Justin Drawdy Ready to Attack at "Smyrna Speedweeks" in Florida Strong Run Ends Early in Pete Orr Memorial 100 FT. PIERCE, FL (February 7, 2005) --This week, short track drivers and teams from across the country are loading up and heading...
Justin Drawdy Ready to Attack at "Smyrna Speedweeks" in Florida
Strong Run Ends Early in Pete Orr Memorial 100
FT. PIERCE, FL (February 7, 2005) --This week, short track drivers and teams from across the country are loading up and heading towards Florida for nine nights of racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). It's all part of Florida Speedweeks and the 39th annual running of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. It might not take very long for some of the best short trackers from across the country to get acclimated to the track, but no matter how quickly they adapt, Justin Drawdy already has them beat.
Drawdy has a ton of laps logged on the lightning-fast, half-mile speedway, including a good run going in the Pete Orr Memorial 100 this past weekend. And he even shook down a "Tour-type" Modified at the track recently. All this before many of his competitors get the chance to set foot in the state of Florida.
And we all know, experience in racing can often equal success.
"Honestly, I don't see why we can't win a handful of races during Speedweeks," said Drawdy "I'm optimistic. We need a little bit of luck on our side and the races can be tough with the inversions. The fastest car might start ninth. But we should be in good shape."
This weekend's race at New Smyrna gave Drawdy's team something else to concern themselves with during Speedweeks as well.
"Usually, I think that we need to just keep the fenders on the car," said Drawdy. "Now I realize that we also need to keep all of the pieces on the car from falling off as well."
Drawdy was the fastest qualifier for the Pete Orr Memorial 100, but had to start in the middle of the pack after the field inversion. That was no problem. He was into the top five in no time. However, on lap 36, he pulled in with a problem that ended his night.
"Before the race even started, I felt that something wasn't right in the back of the car," said Drawdy. "It got worse and worse and finally I thought that the rear end was coming part. What we found out was pretty embarrassing. We didn't torque down the rear lugnuts before the race. We ended up losing one lugnut and three of the other ones had loosened up. There were all kinds of metal shavings and quite a bit of damage that it had done, so it ended our night."
The Pete Orr Memorial wasn't just another race for Drawdy. Orr, a Florida racing legend, was his crew chief before passing away in 2002. That made for an emotional race for Drawdy. What doubled that emotion was the fact that Drawdy's mother passed away six years ago on the same weekend as the event.
"This was a big night for me," said Drawdy. "I wanted to win so badly, but it didn't happen. Now I want to go to Speedweeks and win a few races for them."
Orr's inspiration makes it easier for Drawdy to get past the bad luck of the past weekend and focus on the next race ahead.
"He would have been frustrated over what happened, there is no doubt," said Drawdy. "He didn't like little mistakes. But he would have sat down with me and told me that I need to go on to the next race and not dwell on the past. He always told me that the next day after a race; you wake up and focus on going to the next track. That is what I'm going to do."
When Drawdy does hit the track at Speedweeks, he'll be in his familiar Super Late Model. The other big draw of the week is the "Tour-type" Modifieds. This past week Drawdy got the chance to make a few laps in one of those cars as well. The #14 Bear Motorsports team is working out of Drawdy's shop as they prepare for Speedweeks and they called on Drawdy to shake down one of their cars recently.
"I drove the car three times at New Smyrna," said Drawdy. "It was a lot of fun. Those cars have a lot of bite and I really liked driving it. You can see everything. On a Late Model, you need to guess where your tire is. In a Modified, you can actually see it."
Ever the racer, Drawdy hopes to turn some competitive laps in a Mod sometime during the nine nights of racing.
"Hopefully, I can hook up with someone this week and drive a race or two in one of these cars," said Drawdy. "I've gotten to be pretty good friends with Ted Christopher, so maybe he'll let me run one of his cars late in the week. I'd really enjoy that."