Tour-type Modifieds will compete for the first time Monday night at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). While some teams quickly got up to speed before the evening’s feature race, others faced a hurdle right off the bat.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece jumped to the top of the charts in the closing minutes of practice, with a time of 17.441 seconds around the Florida half-mile.
The three-time World Series Tour-type Modified champion was pleased with his car’s speed off the trailer, but was more focused on making sure the car was ready for 50 laps tonight.
“The car is fast, so that’s a good thing,” Preece told Speed51. “It’s got some speed in it, but anyone can go fast for three laps. We’re just going to make sure we have the longevity in the car for tonight, which I think we do, so we can start the week off with a win.”
Another contender who had a strong practice session was Matt Hirschman, who was fifth-fastest on the charts. Hirschman is familiar with what it takes to win at New Smyrna, with a World Series title of his own in 2018 and three wins last year.
Hirschman isn’t putting much stock in practice results, knowing the true test will come tonight.
“We didn’t have too many fast laps that would have been as fast as what guys were running, but it was solid and consistent,” said Hirschman. “Tonight is the true test. We’ll see what we’ve got tonight, that’s what gives you a good indication of whether or not you’re in the ballpark.”
Hirschman believes qualifying will be very important for this evening’s race. 29 cars took time in practice, but Hirschman noted many in the field have not turned many laps at New Smyrna.
“Qualifying is going to be important because I know we’re among the group of contenders to win. That group is probably in the six to eight range. There’s a lot of inexperienced drivers at New Smyrna in the field. I would like to be in the group of guys we’re going to contend with, and that starts with qualifying.”
While some were settling in for tonight’s racing, Jimmy Blewett and his team will have a thrash ahead of them to participate in the evening. Blewett suffered an engine failure during the practice session, which put the team quickly to work on swapping powerplants.
“I don’t know what happened, but it wasn’t good,” said Blewett. “We lost an engine. We have a good group of guys here and a backup motor in the trailer. We’re just going to have to put our heads down, march forward here, and get this thing changed as fast as possible.”
Race fans can follow Trackside Now, presented by PFC Brakes, for updates throughout Monday night’s proceedings at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
Fans can also visit Speedweeks Central for the latest videos, news and more from Florida Speedweeks.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo