It’s nine nights of racing that have made heroes and champions. It has helped turned young up and coming drivers into NASCAR stars. It has helped transform drivers from contenders into winners and winners into champions. The late Richie Evans said if you can win at New Smyrna Speedway you can win anywhere. He was one of the best to ever circle the track during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna. Who are those best? We at Speed51.com have taken all of the information that we could find over the years and now present you the top 51 drivers of the Smyrna World Series.
(Note: Some information is hard to come by so this list is a representation off the information that we could find.)
51 – Mark Martin – Super Late Models
He was a champion way back in 1978, however that year Martin used a model of consistency as he took the title with no victories. Martin went on to bigger things at the NASCAR level after winning three ASA National tour titles starting in 1978.
50 – Jimmy Cope – Super Late Models
With five wins and the 2002 Super Late Model championship Jimmy Cope makes the top 50. A regular at the track for many years, he posted wins in two seasons, four in 2000 and only one in his championship year of 2002. Cope won four Florida Governor’s Cups at New Smyrna, but only the one Speedweeks title.
The Northeast standout won three times in three different seasons and won the overall Tour-Type Modified championship in 1978. Bouchard is one of the few drivers that could clam that they topped Richie Evans during his era. In 1978 and 1979 he logged 14 top fives in 18 races.
48 – Bobby Sears – Limited Late Models
Sears won two Limited Late Model titles in 1995 and 1998. Limited Late Models were the under card to the Super Late Models for many seasons before becoming part of the Pro Late Models in 2012.
47 – Pete Hamilton – Super Late Models
Hamilton had lots of success in Florida having won a Daytona 500 and a Snowball Derby. He also took down a pair of Super Late Model titles at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Hamilton has only three wins on record, but we imagine that it’s more. Hamilton is one of the few drivers who can claim they have two Super Late Model titles at the Smyrna World Series.
46 – Scott Bishop – Trucks
Bishop won the titles in the Truck series in 2007 and 2008. He collected wins in three seasons of racing to go along with his championship. Bishop is one of the few to win multiple titles in the Truck division.
45 – Michael Burns – Trucks
With two-straight titles and wins in the last four starts in the division, Michael Burns is one of the best to recently compete in the Truck class. Burns also took a Truck win in 2013, however trucks will not be a part of the 2016 World Series.
44 – Bobby Gill – Super Late Models
Gill is one of the best drivers to run at New Smyrna, however at the World Series Gill never really found the success like he did in other events. Gill won a total of six races over the course of four seasons. In 1995 he won three times, but got beat out by Bruce Lawrence for the week long title.
43 – Butch Miller – Super Late Models
Another Super Late Model ace who raced and won at New Smyrna during Speedweeks, but never won a championship. 1985 was perhaps his best year with seven or eight races in the top five. He won twice that season, but came up second in points. Overall he won eight times in four seasons.
42 – Louie Mechalides – Super Late Models
The Northeast driver won the Super Late Model track championship in 2005. He also took wins in the Limited Late Model division. Very few drivers have won races in multiple classes at the World Series and Mechalides is one of them.
41 – Brad May – Limited Late Models
Looking at the record books Brad May has three Limited Late Model titles to his credit and he’s still adding to his World Series legacy. After titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999, May has won five times in the Pro Late Model ranks and is seeking another title in 2016.
40 – Lee Collins – Florida Modifieds
With 13 plus wins in the Florida/IMCA Modifieds, Lee Collins cracks the list after several years of success. Collins won four times in 2006, but he was not the champion that year. Championships were recorded in 2004 and 2007. Lee is just one of three drivers to win multiple championships in this class.
39 – Sam Russo – SK Modifieds
In 1990 and 1992 Sam Russo won the SK Modified title at Smyrna Speedweeks. For a few seasons the race was run as a part of the Tour-Type Mods before becoming its own race. It would take a few years before someone could win two titles outright. The win total for Russo is unknown as we only have two on record, but we assume there were more.
38 – Spencer Davis – SLM, PLM, Modifieds
This driver is still making his mark on New Smyrna after running for points in four classes before his 18th birthday. Davis won in Trucks and Pro Late Models in addition to racing Super Late Model and Modifieds. Davis took two wins in 2014 and won the Pro Late Model title that year.
