Launcher: Craig Lutz Wins On Opening Night For Tour Type Mods For Second Straight Year At New Smyrna World Series

Craig Lutz celebrates victory following the Tour Type Modified feature Monday at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Last year on opening night for the Tour Type Modified division at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway it was Craig Lutz outlasting the field in a destructive marathon event.

Monday it was the same old story, just with less destruction.

Lutz led every lap and held off Jimmy Blewett on the final circuit to win the 50-lap Tour Type Modified division opener Monday at New Smyrna.

Unlike last year’s 90 minute debacle on opening night, this year’s opener saw just three cautions in an event that took just over 30 minutes.

It was the third career World Series victory overall for Lutz, of Miller Place, N.Y.

“My guys gave me an awesome car,” Lutz said. “I can’t thank Danny Watts, Russell Goodale, the whole team that’s down here. This is a big week.”

Blewett, of Howell, N.J., was second and Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. third.

Lutz qualified seventh in time trials and got the pole when the top-seven qualifiers were inverted for the start. The first caution of the race flew on lap two and set up for a long green flag run that saw Lutz check out from the field.

“We had a big lead so I was just trying to maintain,” Lutz ssaid. “Didn’t know if a caution would come out or not.”

The caution flew on lap 46 with Lutz leading, Ronnie Williams in second, Ron Silk in third and Jimmy Blewett in fourth. On the restart Blewett went to second past Williams and looked to be making a diving move under Lutz down the backstretch before caution flew once again.

“I was free up until that [second caution],” Blewett said. “So I said ‘I’ve got nothing really left to lose so let me just bury this brake adjuster one way and if it works it works.’ And it did, it worked out. I knew when we had the restart we were going to have something for them once I realized what was going on with the brake issue there. I had him off of [turn two] down the backstretch and then the caution came out.”

On the next restart Blewett moved to second to past Williams and stalked Lutz over the closing laps. Blewett got to the outside on the final lap, but had no lane to get around the Lutz.

Emerling’s third place secured the podium finishers exactly the way the three drivers started the event.

“Not a bad first night for us,” Emerling said. “We lacked a little bit right at the beginning. We were just kind of biding our time there to save a little toward the end there.”

Ron Silk of Norwalk was fourth. Teddy Hodgdon IV of Danbury, making his New Smyrna Speedway debut, was fifth.

Williams, Eddie McCarthy, Marcello Rufrano, Brian Robie and Chris Young rounded out the top-10 respectively.

Matt Hirschman, who won the pole for the event, ended up 12th.


  1. I suppose you could say that was not a very eventful race but there is always something fun to watch. Nice camera work showing Hirschman struggling to get around Emerling and being frustrated time after time. Was there a little smoke coming from the 60 before it faded to 12th?
    Russell Goodale (46) didn’t retire he’s right there helping the Watts team become a real contender.
    Kevin Stuart couldn’t step away completely either.

  2. No Eric Goodale last night??

  3. Hirschman had a tire going down.

  4. What happened to Preece in the SLM race?

    What happened to Hirschman?

    Good Modified racing. Lutz had a great run. Good to see things get mixed up a bit. The end of the week should be interesting.

  5. darealgoodfella,
    Apparently Preece had brake issues. Hearing Hirschman had a tire going down.

  6. Probably had issues with those valve stem caps. 😝🙃😑😖

  7. The 58 went home and 79 as well. That’s good news for the NWMT. Conserving their resources for the grind.

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