New Smyrna World Series Notebook: Ben Dodge Honored By Track Owners And Staff; Luke Baldwin Tops 602 Mods 

New Smyrna Speedway owners, management and staff with Ben Dodge (holding plaque) during Thursday’s racing card (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Longtime World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing announcer Ben Dodge was honored by the track during Thursday night’s racing card. 

Dodge, the legend of northeast short track racing as an announcer, team owner and promoter, has been part of the World Series at New Smyrna Speedway for the last 44 years. 

New Smyrna Speedway general manager Rusty Marcus called Dodge: “A true classic, a true friend” before presenting him with a plaque from the track employees and track owners Robert and Jane Hart. 

“I came here as a young man, Robert’s dad Clyde took me the first day I was here, I was 13 years old,” Dodge said. “And he took me to see the cows down the street. And I said, at 13, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ But all those years, with all those great legendary people and all those special friends, there’s one family that always made me feel like home. 

“All of these people … they made me feel welcome. For those of you that don’t know, this past year I was stricken with stage four cancer, in the worst possible thing for an announcer, in my throat. They told me that I wouldn’t be able to ever do what I loved again, and it was to announce. But it was Robert Hart and Jane Hart and Rusty Marcus, who said ‘If you can, no matte what, please come and see us.’ That was my inspiration.” 

The plaque from the track called Dodge: “The voice, the storyteller and the pillar of speedweeks” 

Said Dodge: “Thank you, this is a night I will never forget.” 

Sixteen year old Luke Baldwin held off the challenges of Lee Sharpsteen and Trevor Catalano on the final lap to win the Grandpa Blewett 66 602 Modified feature. 

“I just had to keep pushing,” Baldwin said. “We kept swapping the lead back and forth, racing friendly, racing hard, it was a blast. I had to give it all I had at the end. The car was kind of falling out, but still fast.” 

It was the second consecutive 602 Modified feature win for Baldwin, who won on Tuesday. Baldwin is the son of Tour Type Modified feature owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. The victory clinched the 602 Modified World Series championship for Baldwin.

Sharpsteen was able to get by Catalano for second on the final lap. Catalano, who won the first two events of the week for the division, was third. 

Luke Baldwin celebrates victory in the 602 Modified Grandpa Blewett 66 Thursday at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Fifteen year old Katie Hettinger won the 35-lap Pro Late Model feature. She was the first female driver to win in the division at New Smyrna Speedway.

Ryan Luza was second and Carson Brown third. 

Katie Hettinger celebrates victory in the Pro Late Model feature Thursday at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing