SAMSULA, FLORIDA - Mike Fritts powered his way to "Victory Lane" winning the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series Clyde Hart Memorial 125 Saturday night on New Smyrna Speedway. The race was also a Little Tree Road to Charlotte preliminary ...
SAMSULA, FLORIDA - Mike Fritts powered his way to "Victory Lane" winning the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series Clyde Hart Memorial 125 Saturday night on New Smyrna Speedway.
The race was also a Little Tree Road to Charlotte preliminary event.
"This is an important race," said Fritts. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Clyde Hart and his son Robert and I have a lot of respect for them. He's (Robert) is doing a good job keeping the track going. I miss Clyde a lot and I'm glad I won the race."
Fritts, driving the Briar Corporation Ford moved to the point for the second time with a slick pass of a loose David Rogers in turn four during lap 81 after a tough side-by-side battle for the lead starting in turn one.
The pass of Rogers was one that Fritts wasn't quite sure of, but other racing company was also on the move.
"I didn't think I would be able to make the pass of Rogers, but I saw Jimmy (Cope) was coming up fast and I knew he'd be tough so I figured I'd better get going if I could."
Jimmy Cope would finish second after a heated battle with Fritts, but Cope fell short of any efforts he made to move by the quick running Fritts.
"We had some bad luck this year," said Cope. "We've only run three times. It's good to finish second and we'll be back."
David Froelich led a field of 32 qualifying cars driving his Department of Agriculture Chevrolet around the one half mile banked oval in a time of 18.124 seconds or 99.32 mph. There were 34 actual starting cars and Froelich drew the number five pill for inversion.
Rogers led after a tight battle for the lead from the opening green flag with a pole sitting Fritts during lap two. In third was B.J. McLeod, Justin Drawdy, and James Powell III followed. Cope was sixth.
On lap 27, after two earlier cautions, Michael Williams, Mario Gosselin, and Jack Cook all spun in turns one and two bringing out the third yellow. Gosselin was finished for the evening with Williams going to pit road. The race went to green on lap 31.
Rogers is still running in front was followed by an unrelenting Fritts, McLeod, Drawdy, Powell, Jimmy Cope, Dick Anderson, Wayne Parker, Jacob Warren, and Bruce Lawrence, Jr.
Lap 41, Powell has Cope following him closely, but Powell is able to hold off the challenger's hard charging effort for now.
During lap 50, Powell moves to fourth going by Drawdy. During lap 54, Chris Fontaine has his car break and it puts him into the front straightaway wall. The driver is not injured, but his car is done for the night.
The race goes back green on lap 59 with Rogers in the lead, but two circuits later Warren spins in turns one and two for another caution. Powell exits the track and goes into the pits. This concludes his racing evening.
During lap 59, Wayne Anderson current Sunbelt point leader made a pit stop which would be one of several and he was not a race factor as he finished out of the top five for the first time this year.
Rogers still leads in lap 66 followed by Fritts, McLeod, Cope and Justin Drawdy. The quick Drawdy now is looking at a charging Dick Anderson racing him side-by-side for fifth.
In lap 70, Anderson moves to fifth and in the following lap Drawdy slaps the wall in number one as he battles Anderson in an effort to retake fifth. Drawdy is okay following the wreck, but done for the night. Cope was now third.
In lap 74, its Rogers, Fritts, Cope, McLeod, Dick Anderson, Parker, Finney, Lawrence, Jr., Mike Good, Barry Willoughby, and Eric Black.
Fritts worked Rogers tough in lap 76 inside of turn four, keeping pressure on the leader.
One lap later Anderson moves to fourth passing McLeod. Scotty Crockett brings out the caution on lap 78 when he slows.
The race goes green on lap 79, with Rogers now finding a hard charging Fritts looking to take the point. In lap 81, Fritts moves to the point after a furious side-by-side battle with Rogers that he finally claims in turn four after starting a strong outside move in turn one. Cope, Dick Anderson and McLeod then follow.
On lap 88, Jim Matthews and McLeod hit when Matthews slows between turns one and two with McLeod spinning as a result. Both drivers are fine, but their racing night is over.
The race resumes green in lap 96 with Fritts in the lead. On lap 99, Cope loosens Rogers with a knock that shakes Rogers Dodge, but Cope has taken second as a result.
Dick Anderson falters with heating problems also in lap 96 and returns to the track then has an abrupt stop going back onto the track between turns one and two after failing to fire properly. The result is he was competitively finished for the night.
Now Rogers and Finney get together coming off turn four and Rogers Dodge is still loose. Rogers goes sideways with Finney now pushing him down the track until he can slow and stop. Finney is towed to the pits after coming from the rear to the top of the field. Rogers pits, but returns to the race.
Fritts now has Cope looking to dial him in, but Fritts handles Cope's close moves and remains the leader. Fritts and Cope are followed by Jay Middleton, Eric Black and Mike Good.
In lap 110, Fritts, Cope, Middleton, Black and Good are running in the top five. There are seventeen cars left running out of the thirty four starters.
Cope tried Fritts once again in lap 111, but a strong running Fritts had too much. Good passed Black for fourth in lap 116 and Fritts opened a 10 car lead by lap 119 over Cope.
Fritts crosses the stripe followed by Cope, Middleton, Good and Black.
The next FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series 125 will be at Orlando Speedworld on Friday Aug. 1st.