Sorry to take so long… dealing with some car issues after my Olds was totaled last week…
GEORGIA DRIVERS UNSTOPPABLE AT NEW SMYRNA SPEEDWAY IN RED EYE 100 & ZACK
The first race of the new year at New Smyrna Speedway saw a nice field of
cars, warm weather, and big wins for a pair of drivers hailing from the State
Twenty-five cars were on hand for the first Super Late Model race of the year,
the traditional Red Eye 100. North Carolina driver William Byron crashed his
Jeff Fultz-prepared car in practice Friday night leaving 24 machines to take
time Saturday. Qualifying was delayed just over an hour by a brief rain
shower that passed over the track just as time trials were set to begin. The
track was dried and no more precipitation fell the remainder of the evening.
Red Eye 100 qualifying was as close as it could get with Daniel Keene, Jr.
using his Jacob Warren-built engine to top the field with a lap of 17.641
seconds, just one-one-thousandth of a second quicker than the lap of 17.642
set by Senoia, GA visitor Bubba Pollard. Young Dawsonville, GA leadfoot
Spencer Davis was third quick at 17.658 followed by defending race champion
Travis Cope and Stephen Nasse. Keene pulled an eight for the inversion
placing Lake Mary driver Bobby Good on the pole flanked by New Hampshire’s
Good grabbed the advantage on the start and began to pull away to a sizable
lead over Griffith while Pollard charged quickly up to third spot by lap
eight. The first caution came out on lap 33 as Kevyn Terry spun his mount in
turn four with no damage. Good continued to set the pace following the
restart as the race remained under green flag conditions. At half way it was
Good leading Griffith, Pollard, Davis, Nasse, Keene, Joe Boyd, Anthony Campi,
Cope and Anthony Sergi. All cars that started with the exception of Michael
Lira, who dropped out on lap 43, were still running.
After working very hard to get by Griffith, Pollard finally made the pass on
Griffith to move into second on lap 67. The second caution flew on lap 77 as
Brad Bowman went for a spin in turn one. On the restart, fifth-running Nasse
got loose and nearly collected the inside retaining wall. Nasse recovered but
was now all the way back in 13th place.
Pollard began to pressure Good for the lead and made a low side pass stick on
lap 83 to gain the advantage. Rich Clouser hit the turn two wall for the
race’s final yellow flag but Pollard was strong on the restart and he led the
remaining distance leading Good across the stripe by 1.4 seconds.
Pollard was very happy in victory lane and indicated that the car he brought
was the same one he used in the Governor’s Cup race although the results at
that event were much less than he expected. He complimented his crew on
making the changes necessary to make the car a front runner this weekend.
Good stated he should change his car number from 27 to 2 after having back to
back second place runs in the Governor’s Cup and the Red Eye. He was still
happy with his runner-up finish and stated he’ll be back to try and win the
Pete Orr Memorial on January 24th.
Keene drove a steady race to claim third spot in a car retro-painted to look
like the car his father won the Red Eye with back in 1986. Chad Pierce came
from 11th on the starting grid to take fourth while Davis held steady to claim
fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Boyd, Campi, Griffith, Sergi and Nasse.
Spencer Davis was one of four drivers doing double duty, running both the Red
Eye 100 and the 50-lap Pro Late Model Zack Donatti Memorial run in honor of
the former track champion who lost his life in a construction accident in June
2014. The four: Davis, Michael Lira, Anthony Sergi and Rich Clouser,
qualified 1-2-3-4 for the race with Davis’s lap of 18.098 seconds topping
Lira’s lap of 18.144.
The top three would be inverted for the start placing third-quick Sergi on the
pole but it was outside pole sitter Lira who grabbed the early lead. Lira’s
run at the front would only last seven laps as Davis stormed by Sergi for
second on lap five and moved into the lead just a pair of laps later. Davis
snared the top spot just in time to collect $500 put up by racer Shyanne
Mathers to the leader of lap nine, in honor of Donatti’s number that he ran on
his cars - 9z.
The first caution of the event came when Blake Cejner spun in turn four.
Cejner was making his first-ever start in a Pro Late car driving for Lira
Motorsports. On the restart, Sergi was tapped into a spin by Sheldon Creed in
turn two and before the dust settled the incident collected the cars of
Clouser, Cody Blair, Jeff White and Noah Cornman. All continued after repairs
with the exception of Clouser whose car was towed from the speedway. Clouser
had been the only one of the top four in time trials to accept the challenge
from the ZDR foundation for an extra $500 for starting at the rear of the
field and winning.
Davis continued to lead with ease and just one more caution flag flew, on lap
38, when White spun his car backwards into the turn one wall doing
considerable damage. White was making his first Pro Late start after racing
in the Mini Stock class.
Davis pulled away on the restart and took the checker over four-and-a-half
seconds ahead of Larry Blount. Blair came back to take the show position with
Sergi fourth and Scott Reeves fifth. Rounding out the finishers were Chuck
Tuck, Creed, Cejner, Lira, White, Clouser and Cornman.
The best race of the night was in the Super Stocks where Justin Reynolds and
Jarrett Korpi battled side by side nearly the entire distance. The 25-lap run
was slowed just once by a lap two spin by J. T. Tippins. Reynolds led every
lap but Korpi would pull even with him several times and made a final charge
off turn four that came up just a half-nose short. Both drivers exited their
cars in victory lane to the cheers of the fans and complimented each other on
an outstanding, clean race.
Garrett Hill claimed third spot in front of Bobby Holley and Preston Hunt.
Justin Spears came from last on the starting grid to run sixth trailed by
Russell Perdue, Gino Tuminello, Mike Amato and Dale Sorensen. Rounding out
the finishers were Mike Dahm, Ernie Stickle, Tippins, Ed Barber and George
Reid Christiensen took the lead from Dan Webb on lap 16 and went on to win the
Strictly Stock feature driving a Honda. Webb took second followed by Aaron
Overman, early leader Warren Howie and Justin Higdon.
OFFICIAL RED EYE 100 FINISH:
- Bubba Pollard, Senoia, GA #26P
- Bobby Good, Lake Mary #27
- Daniel Keene, Jr., Weeki Wachee #5K
- Chad Pierce, Orlando #57C
- Spencer Davis, Dawsonville, GA #129
- Joe Boyd, Riverview #5
- Anthony Campi, Sarasota #81
- Derek Griffith, Nashua, NH #12D
- Anthony Sergi, Geneva #20
- Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park #51
- Clay Jones, Kenley, NC #101
- Gus Dean, Bluffton, SC #56
- Rich Clouser, Deland #9C
- Michael Atwell, Naples #51X
- David Rogers, Orlando #11
- David Green, Ft. Pierce #12G
- Matt Craig, Kannapolis, NC #54
- Joey Coulter IV, Mooresville, NC #2
- Jerry Artuso, Sault St. Marie, ON #5A
- Kevyn Terry, Citra #24
- Anthony Cataldi, Umatilla #00
- Travis Cope, Weeki Wachee #26C
- Brad Bowman, Clearwater #2B
- Michael Lira, Port Orange #57
- Red Eye 100 winner Bubba Pollard
- Zack Donatti Memorial winner Spencer Davis
- Close finish in the Super Stocks
- Daniel Keene, Jr.'s retro paint job
- Spencer Davis at speed
all photos by Speed51