37 – Drew Brannon – Pro Late Models
Although he never won a title at Speedweeks he had some of the more dominating performance. In 2009 he won three times in the Limited Late Model class. He fell short for the title after having finished second in 2007. In 2012 he was disqualified on opening night, but came back to win four races the rest of the week. He ended up fifth, but his four Pro Late Model wins is still a record.
36 – Eddie MacDonald – ACT Late Models
Sweeping the 2015 ACT events was enough to make MacDonald one of the better drivers to run at Smyrna Speedweeks. He also ran both races in 2011 and had two top 10’s so he’s been seventh or better in all of his starts at New Smyrna Speedway.
35 – Scott Reeves – Trucks
In 2010, 2011 and 2013 Scott Reeves won the Truck championship at New Smyrna Speedway. He only logged two wins during his run, but his ability to finish strong was enough make him a champion several times.
34 – Stephen Nasse – Super Late Models/Pro Late Models
Stephen Nasse was one of the upstart kids to win at Speedweeks at the age of 13. Nasse has five wins between Pro Late Models and Super Late Models. In 2014 he went toe-to-toe with Steve Wallace as the two swapped the wins each night. Nasser had one mulligan with a 15th on Friday. If he could ever shake the bad luck he would quickly be a champion.
33 – Tim Connolly – Tour-Type Modifieds
1995 was the year for Tim Connolly. Beating out Tom Baldwin, Steve Park and Ted Christopher for four wins, Connolly won the Speedweeks Tour-Type Modified title. He would never win again at Smyrna and our records don’t indicate how much more he came down and raced, but for one week he was the best of the best against the best.
32 – Geoff Bodine – Tour-Type Modifieds
Here is a trivia question answer for you. Name something Geoff Bodine didn’t do in a Modified. The answer is win the Speedweeks title. Despite having the most wins on two separate occasions, Bodine was never able to secure the overall title. His 10 career victories against Evans in the 70’s is impressive. In 1978 he had three wins and three second-place finishes and it wasn’t enough.
31 – Ryan Preece – Modifieds/Florida Modifieds
The chapters for Ryan Preece are still being written at New Smyrna. A four-time winner and champion a year ago, Preece also won a Florida Modified race in 2009. His recent championship season started with a disqualification, but he overcame that and came all the way back to win the title with four wins. He also won the Richie Evans Memorial 100 at the end of the week.
30 – Jimmy Spencer – Tour-Type Modifieds
The 1985 Modified Speedweeks champion won three times that season. Mr. Excitement returned for a title run in 1987 and again won three times, but Reggie Ruggiero would be the champion that year.
29 – Don Mallat – CASCAR
Mallat won two CASCAR titles in the 90’s after five victories at New Smyrna Speedway. CASCAR ran at New Smyrna for several year, but their fun history is a mystery. Mallet was the champion in 1990 and 1991.
28 – Tim Russell – Super Late Models
The son of David Russell, Tim is a four-time winner at Speedweeks and the 2011 Super Late Model champion. Tim has kept the family name racing and taken several drivers to victory lane in their driver development program. Russell does not race the World Series much anymore, but chances are another Super Late Model title could be in his future.
27 – David Russell – SLM/LLM
David Russell paved the way to keep the family name on the track for many years to come. Things started out with wins and a championship in the Thunder Car class. Russell won races in the Limited Late Model ranks at Speedweeks before moving up to Super Late Models. David then took home the 1996 Super Late Model title with two wins. He grabbed five wins the next year, but missed the championship. In all he had eight career wins in Super Late Models.
26 – Mark Malcuit – Super Late Models
The 1983 champion Mark Malcutt won three times during a speedweeks that feature Junior Hanley, Dick Trickle and Mike Eddy. When the dust settled Mark Malcut captured the championship which ended up being one of the biggest moments of his career.
25 – Maynard Troyer – Tour-Type Modifieds
He was the first Modified champion at New Smyrna way back in 1976. That first year Troyer beat out Richie Evans, and Fred Harbach for the firs title. Trooper would never again win at New Smyrna, but he will always have the title as the first champion.
24 – Kyle Benjamin – Super Late Models
What Kyle Benjamin did in just a few short years of racing is comparable to the crafty veterans of the 80’s. The 2012 Super Late Model Speedweeks champion won three races during that World Series. A year later he took home four more wins and finished with eight wins, 15 top fives and 18 top 10’s in 21 starts. An opening night disqualification in 2013 cost him a second straight title which would have made him the first back-to-back champion since the mid 90’s.
