WALLACE BEATS RAIN AND RIVALS FOR CLYDE HART MEMORIAL
WIN AT NEW SMYRNA SPEEDWAY
7-4-2014 New Smyrna Speedway
The weather was the big factor Thursday evening at New Smyrna Speedway but the
13th Annual Clyde Hart Memorial race for the Brighthouse Challenge Series
Super Late Models was run the full distance in front of a nice crowd.
A hot, steamy afternoon was interrupted by a cooling rain shower just after
practice was concluded that dropped the air temperature by around 20 degrees.
The track had so much heat in it that it practically dried itself and time
trials began only a few minutes late. The Open Modifieds hit the track first
for qualifying with Jerry "The Hammer" Symons quickest at 18.605 seconds,
easily topping the 18.854 Ricky Moxley ran as second quick time.
The Super Late Models saw some very close qualifying times but it was Bobby
Good out-timing the field with a lap of 17.464 seconds, just a tick of the
watch faster than Travis Cope's 17.493 lap. Daniel Keene, Jr., T. J. Duke and
Rich Clouser were third through fifth quick.
Good pulled an eight pill inverting the top four rows for the start of the
Hart Memorial. That placed Stephen Nasse, the Brighthouse winner here in
April, on the pole alongside Steven Wallace, the 2014 World Series of Asphalt
SLM champion. Wallace was lucky to even be at the track after a hard crash
late in Wednesday night practice nearly destroyed his car. Local driver Jerry
Symons came to the rescue and made room for Wallace's car in his shop where
both crews thrashed on the wounded machine all night and much of the day, just
making it to the track before practice with the car ready to go.
Following pre-race ceremonies it was time to go racing. Nasse wasted little
time in showing the field the fast way around the high-banked half mile as he
pulled steadily away from second-running Wallace as the race ran green for the
first 32 circuits before a three car tangle in turn two involving David Green,
Jake Perkins and Ray Black, Jr. Three laps later George Gorham, Jr. and Chris
Fontaine got together in turn one to bring out the second yellow flag.
Nasses continued to lead after the restart but the fans were beginning to turn
their attention to David Rogers who took fourth spot from Rich Clouser on lap
41 and seemed to have the fastest car on the track after coming from his tenth
starting position. Lap 43 saw fast qualifier Good slow suddenly and head to
the pits with something obviously amiss on the right front of his machine.
After a quick check, Good's night was over as his crew pushed the car back to
At the half-way mark it was Nasse leading Daniel Keene, Jr., Wallace, Rogers,
T. J. Duke, Joe Boyd, Clouser, Anthony Sergi, Perkins and Travis Cope, who had
pitted under the lap 35 caution for adjustments. Former Hart Memorial winner
Tim Russell slowed on lap 61 and headed pit side, out of brakes. What fans
did not know was that the leader Nasse was also losing his brakes as well.
Going into turn one on lap 77, Nasse lost control while trying to lap Johanna
Long and spun backwards into the wall. Although not needing assistance from a
wrecker, Nasse's car was shortened up considerably and he was done for the
night. Nasse blamed himself for the incident saying he simply "lost it" while
trying to lap Long's car.
On the restart, Wallace drove into the lead as Keene's car began to fade just
a bit. Rogers quickly drove into second spot and dogged Wallace the remaining
distance but could never get close enough to mount a serious challenge.
Wallace took the checker about two car lengths in front of Rogers. T. J. Duke
crossed the stripe in third after a great late-race charge but was
disqualified in tech later for too much left side weight. That moved Keene to
third in the final running order ahead of Cope who had a great run after
pitting earlier. Joe Boyd added to his Brighthouse Challenge point lead with
a strong fifth place run after starting 14th.
Perkins, Clouser, Ray Black, Jr., Fontaine and Anthony Sergi rounded out the
top ten. Daniel Webster, Michael Atwell, Jesse Dutilly and George Gorham, Jr.
also completed all 100 laps and placed 11th through 15th. Johanna Long was
the last car running after a race-long struggle, one lap down in 16th.
Rounding out the finishing field were Nasse, Russell, David Green, Good,
Dakotah Stephens and Mario Maresca. Michael Lira was unable to start.
Both the Open Modified and Mini Stock feature races were cut short by rain.
The Mini Stocks ran first and it was pole sitter David Russell getting the
jump on the field - too much of a jump - as he was black-flagged for jumping
the initial start and had to come down pit road for a pass-through penalty
that dropped him well back of new leader Brad Blanton. Jeff White spun on lap
six closing up the field and giving Russell the yellow flag he needed to catch
Pat Wells got the measure of Blanton on the restart and began to pull away
while Russell got back up to third. Reid Christiensen hit the wall coming off
turn four on lap 20 to bring out the second caution of the event. As his car
was brought back to the pits a light rain began to fall. With the rain
continuing, track officials decided to call the race complete at 20 laps with
Wells taking his third win of the year and second in a row. Blanton was
second trailed by Russell while White came back from his earlier spin to claim
fourth. Daniel Brown was fifth followed by Mark Broat, Michael Seay and
Christiensen. Tyler Simpson was unable to start.
Track crews kept vehicles on the track during the persistent drizzle in hopes
of getting the scheduled 50-lap Modified race in the books. Eventually the
rain quit and the track was dried after about a half-hour.
Alan Bruns led the opening four laps of the Modified race but Jerry Symons was
strong as usual and took over the lead on the fifth circuit just before Art
Kunzeman spun in turn one. Symons led easily on the restart only to see the
rain return just after the crossed-flags signal for half way. With 28 laps in
the books, the drivers and spotters agreed to call the race complete at that
Symons took his second win of the year ahead of Josh Todd, Bruns and Ricky
Moxley. Matt Wheeler was fifth trailed by Junior Beckner, Arnold Mills,
Kunzeman, Chris Harvey, Robert Glover, George Dahm and Mike Dahm. Kurt Jett
and Robert Deal did not start.
The Strictly Stock feature fell victim to the rain.