The Russell family has had lots of success at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) over the years. David Russell won countless races back in the day and more as a car owner with the late Pete Orr behind the wheel. In more recent years, David’s son Tim Russell has become the most dominating driver on the East Coast of Florida with several championships over the years, including the 2011 United Florida Promoters Series title.
The Championship capped off a season that crossed off every major Florida East Coast win for the younger Russell. Earlier in the 2011 season, he won the Speedweeks Super Late Model title and then followed it up with his first Pete Orr Memorial win – a win that was even more meaningful given the family’s relationship with Orr.
Now Russell is getting ready to start another calendar year with perhaps another trophy at the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna this Saturday. Russell won the race back in 2009 and was close last year after a great battle with youngster Stephen Nasse. David Russell won the race back in 1996, making them the only father-son winners with the history that can be found.
“It’s pretty cool to win some of the races that my dad won a few years back,” said Tim Russell. “I know he won the Red Eye in the past and I have done the same and maybe someday my son, Tanner can win some of these races as well.”
It will be a few more years before Tanner can reach the pedals, but plenty of other drivers have been pushing the gas pedals in their Super Late Models at New Smyrna lately, making the track anything but cold this winter.
“There have been a few teams doing some testing on it and we have not had much rain since the last race. The track should have a good amount of rubber on it for this weekend’s upcoming event,” added Russell.
Another test that can make things different is the temperatures in the early part of January. Florida does have a cold season, but the forecast for overnight lows in the 50’s will not be as much of an impact as in years past, but it’s still out of normal range for the east coast Florida track.
“Running in January finds us racing with more grip on the track than any other time of year. It’s not hot and slick like most times with the Florida weather. It’s still the same old New Smyrna Speedway. It’s tight and tricky to get around. The track is constantly changing and you just have to keep making adjustments to keep things going.”
There will be an open practice for drivers wishing to test on Friday, January 6th. Pit gates will open at 5pm and practice will go from 6pm to 10pm. On Saturday, January 7th the pits will open at 9am and practice will get underway at 1pm. Qualifying is at 5pm and racing is at 7:30pm. Check out NewSmyrnaSpeedway.org for more information.
Rule Change: "The following changes will be in place for the Red-Eye 100 for the Super Late Models this Saturday at New Smyrna Speedway. The following changes have been made as a result of dyno testing, the Florida SPEC motor will run a 1" Carburetor Spacer, 750 cfm Carburetor and 7600rpm Chip. All additional rules for this weekend’s race are posted on the New Smyrna Speedway website at www.NewSmyrnaSpeedwa.org
Entries: Former winners David Rogers, Rich Clouser, and Tim Russell highlight the list that also includes Ben Kennedy, Jeff Scofield, Matt Tifft, Bobby Good, Todd Allen, Anthony Sergi, Scott Heckert and John Hunter Nemechek highlight the early entry list.
Champ Out: Stephen Nasse will sit this weekend race out after winning the title in 2012. Nasse plans to travel and run some more SLM races outside the region.
Pro’s Ready to Rumble: The new Pro Late Model class (combination of Crate Late Models and Limited Late Models) will get their first test this weekend in a 25 lap tune. The newly-created division will have five 100-lap events this year, including a Friday night show before the Governor’s Cup. That should draw the attention of two-car teams later this Fall.
On the Horizon: This event is the build up to the Pete Orr Orange Blossom 100 which will be run on February 11th, just days before the 46th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Speed51.com will be present again at these events as we get 2012 off to a good start.