Night one at New Smyrna Speedway for the World Series of Asphalt is in the books. The fans in the stands were treated to an eventful 35 lap Super Late Model race to kick things off.
The first Super Late Model race of the 2021 Short track nationals began with a very hard crash after a spin on lap two re-racked the 28 car field. Jake Finch, son of long time Cup series team owner James Finch suffered a hard crash in the Phoenix racing entry. The crash also collected Dan Frederickson and Sammy Smith.
A Doug Elliot spin on lap 33 created the perfect storm for calamity but the drivers were able to maintain enough distance from each other on the ensuing restart to allow Troutman, NC’s Ryan Moore to sneak away with the victory. Moore had an excellent handling car but he did not go unchallenged. Second place Jett Nolan was on his tail much of the event. The top five finishing order followed out with a Derek Griffin machine that had prominent body damage to the rear following the early melee. Fourth was 2019 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National Champion Jacob Goede, who was making his first start at New Smyrna and fifth was Connor Mosack.
The superb David Rogers Super Late Model feature was followed by a cleaner and ultra-competitive Pro late Model battle at the front between Jett Noland and Kody Swanson. The Kingsburg, CA native Swanson and Groveland FL’s Noland’s cars danced bumper to bumper for laps on end. Noland nearly spilled his car into the outside wall in turns one and two in an attempt to get underneath Swanson. The only caution of the day was for Mexico City’s Diego Rodriguez in a backstretch spin.
The front runners would tango again shortly after the races only restart. Jett Noland’s car must have appropriated some paint from the rear of Swanson because the two were like magnets. The display of driver skill was uncanny. The amount of respect and talent was evident in the Pro Late Model division at New Smyrna.
In the last two laps, Noland finally set up for a move on the inside after losing ground a couple of laps before-hand. As the white cloth unfurled the crowd got to their feet. The black front fender of Noland protruded ahead of Swanson and after exiting turn 2 the Noland entry was ahead in the front. Undoubtedly Noland’s run in both Late Model divisions improved his strategy to set up a last-lap pass. Noland came home the victor with Swanson running second in his Pro Late Model debut. Third was Raleigh NC’s William Cox followed by Jeremy Miller in fourth and Connor Jones taking fifth.
The Florida Modifieds feature was a spread out affair that went green from flag to flag dominated by Beaverton, Michigan’s Travis Eddy followed by Jerry Symons, Ricky Moxley, Wayne Parker, and Bill Burba.
Night one at New Smyrna Speedway was everything the fans could have asked for with a touch of carnage in the Super Late Model event, a clinic of close racing, respect, and the last lap pass in the Pro Late Model Division, and utter dominance from the Florida Modified winner. Longtime Florida racing legend and true outlaw Gary Balough has a merchandise booth behind the turn one stand. Any fan in attendance should make it a point to say hello to the man behind one of the most controversial and wild stories in racing.
If night one was any indicator the next eight nights of the World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway promises to be thrilling. Recaps of every night of racing at the New Smyrna Speedway World Series can be found on RACE22.com, the Short Track Authority.
Cover photo by Bridger Swiminer.