Arre won the 100-lap Richie Evans Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway on Friday night in pretty dominating fashion.
"Richie Evans was the man; I grew up watching Richie Evans," said Arre with a smile. "There is no sweeter win then this and I'll tell you what, I am going to enjoy this for a long time."
"Richie was the best," added Arre's car owner whom most people simply call 'Bear.' "There will be many drivers to come and many drivers to go, but Richie was the best. To win a race down here dedicated to Richieit is like winning Daytona."
Tim Arre idolized Richie Evans as a kid. He watched the nine-time National Modified champion's famous orange #61 race and won at his hometracks like New Egypt Speedway (a current dirt track) in New Jersey. And now he is the winner of a race held every year in memoriam of Evans, who was voted one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers of all-time.
Interestingly enough, it was "Bear's" second-straight win in the Richie Evans Memorial as a car owner. Last year Robbie Summers won the event and the "Speedweeks" Modified title. This year Arre has won two races and with one night remaining, is 16 points behind four-time "Speedweeks" champ Teddy Christopher.
"It has been an up and down week," admitted Arre. "We have three poles and now two races, but we've been in contention all week. I was sick earlier this week and because of that I gave up a third place car the first night and for that I feel bad for our guys. Anything can happen; I'm not giving up yet."
"Bear" (middle) and Arre (right) celebrate their Richie Evans Memorial at New Smyrna.
Neither is Eddie Flemke, but he did lose a lot of ground on Friday night after blowing an engine in his #79 racecar.
"That is the way it goes. I just feel bad because we hurt another motor," said Flemke, who is now 50 points behind point leader Christopher. "I started feeling it go around halfway. It got hot and then started cooling off, so I took it easy. I was just cruising; I mean just cruising. It started skipping, so I shut it off.
"It is disappointing. I mean, this hurts us, but I am not giving
up yet. I know Teddy didn't have a great night either, so we will just look to tomorrow and see what happens."
True, not a great night for Christopher, who finished ninth, but enough to nearly bury Flemke's championship hopes and keep Arre at bay.
"We moved up pretty quick, then it went on seven cylinders and I knew I had to just ride. I don't like to ride. I want to win," stated Christopher matter-of-factly. "Then my caliper had problems; I thought, oh just what I need, my left front to slow me down even more; I was going like a turtle as it was already. The rotor was glowing red and I was like what the f&$#, what else could go wrong?
"We got lucky with Eddie going out. Tim was behind us, and he gained some, but not nearly as much as Eddie could have," added Teddy. "Hopefully we can end strong tomorrow night. I would like to win the title. We have already won more races than anyone else."
Lucky was the word of the night, because you either had it or you didn't. Flemke was unlucky when his engine expired and Arre was lucky. But could Arre have passed Flemke without the help of Lady Luck?
"I don't know if I could have gotten around Eddie," admitted Arre. "When you are leading, you own the track. He was being a gentleman though; he was giving me the outside. I
saw his engine getting ready to go, so I didn't know if it was good to be right on him or what. So I just rode there and fortunately it worked out."
A guy who felt fortunate just to be racing at New Smyrna Friday night was Modified Tour veteran Mike Ewanitsko. He climbed into the cockpit of a Mod for the first time since breaking his back in an accident at Waterford Speedbowl (CT) last May. And he had a helluva comeback by finishing third.
Flemke's night went sour, along with his engine.
Our Bob Dillner talks with Teddy Christoper after Friday night's action.
"I was a little bit rusty," Mike told us. "It took me a while to get back into a groove. We were loose on the first set (of tires) so we decided to just settle in and ride. We came in and tightened it up and went a little too much. I was started to get comfortable at the end, but I told myself if I couldn't get J.R. (Bertuccio) clean, I wasn't going to lay no bumper to him. He was driving the shit out of his car."
Bertuccio finished in the "Bridesmaid" role Friday night, but should he have? They had a bunch of trouble changing tires during their pitstop and we could have sworn he lost a lap on
pitroad, but officials scored him on the lead lap.
"The race was won on pitroad; they killed us on pit road and it put ten cars between us," said the '02 Riverhead Raceway Modified champ. "It was cat and mouse; we had to chase him down, but we couldn't pass him.
"They said I beat the pacecar out so it's their discretion," smiled Bertuccio. "I'll take it anyway I can get it."
Eric Beer was in the mix of things early, but had engine problems.
Tom Baldwin, George Kent and Donny Lia had a hard-fought battle toward the end of the race. Lia pushed it a little too hard, spun himself and slowed Kent a bit. Baldwin finished fifth.
Frank Wainwright Jr. won SK portion, snapping a week-long dominance by Bo Gunning.
Robbie Summers was upfront early, but after a pitstop, he couldn't make up ground in his #36.
Former Riverhead Raceway Mod champ Chuck Stuer is racing at New Smyrna, but has struggled in just a few appearances.