New Smyrna Speedway

OBSERVATIONS: World Series of Asphalt Night 5

Photo Credit: Speed51.com

While the focus for many is the action at Daytona International Speedway, February in Florida is busy with racing events. Bubba Raceway Park and Volusia Speedway have something for dirt fans each night, while New Smyrna Speedway hosts their World Series of Asphalt Racing.

If you want to get a glance at the next generation, checking out any of these events is a must as they always put on a good show. The best part? Fanschoice.tv is live streaming each night for free for your viewing pleasure.

It always seems that when weather is in the area, things get a little crazy, whether due to cooler temperatures resulting in quicker times, or drivers just getting that in their head. The saying goes, “a storm is brewing in the air, and on the track below.”

As a result, Tuesday was one of the best nights of racing throughout the entire series thus far to date, and it will be interesting to see where we go from here over the next four rounds.

Tour Type Modifieds

Ryan Preece has built a reputation behind the wheel of a modified, and he showcased why he has that on Tuesday night. After suffering a mechanical issue that took him out of contention, he was taking no prisoners tonight. He would make his way from eighth to first in 14 laps, including a thrilling three-wide split pass to go from fourth to second.

While Preece stole the headlines, the Tour Type Modifieds proved why they bring the fans to the grandstands with a Patrick Emerling and Doug Coby facing off, along with an equally impressive eye-catching affair in a three-way battle for third. Kudos to Coby on a stellar restart with five laps to go to place third after spending most of the event just outside of the top-five.

The only drawback was the night was not totally clean, with a car spinning up front, collecting a group behind him including Andy Jankowiak, Patrick Emerling, Dave Sapienza, Anthony Nocella, Nikki Carroll and Jeff Goodale. Hopefully Emerling, the only drier unable to continue, can make the repairs necessary to rejoin the fray on Wednesday.

Super Late Models

If you have a race featuring the likes of Derek Kraus and Bubba Pollard on the front row, you know that you will be in for a treat. Nothing like facing the most recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series East winner against arguably the best short Late Model racer in the United States currently.

Although it appeared Kraus had the advantage early, it was all for not. Pollard played the game that we’ve seen him do multiple times – riding and conserving his tires. He didn’t take the lead until 20 laps to go at the Canadian Stock Car Nationals, and he didn’t take the lead until 10 laps to go on Monday night at New Smyrna.

On Tuesday, he ran just hard enough to keep Kraus within striking distance, before making his move on Lap 17. He also proved the strength of the No. 11 Late Model underneath him, making the move around Kraus on the outside, opposite to how practically every other pass has been made through Speedweeks to date.

Not being behind the wheel of his equipment – as he’s driving Dave Roger’s car, it showed on opening night as Pollard seemed out of place, scoring a solid finish by mere luck after the leaders got together. Now that he has the No. 11 driving as he wants, everybody is seeing the talent that he is showcased across the country already.

It also adds an interesting dynamic to the week-long Championship at New Smyrna Speedway. Brad May hasn’t won an event, but has been in the top-five each night, whereas Bubba Pollard had an off-night followed by a pair of wins. What approach will be on top when the champion is crowned? Currently, May leads Pollard by only 12 points.

On the flip side, Carson Kvapil was driving beyond what his equipment would give him on Tuesday, and it showed as he was sliding all over the track, essentially like a dart without feathers. There were multiple saves made that how you admiring his talent, but you can only do so much – and unfortunately, he crossed the line.

The mistake of Kvapil in driving over his own equipment proved costly, as he slid up into Anothony Sergi, spinning him around which left Sam Meyer absolutely nowhere to go. While Kvapil was able to get away with barely any damage to his machine, Meyer is now left with a destroyed car.

Meyer’s words were on target in saying, “I don’t want to say people don’t know how to race,” as Kvapil was parked shortly thereafter the incident for the rest of the night. It’s one thing to drive to the edge and find the maximum that your equipment will give you. But you also have to know your limit and realize that you can’t be going all out crazy every lap.

However, while Kvapil may be getting the third-degree from a lot of people, credit is due as he did stand there in front of the cameras and admit that he got loose, slid up, and was at fault for the incident.

The incident would lead to a late-race restart, which once again allowed drivers to showcase their talent as Derek Frederickson and Kraus proved why they are wheel-men, hanging onto their cars despite being dead sideways.

Also, it’s great to see Logan Seavy gaining people’s attention as he is definitely doing a good job, getting better with each lap under his belt as he begins his late model career. He could be a darkhorse to steal a win before the week is over.

Pro Late Models

While the racing was solid throughout the field with some small battles of interest, the night didn’t go well for everybody.

Georgia native Augie Grill made significant contact with the wall after having a tire go down, which really put a sudden stop to his strong Speedweeks after winning Monday night.

Sault St. Marie Jerry Artuso gets the ‘heartbreaker’ award as after the long haul, he now has a wrecked car after getting caught up in a wreck on a restart as a result of someone not going.

Florida Modifieds

Although it’s nice to see a wide variety of racing series, the Florida Modifieds haven’t been cutting it through Speedweeks to date.

On Monday night where they could’ve shined following the K&N Pro Series East event, the racing was pretty much strung out single-file, with the race experiencing a lengthy delay at the end to clean up fluid. It would’ve been better to call a time limit on the end of the event, and move on. Thankfully Bob Dillner eased some of the pain with his interviews and commentary for those at home.

So after that disaster of 35 laps, you can say that there were no positive thoughts heading into the 75-lap feature for Tuesday night.

As expected, the race did not begin according to plan with three wrecks before they had even completed a single lap on the board. 30 minutes in total, if you were wanting to keep track. I’ve seen painful races – hello Autumn Colours Classic disasters that have endless cautions. However, at least there are feuds that keep you entertained whereas this was just single drivers making stupid mistakes.

Thankfully, the race officials elected to put them single-file for the fourth attempt, which went semi-smoothly and allowed us to clock some laps on the board.

Unfortunately, while the racing was painful to watch, it probably wasn’t as bad as how Travis Eddy and Wayne Parker felt when the checkered flag was flown. Eddy dominated, only to break with five laps to go. Meanwhile, Parker looked to have the speed capable of getting his second win of Speedweeks. However, he was dumped after finding himself in the middle of someone else’s battle, and drove his way back up to eighth only to suffer a mechanical failure. If they can both get their stuff sorted out, we may see something entertaining.

On the flip side, it was nice to see Augie Grill win after the previous mentioned issue in the Pro Late Model.

Let’s hope they clean things up moving forward. Please, we’re begging now.

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