Kittleson, Boyd, and Symons Big Winners on July 4th at New Smyrna Speedway
by Jane Smith
Samsula, Fl - The rains hit heavy and hard at New Smyrna Speedway in mid-afternoon on July 4th. It looked like it was going to be a washout for the Twin 125's and the Tommy Patterson Memorial. But little by little, the skies clearer and racing was on.
The track was dried and the pits were de-flooded as much as possible. The drivers were given a session of hot laps before qualifying for the night's events.
Thirty Super Lates qualified with 32 in the pits. The #80 of Brian Finney and the #5 Daniel Keene, Sr. did not qualify. Jimmy "Mr. Excitement" Cope returned to New Smyrna Speedway and the Sunbelt Series for the first time in 2002 and set fast time with a 18.097 secs. Wayne Anderson, Michael Williams, David Rogers and Mike Good rounded out the top five fast qualifiers.
Tank Tucker's #15 Open Wheel Modified set fast time for the twenty three car field for the Tommy Patterson Memorial at 19.150. The annual Memorial had been postponed from the last two weekends due to rain.
So instead of the 20 lap feature planned for the Twin 125's for the Open Wheel Modifieds, the Tommy Patterson Memorial was added instead.
Jerry Symons, Jared Allison, Alan McCafferty and Shannon Smith filled out the top five fast qualifiers for the Open Wheel Modifieds. Also in the field was the #47 of Wally Patterson, brother of Tommy Patterson. Once a year Wally takes the #47 out of mothballs and races in the Tommy Patterson Memorial.
Thirty three Late Models filled the field for the Goodyear Challenge 125 lap event. Jason Boyd set fast time with a 18.878 followed by Wayne Morris with a 18.879. Larry Osteen and Martin Pierce both ran a 18.972 putting them third and fourth fastest with Joey Miller taking fifth fastest time.
#12 Justin Drawdy sat on the pole for the Sunbelt Super Late Model 125 with #96 Jack Cook on the outside. The green was thrown with Cook quickly taking the lead over Drawdy.
The first caution would set the field for cautions. A few green flag laps would go down in the books and then the yellow would fly. This was the precedent for the night's race.
Lap 3, caution 1 for the #32 who spun between turns l and 2. Restart on lap 4 with caution 2 on lap 6 for the #2 of Craig Reynolds.
Lap 7 goes green with Cook leading the way. But on lap 12, #16 Bruce Lawrence and #38 Shane Sawyer spin. On lap 14, the #11 David Rogers pits quickly for much needed attention.
Lap 15 goes green with Rogers back in the pack. But only 4 green laps get down on the books before caution 4 comes out for #6 Mac Johnson and #15x Daniel Keene, Jr. who have wrecked on the fronstretch.
The track is cleared, lap 27 the green is thrown with Jack Cook, Justin Drawdy, James Powell III, Jimmy Cope and Travis Kittleson rounding out the top five. At this point, Cope and Kittleson are going door-to-door for the fourth position but Cope holds strong and maintains fourth.
Lap 33, caution 5, the #36 Dick Anderson slows and spins between turns 3 and 4. Anderson takes the #36 into the pits for some much needed "crew attention" and returns to the field for the rstart.
The #36 is not Anderson's most favorite car and he did say "that this is the last time you will see me in the #36."
Lap 36, the green is thrown. Lap 39, the #22 David Froelich and #51 Jacob Warren both go into the pits. Froelich does return but Warren retires.
Lap 41,caution 6 comes out for a spin on the backstretch and lap 42 sees the #56 Michael Skaggs retire to the pits.
Lap 46, green flag racing resumed with #61 Cope making his move on the #12 Drawdy for the second place spot. Drawdy holds his ground and Cope must settle for third.
Caution 7, lap 51, #161 Tommy King hits the backstretch wall. King was fine but the same cannot be said for his car. Lap 57 the green is once more out but only one lap later, the first of two red flags is thrown.
Lap 58 was a show stopper. #27 Mike Good spun coming off turn 3. #40 Micheal Williams and #84 Wayne Anderson are in the tightly packed closing field. Williams checks up with Anderson giving him a small tap (unintentional).
