The final night of racing at New Smyrna Speedway in 2021 was highlighted by the Orange Blossom 100. The finale David Rogers Super Late Model race would be the swansong for a wild World Series of Asphalt week for a lot of teams.
Compared to the penultimate event that took out a plurality of teams, this 100-lap feature put on a much cleaner race on the historic Florida half-mile. Competitors spanning all divisions this week saw their share of misfortune. The champions were finally crowned and an arduous week for the crews came to an end.
Bad luck for Deland Florida competitor, Daniel Dye, continued after a brutal wreck the night before. His car qualified seventh but mechanical woes on lap 10 once again prevented the central Florida racer’s chances of beating the Super Late Model field at his home track. The Dye machine came to rest in turn two and was pushed behind the wall. On the same lap, Justin Mondeik swung down to pit road for extended work.
Steve Weaver was the source of the yellow flag and was the only spin or accident for all 100 laps when his car went around on lap 30. Veteran Brad May climbed well into the top five after a solid 11th place qualifying run. May’s fourth-place finish was all the more impressive considering how hard it was to pass cleanly in Super Late Models at New Smyrna Speedway. Fans were treated to a show when fellow Minnesotans Dan Frederickson of Lakeville and Jacob Goede from Carver put on a heated battle for the sixth position.
The battle for the lead started on lap 64 when Stephen Nasse was side by side with Jesse Love for multiple laps finally after about a dozen laps of looks to the inside and a tap or two on the rear bumper, Stephen Nasse grabbed the lead and didn’t look back. The Pinellas Park FL resident took home New Smyrna Speedway’s final Speedweeks trophy, but it was Derek Griffith that got to take his World Series of Asphalt Super Late Model Championship north to Hudon, New Hampshire. We asked Griffith about what it means to win the World Series of Asphalt.
“The momentum is huge,” Griffith said. “If we can run down here like this we should be able to run really well back home. We’re definitely starting off on the right foot; to up come with the championship, it means a lot and we’re excited to come back next year.”
Griffith thanked a huge list of people that were able to come out in person in the state of Florida and cheer on their driver. After a tough ARCA Menards race at nearby Daytona International Speedway on the same day, Derek Griffith was able to put it behind him and hang on despite a brush with the wall to take home the big hardware. Stephen Nasse got the victory as Jesse Love, Sammy Smith, Brad May and Bubba Pollard finished out New Smyrna Speedway’s final World Series top five for Super Late Models.
The infamous Tour-Type Modifieds packed up and went home after Friday night’s finale. Matt Hirschman had won the Overall points battle and the finalé race. Pro Late Models had also wrapped up their Florida foray with Kody Swanson getting the World Series title and Stephen Nasse getting a Pro Late Model Victory.
The only other division with a week-long points battle and daily coverage from race22.com was the beleaguered Florida Modifieds. The division started the week with 16 entrants and on night number nine that numeral was down to six. All but one driver was guaranteed a top five. The lack of entries did not discourage hard racing between the two points contenders.
Bill Burba and Jerry Symons battled with their nerf bars along with Wayne Parker and Alan Bruns. Ohio’s own Burba took the overall points championship after Symons did all he could to close the gap and steal a points title after a hard-fought week. Parker got the win with Symons second, Burba third, Bruns fourth and David LeBeau in fifth.
A special event that had a noteworthy conclusion was the LKQ Super Stocks. The event felt like everybody who was on hand could truly enjoy it. Victory Lane featured all three Podium finishers holding checkered Flags because the downright fun of that series at New Smyrna Speedway was a wonderful option to close out Speedweeks. Don Duval won after a spirited chase from Bobby Holley and a damaged Justin Spears sat on the front stretch and took pictures with the cheering fans that could all walk on the front stretch after the event was over.
The fans felt like they did not want to leave New Smyrna Speedway and we did not either but all good things must come to an end. As well as covering these nine nights a certain reporter also had 12 days in a row of day-labor at Volusia Speedway Park, a 14-hour adventure in the infield at Daytona along with a seven-hour hospital visit following a diagnosis of extreme dehydration but the patient was “in good spirits”. After a nine-hour drive home, and eight hours on the clock on Tuesday this reporter would like to tell you this, next year’s speedweeks can’t come soon enough.
From the competitors to the workers, ticket sellers, concession employees, and everyone else who makes the World Series of Asphalt a breathtaking, nine-night racing marathon, thank you. The outpouring of love for the very tragic passing of the great Rusty Crews was unbelievable. race22.com would like to say thank you to New Smyrna Speedway and we’ll see you again soon.