23 – Wayne Anderson – Super Late Models
A nine-time feature winner who won nine races over the course of six different World Series. Anderson, like his father before him, was a champion at Speedweeks and he was on top of the World Series twice in 2000 and 2003. Anderson won the 100-lap finale back in 2011.
22 – Tank Tucker – Florida Modified
Tank Tucker, a four-time Florida Modified champion during Speedweeks, lands inside the top 25 in the best of the best. Tucker’s wins have come over the course of 10 seasons with the most being four in 2008. He won titles in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011 which makes him the second most decorated driver in the class.
21 – Ron Silk – Tour-Type Modifieds/SK Modifieds
Between SK Modifieds and Tour-Type Modifieds Ron Silk has 14 total wins at Speedweeks. The former TS Haulers driver took the 2014 Modified title, as well as the 2010 and 2011 SK titles. Silk also won the 2013 Richie Evans 100. After taking a year off in 2015, Silk will be looking to add more to his legacy in 2016.
20 – Dick Anderson – Super Late Models
The 1991 Super Late Model champion Dick Anderson was a part of a father-son combination that have both taken Super Late Model titles at Speedweeks. In all Dick Anderson won nine times at Speedweeks, two of which came in his championship year. He won four times in 1994, but lost the title in the long run. Anderson won races in three different decades.
19 – Jason Boyd – Limited Late Models/Florida Modifieds
By our records Jason Boyd has over 30 wins in Limited Late Models including the 2002 season when he swept Speedweeks with nine wins in nine nights. That was one of three championships for Boyd who took titles in 2002, 2003 and 2007. Boyd also won races in the Florida Modifieds.
18 – Steve Park – Tour-Type Modifieds
In 1993 and 1995 Steve Park won the Richie Evans Memorial race at New Smyrna Speedway. The fellow new York driver did more than that at Speedweeks. Park won nine times in a five year span and captured titles in 1992 and 1993.
17 – Chuck Hossfeld – Tour-Type Modifieds
Over the years Chuck Hossfeld has become a regular at the Smyrna World Series. Hossfeld is a 12-time winner having taken three wins in two different seasons. Hossfeld was the champion in 2012 and the runner-up in 2011. As far as we can tell he’s not missed a race in at least six years.
16 – Joe Shear – Super Late Models
Over the course of his trips to the south Joe Shear won 11 times at New Smyrna Speedway in Super Late Model action. In 1988 he won three times which was the most in a single series for him. His lone championship season came that year as he was the top dog for Speedweeks.
15 – Greg Sacks – Tour-Type Modifieds
In only a two year span Greg Sacks won seven times in 16 races. The years were 1982 and 1983, and ’82 he was the champion. The following year Sacks lost the title to Richie Evans. Outside of these two years there is only records of him running again in 1984. Seven wins in 20 starts is impressive against the likes of Evans and Ruggiero.
14 – Jimmy Blewett – Tour-Type Modifieds/SK Modifieds
Twenty-seven times Jimmy Blewett was a winner at the World Series at New Smyrna. Along with those wins came four SK Modified titles and a tour title 2008. Blewett had eight wins in the Tour-Type Modified division with his biggest coming in 2006 and 2007 where he won back-to-back Richie Evans Memorial 100 races. Blewett is the only driver to pull off that feat.
13 – Rick Fuller – Tour-Type Modifieds
In a seven year span Rick Fuller won 16 races with four different car numbers at the Smyrna World Series. Fuller won the most races or tied for the most wins a total of three times. In 1991 he took home three wins, but his resume never logged a championship at New Smyrna.
12 – Jeff Choquette – Super Late Models
Jeff Choquette won nine of 15 races at Smyrna Speedweeks in 2008 and 2009. Choquette was the champion in 2008 and missed it the next year. In all Choquette won 15 total races in Super Late Models leaving him in the top five in Super Late Model wins at New Smyrna during Speedweeks. Choquette won races in five straight seasons from 2005 to 2009.
