?Florida Mafia? to Defend Home Turf at 47th Annual Florida Governor?s Cup
After Erik Jones Came South and Won Florida Drivers Are Ready
With only 40 plus days left until the 47th annual running of the Florida Governor?s Cup 200, all eyes of the New Smyrna Speedway Super Late Model drivers, also known as ?The Florida Mafia?, are staring at the border, eagerly awaiting this year?s challengers. In 2011 it was 15 year old phenom, Michigan driver, Erik Jones who took the challenge and it paid off in a big way. Jones led all 200 laps in a flawless performance against a full field of seasoned drivers leaving racers and race fans alike stunned. It had been a 30 year streak for the ?Mafia? reigning supreme and defending their race. The last outsider to do it, in 1981, was fellow Michigan native Mike Eddy.
What is the draw to the Florida Governor?s Cup? It?s quite simple really. Of course there is prize money and a take-home trophy, but the true prize for winning this race is the pride and honor that comes with adding your name to the Al Keller Trophy. Commissioned in 1965 by then Governor Hayden Burns, the trophy commemorates Florida?s most historic race and adorns the names of those that have stood proud as Governor?s Cup Champions. Legendary drivers like Gary Balough, Robert Hamke, Ed Howe, Dick Trickle, Mike Eddy, Dick Anderson, David Rogers and Wayne Anderson are among the 29 that have accomplished the feat.
9-time NASCAR National Champion, the late Richie Evans, coined the phrase, ?If you can win at New Smyrna Speedway, you can win anywhere in the Country?. Over the last few years even more ?out-of-state? drivers have begun to return to the* high-banked half-mile each November to test their skills at what is considered one of the Country?s toughest half-mile ovals. More and more non-Mafia members have found recent success. In 2010 Ohio?s Jimmy Weller sat on the pole for the event alongside a car owned by former winner Robert Hamke with driver Ryan Lawler. Weller would dominate early, but the 200 lap distance on the 28? banks would prove too much and he dropped out with mechanical problems halfway through. When the dust settled it was Florida?s David Rogers, veteran of the NSS half-mile, who took the checkers to extend the streak of ?Mafia? drivers in Victory Lane. Nobody was prepared for what was to follow in 2011. Who would?ve thought that a 15 year old driver in just his second time behind the wheel of a Super Late Model would hold off Rogers, at his home track, to break the streak!
The Florida Governor?s Cup is more than just a race. It?s young versus old, big money versus garage teams and perhaps most notably, it?s the best drivers in the State of Florida defending their turf and the hallowed grounds of their home track against the best that dare to come in and try to steal the glory, the prestige and the title of Florida Governor?s Cup Champion.
Joining the Super Late Models for the two-day event will be the Pro Late Models who will run for 100 laps on Friday (11/16) along with the FASCAR Pro-Trucks 75 lap State Championship race. The 200 lap Governor?s Cup will headline Satruday (11/17) with a special 100 lap Open Wheel Modified feature to follow.
Entry Forms for all divisions are available online at www.NewSmyrnaSpeedway.org. Teams with oversized haulers (10? or taller) must reserve Pit Slab, free of charge, by calling Kim Brown at 386-427-4129.
Race fans can purchase advanced discounted tickets at all Central Florida area Walgreen?s stores beginning on October 26th through See Event Engineering, LLC. Advance tickets are $20.00 for 11/16 and $25.00 for 11/17. (Cost at the gate is $5.00 more.)
For those that can?t make it to the Speedway, we are pleased to welcome back Speed51.com as the Official Media Outlet of the Florida Governor?s Cup 200 with their live and in-depth Trackside Now coverage throughout the event. Fans can follow along with all the action on the track, as well as behind the scenes activities in the pit area.