(Bridger Swiminer photo)

Night two of racing at New Smyrna Speedway looked fairly different than last evening’s previous slate of events. The start was hampered by some weather that had canceled most other racing events held in the Florida region during this time.

Some practice and qualifying sessions were in limbo and the Super Late Model field that finished off the night even reverted to last night’s result plus a six-car invert to line up the field. After the rain died down, as is tradition at New Smyrna Speedway, people with the proper wristbands went out and turned laps in their own personal vehicles to dry the high character track surface.

Travis Eddy was once againt he man to beat in the Florida Modifieds on night two of the World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway. (Bridger Swiminer photo)

The Florida Modifieds were the first to run on what had become a “green” racetrack following the rain. Again it was Travis Eddy that was the class of the field. Though it wasn’t quite a flag to flag raw display of power as it had been in the opener. Eddy did take the lead on lap 18 and checked out of the 35 lap feature. Eddy bested early leader Jeremy Symons in second, Wayne Parker third, Tim Moore fourth, and Bill Burpa fifth.

Kody Swanson’s car sits on jackstand in the New Smyrna Speedway pit area after rain nearly canceled the nights racing events. (Bridger Swiminer photo)

Pro Late Models were able to get their group qualifying effort in before mother nature’s influence dampened the racing surface. Jett Noland qualified on pole. The rest of the field was not too much of a threat to his multi-race winning craft. On lap 7, the Lavonia Michigan native and second-generation driver Hayden Sprague took his car to the garage area for a mechanical problem. A lap 15 Kevin Folan spin was the only time the yellow threading was displayed atop the flag stand for the 35 lap race. Noland won from the pole. Second was Kody Swanson, third Colt Hensley, in fourth was Hunter Wright and fifth place was Jerick Johnson.

Heather Hadley’s Sportsman entry needed two wreckers after a hard crash during the feature event on night two of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday, February 6, 2021. (Bridger Swiminer photo)

A local class called the Bucked Up Apparel Sportsman Division delivered a level of chaos that had yet to behold the confines of New Smyrna Speedway in 2021. The class had a lower car count than expected due to the attrition of the previous days of practice and racing. There was a moment so terrifying in nature to any competitor or fan of racing; Dave Werning was forced into the crossover gate on lap 43. The accident sent his hood to a treetop level of altitude. The gate swung onto a hot racetrack and luckily did not take out any cars.

Any longtime fan of short track racing will tell you that accidents similar to Dave Werner’s very freakish moment, ended with full-bodied stock cars looking like an open can of sardines. Luckily the builders and engineers of this gate did their homework and Werning was able to escape his heavily damaged vehicle under his own power. Bryan Kruczek would later use his vehicles’ nerf bars, which are mandatory for that class, to muscle ahead of night one winner Matthew Green’s number 44. The frontstretch celebration nearly turned to chaos as both crews, heavy with local grudges fresh on their minds, almost came to blows.

Both drivers were later disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct handing the Sportsman victory to Wayne Smith.

After a war of attrition from the previous class, the David Rogers 35 lap Super Late Model Feature was a clean affair. Derek Griffith had qualified 4th but had a spirited run to the front during an advantageous restart. What couldn’t be ignored was Jett Noland’s battle for fourth place with Jacob Goede. As the 12 of Griffith began to have the race in his grasp the battle for fourth and fifth was indeed riveting.

Derek Griffith dominated the Super Late Model portion of night two of the World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway. (Bridger Swiminer photo)

Noland ended up fifth but it was evident that he wasn’t worried about putting his car in precarious places for the sake of gaining position. Noland has put himself in a position to contend for the World Series of Asphalt points championship in both the Pro Late Model and Super Late Model divisions.

“We’re not worried about what everyone else is doing, we’re just here to run our race,” Noland said. “It’s different when you run these cars that all have very different levels of horsepower. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to do that this year.”

Night two was another night to remember at the New Smyrna Speedway. The tour modifieds will arrive for practice on Night three. Sunday night’s event plus The remainder of the World Series of Asphalt will be covered by Race22.com the Short Track Authority.

Cover photo by Bridger Swiminer.

Editors Note: This story was written before the news of track official Rusty Crews passing and race22 was not on hand during the scuffles that have been attributed to the incident. Click here to read about the incident.

New Smyrna Speedway Statement on Rusty Crews passing: 

Last night we lost our long time friend, Rusty Crews. While numerous sources have addressed the events and details concerning the event last night, we are still awaiting the final results of the investigation by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.   
What we can say with certainty is that the sudden loss of Rusty Crews has been devastating to drivers, their crews, fans of New Smyrna Speedway, and others throughout the racing community. 
Speedway owner Robert Hart reflected on the loss, “Rusty was a true friend, always looked out for others at the racetrack, and loved racing. I can’t describe how terrible this loss is.” Matching this sentiment, owner Jane Hart stated, “I can’t think of a time at New Smyrna Speedway without Crews.” 
Manager Rusty Marcus stated “This is an incredibly difficult time and during our employee meeting numerous friends of Crews stated that his desire would be to continue with the program and keep racing. While this is a tough time, we are going to move forward and honor his memory as a racing family.”
New Smyrna Speedway will continue to work with Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to make updates and statements as information becomes available. For now we offer our condolences and prayers to his companion Deniele, his son Clay, and the rest of the Crews family.