11 – Mike Eddy – Super Late Models
The 1977 Smyrna Speedweeks Super Late Model champion raced for several years at the Florida track. In all Eddy won 13 times over the course of six seasons from 1977 to 1984. In both 1977 and and 1982 he won four races. In ’82 Eddy lost the title to Dick Trickle.
10 – Jerry Symons – Florida Modifieds
With over 40 wins in Florida Modified action Jerry Symons has one of the highest win totals ever at Smyrna Speedweeks. Symons has won five titles in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2012. Symons won eight of nine races on his way to his title in 2002. He won at least three races five times during Speedweeks. In all he has wins in almost 20 different seasons at the World Series.
9 – Tom Baldwin – Tour-Type Modifieds
When it comes to winning titles, Tom Baldwin was one of the best at New Smyrna. Baldwin won titles in 1994, 1996 and 1997. Baldwin did it with consistent finishes as he only won three races in all of his championship years. Baldwin won 14 times at New Smyrna leaving him in the top five in wins in the division.
8 – Pete Orr – Super Late Model
Only two drivers have ever won three straight Speedweeks title in Super Late Model action, Dick Trickle and Pete Orr. The Orr run came from 1992 to 1994. His win total was not as spectacular as some others, but the magnitude of three titles is almost unheard of these days. In 1993 he won four of his eight races in a single week. Orr won features in four different years.
7 – Reggie Ruggiero – Modifed
After the tragic death of Richie Evans, Reggie Ruggiero was there to pick up his slack in the late 80’s. With Championships in 1986, 1987 and 1989 Reggie was just unbeatable during this run. During this four-year run he won 21 of his 28 races including seven of nine in 1986. Reggie also took in four more wins in 1990, but he came up short in his bid for another championship.
6 – Dick Trickle – Super Late Models
The record books show that 13 of his 17 wins came in the 1980’s, a time when “The White Knight” ruled the short track world. The Wisconsin driver won four titles (1982, 1984, 1985 and 1986) which is a Super Late Model record. Trickle also ran some Modified events, but he never tasted victory by our record, but still he was one of the best to ever run Speedweeks at New Smyrna.
5 – David Rogers – Super Late Models/Florida Modifieds
No one has more starts during Super Late Model action at Speedweeks than David Rogers. One can only guess that he’s probably started over 300 features at the World Series against the best there has even been. Rogers has 18 wins (according to our records) in Super Late Model action and titles in 1987, 1999 and 2001. Rogers also won a pair of Florida Modified races in 1998.
4 – Gary Balough – Super Late Models
A big winner in the 80’s and 90’s, Gary Balough is one the best when it comes to racing in February. Balough won five races in 1980 and 1992. Despite those win totals he was a champion years earlier in 1971. Balough won 21 times, which is the second most in Super Late Model action. In recent years Balough has been back at the track helping others seek his level of success.
3 – Ted Christopher – Tour-Type Modifieds/Super Late Models
“TC” owns records that will never be matched when it comes to racing at New Smyrna Speedway. With 50 plus wins counting the SK events, Christopher is one of the most decorated drivers to ever run the World Series. Christopher won a total of 10 titles between the Tour-Type Modified and SK Modified divisions. Christopher won in both Super Late Models and the Modified division on the same night, making him the only driver to do so. Christopher had streaks of three straight titles and four straight titles over the course of his career at New Smyrn. Christopher is also the only five-time winner of the Richie Evans Memorial during the World Series.
2 – Junior Hanley – Super Late Models/Tour-Type Modifieds
The only thing holding back Junior Hanley back from the number one spot is the fact he did his work over three decades. Hanley took home 50 wins on record with 47 in Super Late Model and three more in the Modified ranks. Hanley won three titles in the 80’s and 90’s. In 1990 and 1991 Hanley won 14 of the 17 races, a feat that may never be duplicated. Hanley may not be racing anymore, but his reach is still felt at Speedweeks as many teams come with notes, setups and information from the Canadian legend.
1 – Richie Evans – Tour-Type Modifieds
There was no one better when it came to racing at the World Series at New Smyrna. Evans was a six-time champion and won 39 times, an average of about four wins a season. Evans won three titles in a row and five of six at one point. In 1984 he won six of the seven races and in 1979 he won seven of nine events. Others have won more races at the World Series, but Evans did it in a short run and had it not been for his passing his numbers could have been doubled what they ended up.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: NASCAR Home Tracks Twitter