Williams's South Forty Green Machine takes a wild ride up the turn 3 wall, slowly flips on top of Wayne Anderson's car, and comes back down. Both Anderson and Williams were fine. Also caught up in this was B.J. McLeod who ended up at the bottom of turns 3 and 4 with no front nose to his car.
Williams told his wife, who was extremely shaken at the back fence, "I am fine just one heck of a wild ride." And that, everyone can testify to.
At this point, 15 cars out of the original 30 starting, are left. Before the race rsumed from the red flag condition, the #37 James Powell III retires to the pits.
Lap 58 goes green with #61 Cope and #12 Drawdy going side-by-side, door-to-door for the second place position. Lap 60 Cope spins as he is dueling with Drawdy for caution 9. Cope is fine and able to continue but has to go to the end of the lead lap.
Lap 61 Cook takes the lead on the green. Drawdy, Kittle- son, #38 Shane Sawyer and #74 Barry Willoughby round out the top five. But by lap 69, and alittle shuffling, the top ten are Cook, Drawdy, Kittleson, Sawyer, Dick Anderson, Jimmy Cope, Chad Pierce, Barry Willoughby, Scott Bramlett, Eric Black and David Rogers who is now racing the #11 Open Wheel Modified.
Lap 71, #16 Bruce Lawrence is off the track. Lap 77, Sawyer takes over third putting Kittleson to fourth. Lap 79, caution 10 comes out for a mess involving Kittleson, Bramlett, Cook, Drawdy. All are able to continue but Drawdy has alot of smoke on the rstart and has to pull the #12 into the pits for the night.
The race now has 13 cars left.
The race resumed on lap 81. By lap 88, the top five are Kittleson, Dick Anderson, Jimmy Cope, Chad Pierce and Barry Willoughby.
Lap 93, caution 12 - RED FLAG.
Coming off turn 4, the #38 Sawyer and #7 Bramlett tangle, hitting very hard. Bramlett is able to get out of the very demolished #7 but upon insistence of his crew and family, does go to the hospital. Sawyer is also fine but has a totally demolished racecar.
On the restart, only 11 cars are left with Kittleson leading Anderson, Cope, Pierce and Willoughby followed by Cook, Rogers, Froelich, Black, Middleton, and #32.
Lap 114, caution 13 was thrown for the #32 who spun in turns l and 2. The race goes green on Lap 115 with Kittleson up front.
Lap 118, Cope slips coming off turn 4 but does a good job of saving the car. By this time, tires are pretty worn for sure. Lap 119, Cope slips again but is unable to save the car and spins bringing out caution 14.
Lap 120 goes green with Kittleson leading the way followed by Dick Anderson, Chad Pierce, Barry Willoughby, and Jack Cook.
Cook no longer has a car hood but a roof hood as his car hood is on his roof. But this does not stop the #96 and his mission for a long finish. Cope is able to move on the new double roofed Cook and takes fifth place putting Cook to sixth.
Following Kittleson to the checkers was Dick Anderson, Chad Pierce (in Debbie Santos's old Super Late), Barry Willoughby (in his new 2002 YELLOW Monte Carlo, Jimmy Cope, Jack Cook, David Rogers, David Froelich, Jay Middleson and #32.
TOMMY PATTERSON MEMORIAL
Jared Allison sat on the pole for the annual 50 lap Tommy Patterson Memorial in the #4 Open Wheel Modified. On the outside of Allison was #66 Jerry Symons.
The green was thrown and Symons quickly jumped to the lead over Allison. But just as fast as Symons took the lead, the lst caution came out for the #57 Jim "Hoot" Flynn and #00 Brad May. May retires the #00 to the pits and Flynn gets TLC for the #57.
On the restart, Tank Tucker #15 takes the lead from Symons. Jason Boyd, Jared Allison and Alan McCafferty round out the top five.
Lap 6 and lap 15 see cautions 2 and 3 thrown. When the green comes out again, Symons takes back the lead from Tucker. Boyd hooks onto the coat tails of Symons and follows thru taking second and putting Tucker to third.
Lap 17, Tucker is forced to retire the #15 from the field with mechanical problems. This leaves Symons, Boyd, McCafferty, Allison and Andy Saffotti in the top five.
