Daytona has first time winner

Episode 350

February 14, 2021

It’s Daytona baby!

At HTF Motorsports World Headquarters, computer in hand, UpNorth Motorsports in cue and the Daytona 500 on Fox. Little did I know that a six-hour weather delay would mean another late night. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Happy Valentine’s Day. It happened again, lap 14 wreck took my picks out of the picture. My #1 pick, Ryan Blaney, is out of the race. My # 2 pick, Martin Truex, Jr. was able to continue many laps off the lead.

I will not reveal the finish in case some of you have recorded the race for more convenient viewing. 🙂 I will say one of my “picks” won.

Meanwhile at New Smyrna Speedway…

Kody Swanson wins Pro Stock class championship in his first ride at New Smyrna Speedway. Prior to the races last week, the Kingsburg, California native now living in Indianapolis, Indiana, had a scattering of one-off rides in stock cars. He is the 5-time USAC Silver Crown champ and knows his way around a racetrack.

Swanson made a connection with Team Platinum based in Dayton, Ohio, through Kevin Doran the owner of Doran Racing. Doran will be fielding a USAC Silver Crown car for Swanson at the asphalt races on the schedule as well as several prominent sprint car races in the Midwest this summer.

Keith Doran knew Marc Metz, the crew chief on Team Platinum, A meeting with Metz and team owner Myna Burba resulted in an agreement to compete in the Super Late Model and Pro Stock Late Model classes. Fatheadz Eyewear agreed to be the primary sponsor.

Swanson since I updated you in Episode 349, Swanson won in the Pro Late Model class on February 11th and needed to finish 8th or better in the finale on February 12 to earn the championship. He finished 7th winning the Pro Late Model Championship in his first visit.

Swanson also raced in the Super Late Models starting each race except the Thursday evening. Derek Griffith of New Hampshire successfully defended his 2020 title winning two races on the way.

Kody Swanson, Team Platinum members, and family celebrate winning the Pro Late Model class at the World Series of Asphalt 2021 at New Smyrna Speedway. (Kody Swanson photo)

Derek Griffith , Hudson, New Hampshire, successfully defended his 2020 title as Super Late Model Champion of the World Series of Asphalt.  (Derek Griffith photo)

Weedernation wins again

Wesley Weed, formerly from Livermore, Maine now residing in Concord, North Carolina, was the tire guru for several teams at the 2021 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway. I asked him how many teams he worked with.

In Super Late Models, “Weeder” worked with eleven teams including champion Derek Griffith. In the Pro Late Models he was the tire specialist for eight teams. He along with 2 helpers managed this number of teams the first weekend and a like number for weekend two.

“Weeder” graduated from Livermore Falls High School in 1982 and went to work in the racing industry in the mid 1980’s. His racing tire specialty company is called WEEDERNATION.

WEEDERNATION developed a good reputation.  When Winward Racing decided to move up from IMSA Pilot Challenge Series to the GTDaytona (GTD) class in IMSA beginning with their debut at the Rolex 24-Hours of Daytona, they hired tire specialist Weed to take care of the 36 sets of Michelin race tires allotted to the team for the 24 hour race.

Very few thought that the team would win the first race they entered in the endurance series. One pundit commented it would be like hitting a grand slam home run in your first at bat in the Major Leagues.

The team battled several teams, yet led most of the last part of the race. The #57 Mercedes AMG won by 16.329 seconds over the second place #75 Sun Energy Mercedes AMG.

Winward Racing Mercedes AMG team celebrates their Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona victory in their IMSA GTD debut. Maine native Wesley “Weeder” Weed was the tire specialist on the team. (Winward Racing photo)

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)





Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine