Beginning this Friday, Pro Late Model racers will compete in seven races over the course of eight nights during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. To get you ready for the busy stretch, we give you “10 Things to Know” leading into this year’s event.
1) There have been 14 different champions in the 14 years of the Pro Late Model division at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. This streak will continue from what we can see, as no former champions are listed on the pre-race entry list.
2) The Pro Late Models will run seven times during the first eight nights of the World Series, with their only off night during the stretch coming on Monday, February 8.
3) Friday, February 12 (Night #8) is the night for the Pro Late Models to shine. The 100-lap feature event will decide the week-long championship. The Pro Late Models have not always had a big feature like this, so it shows the strength of the class.
4) Regular features will be run at the distance of 35 laps.
5) Who will the new winners be? Each February, the Pro Late Model class sees new faces in victory lane. Only 18 drivers have won more than one race during a single Florida Speedweeks. Look for more parity this week.
6) There have been 50 different winners in 91 races in the Pro Late Model division. In 2013, the division produced five first-time winners before a repeat winner surfaced that week. This has been one of the most competitive divisions in World Series history.
7) Jett Noland has to be billed as one of the early favorites to win the series title. However, the difficult part of winning the week-long championship is the near-perfection required over seven nights of racing. You have to be good and lucky and even the best of the best tend to have an off night that could derail them. Noland was twice a winner in 2020 and finished third in points, only six markers back.
8) For historians, this class didn’t replace the Limited Late Model class, but the two were joined together in 2012. The roots of the Limited Late Model class go back to 1988. The final champion in the Limited Late Model class was NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain in 2011.
9) Jamie Skinner had a fantastic Speedweeks in 2020 to win the week-long title. In seven races, he had three wins and finished in the top 10 each night to score enough points to win the championship. At this time, he is not entered in this year’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
10) It will be a big welcome back for Justin Drawdy in the Pro Late Model division come speedweeks this year at New Smyrna. Drawdy is a former Blizzard Series and Red Eye 100 winner at New Smyrna. He has been out of the racing seat for four years.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo