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Notebook: A Look Back at the 51st Annual New Smyrna World Series

February 27, 2017 • App, Archives, Region - Southeast, Top Stories

The 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway is in the books.  We had some thrilling battles, surprise winners, a couple of fights, and overall a great nine days of racing action at the fast half-mile that sits in the shadows of Daytona International Speedway.  Now that it’s over, it’s time to relax and unwind, but also time to take a look back at some of the stats that may have slipped by as the week wound down.

 

An Elite Club for Davis & Choquette: On the first night of the World Series of Asphalt of Stock Car racing Spencer Davis added his name to the history books as only the fourth driver on record to win in three different classes at the World Series.  Davis had won in Pro Trucks, and then later the Pro Late Model division.  This year he added the Super Late Models to his record at New Smyrna.  In all he has over 80 starts at the World Series.

 

Just a few nights later Jeff Choquette added to his Super Late Model win total on the final night of the World Series to mark his third victory in three different classes in the same week.  Choquette won three Pro Late Model races and the championship there and he also picked up a Florida Modified win along the way.  He became the fifth driver to win in three classes and the first to do it at one World Series.

 

All in the Family:  In 1977 Mike Eddy won four of the eight races to claim the Super Late Model championship at New 300x250 PFC 2017 JanSmyrna.  In all, Eddy won 13 races at New Smyrna in his career, but the championship in ’77 was his lone title.  Fast forward to 2017 and the Florida Modified title ends up in the hands of his son, Travis, who won three times to clinch his first Speedweeks title 40 years after his dads first.

 

The Eddy’s also became the third father-son champions at Speedweeks behind the Anderson’s of Dick and Wayne and the Russell’s of David and Tim.

 

Streaking: By just one point Ryan Preece added to his Speedweeks resume by winning the Tour-Type Modified title for the third year in a row.  Only Ted Christopher and Richie Evans have pulled off that feat.  In fact, Christopher won four straight from 1998-2001.   For the team that Preece drives for, the TS Haulers ride has now won the last four titles in the class.

 

Another First:  Jeff Choquette became the first driver to own championships in the Super Late Model and the Pro Late Model class.

 

Streaking II:  The Super Late Models have now gone 16 consecutive years without a repeat champion thanks to Harrison Burton getting his first after a solid week with two wins.  Burton had to out race former champions David Rogers, Ty Majeski and Jeff Choquette for the title.

 

Modern Day Leader:  Jeff Choquette is now among the modern day leaders in World Series wins with 20 across three classes.  We have seen very little of Choquette the last few years, and had we seen more of him, then he would likely have more in his win total.

 

Return to Glory:  One thing you can’t speak poorly about was the Tour-type Modifieds this year at the World Series.  In recent years the car count had been down, and the caliber of cars was also weak.  This year Preece, Ron Silk and Matt Hirschman were the headliners, but J.R Burtuccio and Tyler Rypkema scored the wins on the first two nights.  While some former speedweek winners like Chuck Hossfeld, Jimmy Blewett and Justin Bonsignore struggled a bit, we saw Jon McKennedy return after 10 years and post a pair of podium runs.  Nevertheless, the mods were in old form and the racing was top notch.  We just need a few more southern guys to come mix it up.

 

Streaking III:  Pro Late Models have only been around 11 years at the New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series. In those 11 years there have been 11 different champions.  The car count was down a bit this year, but the racing was tight right until the final lap when Matt Wallace and Jeff Choquette traded paint for the win on the final night.  The double feature idea could have produced more winners had it not been for rainouts.

 

It’s Been a Long Time: It took JR Bertuccio 14 years to return to victory lane in a Tour-type Modified race at New Smyrna. His first win came way back in 2003.  After countless starts and poor runs some might think he was snakebite.  He was close again to victory in 2015 when he had finished second and had a total of three podium finishes for the week.

 

Streaking IV:  It is hard to imagine that Stephen Nasse has gone 20 races without a win at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing.  It’s not been because of a lack of effort after he had an epic battle with Ty Majeski early in the week.  We would almost put money on the fact that he’ll come back one year and win three or four just because we pointed this out.

 

-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Contributor.  Photo Credit: Speed51.com

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