New Smyrna Speedway (FL) has perhaps the most historically-named events. From the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing to the Florida Governor’s Cup and from the Pete Orr Memorial to the Red Eye 100, New Smyrna is home to races that are easily identified by short track racers and fans alike.
But there is one event at New Smyrna that comes with a little something extra. That race is the Clyde Hart Memorial 100, which honors the man who put New Smyrna Speedway on the map.
From the time that New Smyrna Speedway opened in 1967, Clyde Hart was a likable fit for the asphalt track that sees racing over 40 weeks a year.
The truck that Hart would watch the races from in turn one remains to this day as he looks down on his speedway from above.
Hart passed away in 1998, but the track remained in the family as his son Robert took over and has been leading the way ever since.
“The racers viewed Clyde as one if their own,” said his son Robert. “They knew they could come to Clyde with any problem – legal or illegal – and he would listen and do what he could to help – legal or illegal. Clyde always treated everyone fairly. When not at the track Clyde could be found out on his land feeding the cows, wild hogs and turkeys. Many times Clyde took a racer out with him. Everywhere Clyde went, he made friends.
“If Clyde liked you, you had a friend for life. If Clyde didn’t like you, you’d wish God was against you.”
The Memorial race in his honor was started in 1999 and longtime track competitor David Rogers took the victory. He along with former winners Daniel Keene, Jr. (2013), Rich Clouser (2012) and Tim Russell (2009, 2006) will be in the field. Other drivers expected to be in the field include 2014 SLM World Series Champion Steve Wallace, two-time Red Eye 100 and Round Two Bright House winner Stephen Nasse, Round One Bright House winner Joe Boyd, 2013 Bright House Series Champion Travis Cope, 2013 Clyde Hart Pole winner Anthony Sergi and 2013 FUPS Champion Daniel Webster.
The Clyde Hart Memorial will be the fourth round of Bright House Challenge Series that finds Joe Boyd leading the standings chasing the season long title. Former Champions Cope and Rogers are already out of the hunt for the title. Racing gets underway at 7:30pm as pits open at 2pm.
– By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Operations Manager – Twitter: @ElginTraylor