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Southern Short Track Stock Car Racing

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Monday, February 18, 2002

Jr Hanley Wins Final Race But "Mr. Excitement" Is Crowned Champion


By Jane Smith
(KNS) After seven nights (the Super Lates had
Monday night off) of hard side by side racing, Jimmy
Cope, "Mr. Excitement" to Florida race fans, was crowned the Champion of the Super Lates at New Smyrna Speedway and the 36th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
Cope won the first race last Friday, February 8, and
has been in the top five most every night.

On the pole for the final and 100 lap race was Jr.
Hanley's #66. Hanley, the winner of five races, proved
to all the drivers and the fans that he is definitely
one of the top short track racers in the country.
Night after night, he worked his way to the front
and maintained it. On the outside of Hanley was the
#2x of Clay Rogers, also a well known racer. With 39
cars on the track for the 100 lapper, the start of
the race was alittle hard. But it was not until
lap 19 when #9 Jonathan Brown, while passing a lap
car, gave the crowd a thrill. Brown's car seemed
to lift up slightly and come back down with the #9
being towed in the pits and Brown okay. Brown was
running tenth at the time.

After the track was cleared and checked, the green
flew once again with Hanley still leading the way.
Travis Kittleson #88 and Clay Rogers #2x were having
their own side by side action as the #88 machine was
working hard for that second place spot that the
#2x had. Just as Kittleson takes second from Rogers,
the yellow comes out for the #38 of Shane Sawyer who
spins on lap 25. Clay Rogers gets back second position
on the restart but it does not take Kittleson long to
once again take it away putting Rogers in fourth and
the #61 of Cope in third.

Lap 35 saw a pile up over in the bottom of turns 1
and 2. Jeff Sloan #31, #6b Jerome Brown, #60 Bob
Eastwood and #74x Jody Turner were all involved. Sloan
#31 was slightly run over but able to continue as
well as the #6B of Brown. The track was cleared, the
one to go was shown and we were green flag racing again.

Kittleson #88 charges Hanley #66 for the lead but
Hanley, being the great racer he is, is not shaken
but Kittleson remains right on his rear. Hanley
and Kittleson pull away from the field leaving Cope
#61 in third and no cars directly behind him. Clay
Rogers, Louie Mechalides, David Rogers, Freddie
Query and B.J. McLeod are now in an all out dog fight
for position as the laps dwindle down.

Lap 56 the #30 of Richard Duecker hits the turn 1 and
2 wall but is not badly damaged. On the restart,
David Rogers #11 takes over the fifth position as
he puts the #47 Louie Mechalides to sixth. It is
now Hanley, Kittleson, Cope, Clay Rogers, David
Rogers, Mechalides, Query, McLeod, Powell and Willoughby.
Cope does a little wiggle but is able to correct but
the yellow comes out once again as the #7 of Erik
Darnell does alittle 360 practice in turn 1 and 2.
The field is started single file with Hanley still
leading and Kittleson close behind. The #2x Clay
Rogers and #61 Jimmy Cope are having their own battle
and touch causing the #11 of David Rogers to go high
in turns 3 and 4 losing his fifth place spot and
ending up in ninth after saving his car.

In the
meanwhile, the two lead cars of Hanley and Kittleson
touch down in the bottom of turn 4 with both
saving their cars. Clay Rogers #2x takes the 3rd
position from #61 Cope.

Now the track is really hot and everyone is fighting
hard as the #8 of Freddie Query seems to have a
tire go down and ends up in the turn 4 wall. Query
has not had the best of luck this year and every
time it seemed that he was going to have a good
finish, something happened. Query is towed off the
track and the race is green once again. David
Rogers is side by side #78 McLeod for the fifth
position and does get it. Now it is Hanley,
Kittleson, Clay Rogers, Cope and David Rogers.

Lap 90 on the board as the #12 of Justin Drawdy spins
and the #53 as he spins to avoid hitting the #12.
With ten laps to go, can Kittleson take Hanley???
Kittleson tried everything- high, low but could not
pass the #66 of Hanley. Taking home the trophy for
the 100 lapper was #66 Junior Hanley followed by
#88 Travis Kittleson, #2x Clay Rogers, #11 David
Rogers, #61 Jimmy Cope, #47 Louie Mechalides, #78
B.J. McLeod, #37 James Powell III, #74 Barry
Willoughby, #82 Donnie Wilson, #137 Mike Franklin, Jr.,
#371 Larry Gelinas, #10 Donald Long and #6 Mac
Johnson.

Open Wheel Modifieds

Jerry Symons #66 took home his eighth win of the
nine nights of racing. Only one other driver won
a race during the 9 nights and that was the #l of
Stephen Johanneck. The #00 of Bobby Blake sat on
the pole but it was the K1 of Mike Carroll who took
the lead. Carroll maintained his lead until the
caution came out for the #5x of Gery Artuso on lap
8. Artuso was fine but his car was slightly hot
and on fire but the safety crew had it out in
seconds. The #5x was towed in and the race was
green once again. Symons quickly took the lead
from Carroll who got shuffled back and ended up
finishing seventh. The final positions were Symons,
#2x Jason Boyd, #51 Dave Stacy, #00 Bobby Blake,
#1A Andy Saffotti, #00x Brad May, #K1 Mike
Carroll and #7 Mark Vandevender.

Late Models
Jason Boyd #15 set the new World Series of Asphalt
Stock Car Racing as he won all nine nights of Late
Model action.

No one has ever done this before.
Richie Evans won 8 times but Boyd is the only 9 times
winner. Tonight Boyd won with the #38 of Kirk
Hooker, #22 Larry Osteen, #26 Mike Murphy, #5x
Gery Artuso, #5 Joey Miller, #25 Timmy Todd and
#70 Rob Howard following him over the finishing line.

NASCAR TYPE MODIFIEDS
The "thunder pounders, stand shakers" NASCAR Tour Type/
SK Mods saw the #26 of George Kent on the pole for
their final race at New Smyrna Speedway for the 2002
World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. With
only one caution in their final feature, the excite-
ment was never ending. Kent was able to hold his
lead even with the #13 of Teddy Christopher constantly
putting the nose of his machine under the bumper of
Kent's. Night 9 gave George Kent #26 the final win
as #13 Teddy Christopher, #19 Eric Beers, #00 John
Blewitt, #32 Dave Bergman, #5 Charlie Pasteryak, #14
Robbie Summers, #99 Jamie Tomaino, #29 George Bach,
and #2 JR Bertuccio followed Kent across the finish
line. Robbie Summers #14 was crowned the Champion
for the NASCAR Tour Type/SK Mods for the 2002 World
Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.

SUPER STOCKS
Rich Clouser #8 Super Stock won both races for this
division, taking the first win last Saturday, February
9 and the win on February 16. Clouser was able to
take his #8 to the front and maintain his lead for
his second win. Following Clouser across the finish
line was #2 Ron Whaley, #08 Robert Skinner, #45 Mike
Soukup, and #16 David Gould.

Nine nights of racing are over. It has been a challenge
for all that came. Fed Ex, UPS, became a familiar site
at the track as parts were delivered to the determined
drivers to get a win. Cope, Boyd, Symons, Vulipus,
and Clouser went home knowing that they had done their
best as Champions of the 2002 World Series of Asphalt
Stock Car Racing.

-Jane Smith


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