him and off the wall and off everyone else. Everyone got jammed up and I ended up getting the worse of it. I guess it is part of racing.
"Teddy doesn't seem to think he didn't anything wrong. It is funny, because the entire pits seem to think it was his fault. So everyone in the pits must be blind except the guy who wears glasses."
Christopher had a different view of the incident.
Teddy Christopher (#00) and J.R. Bertuccio (#2) went at it all night long at New Smyrna.
"Jimmy came over yelling at me and I told him he just needed to look at what happened," said Christopher. "I got a run on the #2 (Bertuccio) and he just drives me up and gets me spinning. I am sorry that a bunch of guys got wrecked, but when the guy in second place gets spun, shit is going to happen. Sorry he got the bad end of the stick. What does he want from me?"
But the action between Bertuccio and Christopher was only beginning.
With just three laps remaining, Bertuccio got into Christopher coming off turn four after passing the youngster, stalling Christopher's car on the front stretch.
"I drove by him and he just turned me around," said Christopher. "That just showed the type of driver he is. That is what you have to deal with out there. He drives into the side of me every time he gets the chance."
"Teddy chopped me hard coming off the corner. I just then got into him and turned him around," added Bertuccio.
But the action still wasn't over. Thanks to several more accidents, Christopher's team was working on getting his car back out on the track, a fuel pick up problem at fault. In fact, Teddy's crew could be overheard saying they wanted to get the car fixed and out there just to get back at Bertuccio.
When Teddy returned to the track, the two got side by side and exchanged a few words and some paint.
"He wanted to run me up into the fence," said Bertuccio. "I just stopped. What was I suppose to do? I am leading the race. I don't need to be missing a wheel."
"I went back out and didn't even touch the kid," said Christopher. "I went up to him and acted like I was going to do something and he stopped. I stopped again and he ran into the back of me. Then they black flag me! I don't get it. I didn't even touch the kid. I gave him a little brake job. I should have taken his right front (tire) off."
Jim Willis (blue shirt) confronts Teddy Christopher after the race.
But the forgotten driver was Tim Arre, who quietly moved into second during the melee. On the final restart, Arre used some mud on the race track to get Bertuccio out of the grove and passed him for good off the final turn to earn the win.
"J.R. drove me all the way down as low as he could on the restart. Hey, that is fine. That is what he needs to do. He wants to win one of these just like we all do," said Arre, collecting his first win of Speedweeks. "But we were racing really hard and I just had a good run on the back stretch. I was able to get under him enough and I just drove him up the track and got a great run off the corner. We were beating and banging and I was just able to keep our car out front.
Tim Arre snuck through for the win.
"This had to be some of the best, more intense racing I have ever seen here. It was just crazy out there. The restarts were really tough. You just had to keep dodging all of the cars that were spinning and wrecking. Everyone just had an attitude out there today. It was good to finally see someone else win and even better that it was me."
Legendary modified driver and former Speedweeks champ Tom Baldwin, father of Winston Cup crew chief Tommy Baldwin, made a return to action Tuesday night but was never a factor and dropped out of the race early.
The cars of J.R. Helberg, George Kent, Mike Fitch, Bo Gunning, Robbie Summers, Daniel Meservey, Eddie Flemke, Frank Wainwright, Tom White, Jim Willis, Teddy Christopher, Dave Roys Jr. and Larry Altholtz were all involved in accidents during the 25-lap race.
Jerry Symons won the 50-lap Florida / IMCA type Modified race. It was Symons' third win in four nights of competition.