Lap 23, #5 Brian Campbell spun between turns 3 and 4. On the restart, Symons gets loose in turn 3 and slips up alittle with Boyd taking advantage and taking the lead. Symons comes back for the lead and Boyd spins.
On the restart, Boyd is put to the rear. Coming to turn 3, the #2x totally stops and sits. The buggy pushed the #2x and it fired. On the frontstretch the #l Andy Saffotti also has stalled. The buggy pushes Saffotti and he tires to the pit.
Body comes back around, goes to pit road, gets out of his car and leaves it. The pit crew are seen pushing the car back into the pits.
Caution 7 is thrown for the #721 who spun in turn 4. The race goes back green with Symons still in the lead. Lap 35, caution 8 is thrown for #41 J.F. McClelland who has broken and not able to make it back into the pits. McClelland is given help and the race resumes.
Following Jerry Symons to the checkers was #32x Alan McCafferty, #75 Bobby Blake, #5 Brian Campbell, #4 Jared Allison, #00 Wayne Southard and #2 Skip Honaker.
GOODYEAR CHALLENGE LATE MODEL 125
We have now hit the WITCHING HOUR - MIDNIGHT. Thirty three Lates take to the track for 125 laps of hot and heavy racing.
Joey Miller sat on the pole for the 125 lap event with Larry Osteen #22 quickly taking the lead on the green. Following close behind Osteen is Wayne Morris, Joey Miller, Brad Barkis and Jason Boyd.
Lap 9, caution 1 is thrown when the #75 Martin Pierce, #36 Tim Russell, #04 Doug Samion, #39 Mike Greenwell, #29 Mike Hovis and #8 Tim Clark all take wild rides in turn 4. No injuries to humans, only car damage with the #8 being towed in for the night.
Restart lap 12 but only 2 laps later, caution 2 comes out. Tim Russell does a quick in and out of the pits and rejoins the field as Osteen leads Morris, Boyd, Miller and Barkin to the green.
Lap 22, caution 3 comes out for the #24 who has hit the wall. Lap 27 restart. Lap 28, Boyd puts the #15 in second. Lap 30, Boyd takes the lead over Osteen, Morris, Barkis and Symons.
Lap 33, caution 4 comes out for debris on the track. Restart lap 35 with Boyd in the lead.
Lap 41, Symons and Barkis are going side-by-side. Lap 42, Symons takes fourth putting Barkis to fifth. Lap 46, Bobby Newston #0l goes in, retiring for the night.
Lap 53, caution 5 for #34 Jeff Dufresne and #67 Chad Allman. Kevin Finney #80, having no place to go, hits the Dufrense and tears up the frontend of the #80 car. Finney has to be towed off the track but Finney himself is fine.
Lap 59 sees the restart. Lap 62, caution 6 for a car in the turn 1 wall. The #36 Russell comes back around with a smashed rear-end. Lap 66, the race goes back to green.
Lap 75, #43 Randy Dye brings out caution 7 for a spin in turn 4. The #04 Doug Samion is not back on the track with his new Open Wheel Modified.
Lap 78 goes green with Boyd leading. Lap 80, #75 Martin Pierce retires to the pits.
Lap 85, Sean Murphy #32 slips coming into turn 3 but does one heck of a job saving the car. Lap 89, Barkis takes over the third place spot putting Symons fourth and Osteen fifth.
Lap 95, caution 8 is thrown for #66 Symons who has blown a tire and brushed the wall in turn l. Symons slowsly drives the car around and into the pits for crew attention.
Lap 97, #43 Dye retires into the pits. Lap 100, the race goes back green with Boyd leading. Lap 102, caution 9 comes out for #46 Doug Moff who has hit the backstretch wall.
Restart lap 108, Boyd still in the lead. But Wayne Morris does not give Boyd a break and stays right on his rear bumper lap after lap.
Lap 110, Mike Greenwell #39 retires into the pits. The race remained green.
Following Jason Boyd to the checkers was Wayne Morris, Brad Barkis, Joey Miller, Larry Osteen, Mike Hovis, and Tony Amico.
Fireworks followed in the wee hours of the morning but they were great.