In just one week’s time, the state of Florida will see hundreds of race teams make the trip to the Sunshine State for Speedweeks. From asphalt to dirt and even to the Daytona 500 festivities, it becomes a race fan’s paradise with multiple disciplines in action. One of the longest-running traditions of Florida Speedweeks has been the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway, which will embark on its 54th edition starting on Friday, February 7.
What started in 1967 with Late Models and a few other classes has since turned into a nine-night spectacle with several divisions including Super and Pro Late Models, Tour-type and Florida Modifieds, and more. The current entry list sees over 100 entries across all divisions, something that track manager Rusty Marcus is proud of.
“We are truly blessed here at New Smyrna Speedway because when the entries started coming in, it was like okay, that’s good. Then it was like holy crap. The last time I looked, and it’s been a few days, there were 35 Tour Mods,” Marcus told Speed51’s “The Bullring” on Tuesday morning. “That’s going to make for a heck of a bunch of races, they’re racing five times while they’re here. We are truly blessed to have this many cars coming in between them and the Supers and Pros and even the local divisions.”
Among the divisions that will be featured throughout the week are the local Pro Truck, Sportsman (now a Wheelman Sportsman Series-sanctioned event), Super Stock, Mod Mini, and Bomber divisions. It’s a chance for the local drivers to put on a show in front of a national audience, and Marcus feels they need a part in the show as well.
“There are some purists that say we shouldn’t run the local divisions, but this is their house,” he said. “That’s the way I feel about it and when we put the big show on, they need to be here too because this is their house, this is where they play and they need to be a part of the big show. And let me tell you what, we have a whale of a big show coming up.”
The World Series starts with an open practice night on Thursday before racing begins on Friday, February 7 and goes until Saturday, February 15, just one night before the Daytona 500 just up the road. While it makes for a long week of racing, it’s an event Marcus does not want to miss.
“The feeling is unbelievable. New Smyrna’s been around 54 years and she’s seen a lot of things. She’s a strong old lady and whenever you see her put her makeup on and getting ready for a big show again and you see everything coming together so well, you’re just amazed, and I’m amazed to be a part of it,” he stated. “It’s exciting because you know in the next eight or nine days we’re going to get locked into this thing and it’s going to be hell, it’s going to be great, there’s going to be laughing, there’s going to be screaming and hollering.
“Whenever we put on these multi-day shows, when you get to Tuesday you’re going holy crap, is this thing ever going to end?” he added. “Then Wednesday becomes the tipping day and all the sudden you’re getting sad because you’re used to walking out to the pit area and you know so-and-so is here and you walk over there and they might be gone now because their car may have gotten wrecked or blown up and they went home. Then that last day, even though on Tuesday you’re ready to pull your hair out and step in front of a train, you’re so depressed because everybody’s gone.”
Stay tuned to Speed51.com for more information leading up to the 54th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com