The theme of upset winners in the Tour-type Modified division during the 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing continued Tuesday night at New Smyrna Speedway. New York racer Tyler Rypkema led all 35 laps of the night’s caution-free race to score his first career Speedweeks victory.
After breaking a rear end and transmission on Monday, Rypkema rebounded during Tuesday’s qualifying with the eighth quickest lap. With the help of an eight-car inversion, he found his No. 32 starting from the pole.
Rypkema told Speed51.com powered by JEGS before the race that he wanted to make the most of the opportunity. After the race, he talked about the original plan coming into the race.
“I wanted to make the most of it, bring the car home in one piece. I figured we had a pretty good piece for the feature; I wasn’t sure how long it’d last, but the guys did a heck of a job of setting up the car and Don Hanbury back in New York also did a great job at getting this car to run good,” Rypkema commented.
It is the first win for Rypkema in a Tour-type Modified race, and he was quick to declare it the biggest win of his career.
“Absolutely. It’s only a 35 lapper, but you come down here against the best in the business; you got some of the best of the Northeast that are coming down here to race day after day,” Rypkema stated. “To be a low budget team out of New York with just a couple of cars, it’s really cool to beat the best of them.”
Rypkema had to race hard for the win during the final couple of laps with fellow New Yorker Jimmy Zacharias unleashing all 600 horses late in the race. While Zacharias thought he might have waited a bit too long, he felt that passing Rypkema would’ve been quite the task.
“I did wait a little too long, after last night I didn’t want to burn the stuff up too early,” Zacharias explained. “It’s still only a 35 lapper but you got to pace yourself, you don’t know when a caution is going to fall, when it’s going to happen. Once I decided to really charge at him the last eight laps, I ran him right back down and was too tight. Last night I was too free and we tightened it up a little bit, just to have it for the long run like that if we didn’t get a yellow. We just stayed tight and didn’t have enough to get underneath him.”
Although Zacharias was closing the gap, Rypkema felt he still had a little bit in reserve.
“I still think I could’ve turned it up a little. I knew coming into this race you can’t go as hard as you can the entire race, you’ll still wear yourself out,” he explained. “I had conserved enough, my spotter told me I had two car lengths and to pick it up a little bit to maintain the gap. Throughout the race he was creating a gap between me, so I was just kind of playing it by ear.”
After the race Rypkema and Zacharias shared a moment, taking a picture together in victory lane. The two share a family-like relationship after years of racing each other in New York state, including the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour, which Rypkema felt was well represented on the night.
“It’s really cool, it shows that Joe Skotniki has one awesome tour, he’s doing a great job with it. We got great competition there and ten guys that can always win a race.”
Rypkema and Zacharias pulled away from the rest of the 26-car field with hard charges by Jon McKennedy and Ryan Preece only bringing them as far as third and fourth. Fast qualifier Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top five.
The Tour-type Modifieds return Wednesday night for the 76-Lap John Blewett III Memorial.
On-demand coverage of Tuesday’s race can be found by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Progressive Racing Engines.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
Tour-type Modified Night #5 Official Results
|23||73||Paul Hartwig, Jr.|