NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida (January 5, 2020) — The 2020 Late Model racing season began in Central Florida on Saturday with the 34th running of the Red Eye 50/50 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach. In its second year under the 50/50 format, the event once again featured both Super and Pro Late Models at the storied NASCAR Home Track.
After coming up one spot short in last year’s Super Late Model feature, division Champion Brad May was able to handley take the win this year, defeating a strong contender in Jett Noland in the process.
This win comes off the heels of a less than stellar performance by May in December’s Snowball Derby in Pensacola. There, May failed to qualify in time trials, then backed out of the last chance qualifier, just missing a chaotic pile up that preserved his racecar, making it available for the Red Eye.
“We tried a whole lot of new things in Pensacola,” said May. “I’m glad we backed off in the last chance race because on the next restart they piled up in turn one and we would’ve been in it…. We’ve put the old setup back in the car and it’s as fast as it was last year.”
May started in seventh place in Super Late Model 50 lapper after qualifying second in time trials. The fastest qualifier was Anthony Sergi, and the invert saw the top eight drivers swap, putting Kyle Sieg on the pole for the feature. After the invert, David Rogers started on the outside pole, and led the first handful of laps before May made his way to the front on lap ten.
May had to defend his lead against charges by Jett Noland on two separate restarts, but one in the lead after the final restart was able to open up a two second gap to Noland en route to the win.
May looked at this weekend as a test for the upcoming World Series of Stock Racing during Speedweeks in February. He finished second in Super Late Model points during last year’s World Series, one spot behind Bubba Pollard.
“This is a test for Speedweeks, definitely,” said May. “Fifty laps of hard racing, a chance to really see what the car does when you run it hard… it’s definitely a good way to start Speedweeks, knowing how good the car is handling right now. We can try to be consistent again maybe this year be one spot higher.”
Jett Noland may have come up short in the Super Late Model feature, but did not leave the speedway empty handed, having won the 50 lap Pro Late Model feature earlier in the evening.
Noland was fast all night in both classes, and inherited the lead after Jamie Skinner had a part failure in the motor of his machine, bringing his night to a premature end.
Skinner told PixelatedSPEED, “I started to see the car fill with smoke and could tell something was wrong… it looks like we blew a head gasket. The car was really good up until that point, my guys did a great job. We’ll be back for the World Series.”
After Skinner’s failure, Noland cruised to the victory, finishing ahead of Skinner’s teammate Hayden Sprague.
Red Eye Super Late Model Feature Results:
- Brad May
- Jett Noland
- Daniel Dye
- Derek Griffith
- Anthony Sergi
- Kyle Sieg
- David Rogers
- Brad Bowman
- Doug Elliot
- Anthony Cataldi
- John Gerstner
- Vincent Staggs
- Harold Crooms
- Don Mahaffey
- Billy Mowery
- Daniel Keene Jr.
Red Eye Pro Late Model Feature Results:
- Jett Noland
- Hayden Sprague
- Colin Allman
- Jerry Artuso
- Ricky Moxley
- Chuck Tuck
- Dalton Smith
- Christian Rose
- Jamie Skinner
- Chris Harvey
- David LeBeau
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
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