Beginning Monday night, Tour-type Modified racers will compete in five consecutive nights of racing during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. To get you ready for the busy stretch, we give you “10 Things to Know” leading into this year’s event.
1) This is the deepest field of drivers for the Tour-type Modifieds in recent memory at New Smyrna. Between all the drivers on the entry list there are over 800 starts and 60 plus wins at Speedweeks alone. Mix in 14 raw rookies and you have the roster for the 2021 Tour-Type Modifieds at New Smyrna.
2) With 44 cars on the entry list, questions have been raised in regard to the starting field each night. We can’t imagine that they would start 44 cars for a 35-lap race, but they did back in the day.
3) You want champions? Former World Series champions Chuck Hossfeld, Ryan Preece, Matt Hirschman, Jimmy Blewett, Ron Silk and Andy Seuss will be in the lineup. We are confident in saying there have never been six former champions in the field at the same time at the World Series.
Six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby is also entered, as is Race of Champions Modified Series champion Patrick Emerling. The Tri-Track Open Modified Series is also represented by former champions Matt Hirschman, Jon McKennedy and Ronnie Williams.
4) Andy Seuss returns to New Smyrna looking to do the one thing he’s never done and that’s win a race on the half-mile track. Seuss is a former series champion at the World Series, but that championship came following a week of consistency.
5) Matt Hirschman will have his work cut out for him if he is going to capture his third title at the World Series. If he can do it, he would join Richie Evans, Reggie Ruggerio, Tom Baldwin, Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece as the only drivers to win that many titles.
6) 2014 World Series champion Ron Silk is chasing his fourth title at New Smyrna. Silk won a pair of SK Modified titles years ago before getting the 2014 Tour-type Modified title. He has 14 total wins at New Smyrna.
7) The lineup includes 14 raw rookies who have never run a Tour-type Modified race at New Smyrna. Maybe we will see some surprises there.
8) The Tour-type Modified schedule was cut down to five races in an effort to draw more cars, and it’s done just that. The week is made up of two 35-lap dashes, a 50-lapper and the 76-lap John Blewett III Memorial and the Richie Evans 100 at the end of the week. Drivers who come south get plenty of laps to dial in their cars for the season.
9) Matt Hirshman will be chasing his fifth win in the Richie Evans Memorial 100. Only Ted Christopher has won that many times in the week’s finale. In 2009, TC won for the fourth time in that race and swapped the lead some 17 times in the final 50 laps with Ronnie Silk.
10) The Richie Evans Memorial event is in honor of the best Modified driver to run during Florida Speedweeks. Evans won a race in each of his 10 trips to Florida. He racked up 38 wins in 75 starts, with a winning percentage of just under 50%. He won six titles and finished second twice more. He only finished outside of the top 10 in 10 of his starts at the track.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 “Stat Boy”
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Will Bellamy