FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Late Model Series 100
SAMSULA, FLORIDA - FASCAR driver Jerry Symons became the fourth different series winner capturing his first FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Late Model Series 100 on Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway in Samsula, FL.
Symons of New Smyrna, FL, driving the Gene Kelly Roofing Chevrolet took the point in lap 35 and stayed out of the battle-scarred field to record victory.
"The crew worked their tail off," said Symons. "We came out here and did a practice session and the car wasn't real good, but they put in tremendous effort and got us up front."
The real story of this race is as Rodney Dangerfield always says, "I get no respect."
"They should have stopped it (race) after lap 42 - we would've had a lot more cars left," said Symons.
"It was a demolition derby," said Tony Amico, the second place finisher in his Executive Racing School Chevrolet. "Nobody would give an inch on anybody."
There were nine race cautions with four red flags and only 10 of 24 starting cars finished this race. Four cars were also penalized for jumping restarts - some twice and aided in this racing debacle. Destroyed race bodies and two demolished cars littered the pit area at race end.
Symons was the only driver to finish with his car completely clean. Not a single other car escaped this race without a racing imprint of some sort at the finish.
For the fourth straight race, Jason Boyd of Orlando, FL, and Goodyear Challenge Series point leader set fast time in his GPC Staffing Chevrolet, turning the one-half mile New Smyrna track at 96.44 mph. Boyd drew number nine for field inversion.
Amico of Clearwater, FL held the pole after the draw, but Mike Hovis of Ft. Myers, FL in his Budweiser ride relieved him quickly of the lead in turn one during lap 7 as Amico slipped back to third.
In lap16, Dave Snodgrass of Melbourne, FL slammed the wall hard in turn two and burst into flames, but escaped uninjured. Four cars pitted as a result of this mishap with various racing damage.
Hovis still held the lead in lap 31 followed by Symons, Wayne Morris of Auburndale, FL, Amico and Mike Greenwell of Alva, FL.
Symons took the lead in lap-35 after going to the outside in lap 34 and quickly opened a six-car lead. Hovis, Morris and Amico followed. Larry Osteen of Clermont, FL was fifth.
By lap 53, the running order was the same, but Boyd was on the move quickly after being penalized earlier for jumping a restart and he was now ninth.
But lap 63 was the end for a quick Boyd when he appeared to bump Morris after they had raced side-by-side out of turn two.
Boyd's car left the track high in the air about 40 feet and slammed hard against the track wall in turn three and he stumbled from the car receiving immediate first aid. Morris had the left side of his Michael Holley Chevrolet ride look like some rolled up bad dental work.
Symons with a 10 car lead in lap 64 still had Morris in tow with flapping left side body parts and Hovis, who had worked his way back in the hunt, was pressing for second after working by the fourth and fifth place cars.
Chris Lawrence of Orange City, FL was injured coming out of turn three in lap 72 and slammed hard into the wall. Lawrence was seen for medical assistance and appeared to have a severely bruised knee. Lawrence's car body was destroyed.
Before going back to green following the lap 72 stop Hovis had to pit for overheating. Symons was still on a quick move, followed on the restart by Morris, Amico and Greenwell.
Things then again happened very quickly when Hovis again challenged from fifth only to loose a right front tire in lap 85 and was finished for the night. In lap 90, Greenwell ran out of fuel. Jeffrey Dufrense of Ft. Myers, FL, was penalized for restart violations.
In lap 92, Tim Russell of Longwood, FL, who had survived the race carnage and his Hamke Race Cars ride was looking more like a Modified than a Late Model, was now third following the race penalty to other drivers. Russell would finish third in only his first 100-lap event and winning his first Late Model feature a week earlier.
During lap 98, Morris was still running with major body problems and holding onto second as Amico worked him hard for the spot. The pair touched as they came out of four with Morris taking the brunt by slamming the wall and going in the air as body parts flew from his car. Amico managed to control his wobbling car on the front straightaway and was now second.
Symons opened a 10-car lead crossing the stripe followed by Amico and Russell.