Beginning this Friday, Super Late Model racers will compete in seven races over the course of nine night 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) Over the last 19 seasons there have been 19 different champions in the Super Late Model class at New Smyrna. It is hard to win a championship during Florida Speedweeks, and it becomes even harder with the talent level so high. Defending champion Derek Griffith will look to become the first driver to win back-to-back championships since the late Pete Orr did so in 1994.
2) It’s so hard to win a title at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, and saying that is your goal is almost unrealistic. You have to have good runs the first few nights and hope other key players have trouble along the way. Looking at the roster, it could come down to who has Lady Luck on their side throughout the seven races.
3) Minnesota is sending their top guns to try and lock down wins at New Smyrna Speedway. First, you have Dan Fredrickson who is a former winner at Oktoberfest and a ARCA Midwest Tour Champion. He won a World Series race back in 2002. Former NASCAR Weekly Racing Series champion Jacob Goede is heading to his first World Series. but he is a quick learner. He has big track success having won at Bristol and Iowa Speedway. Throw in Nick Panitzke, a multi-time track champion at Madison, and the Gopher State is well represented.
4) There are a lot of drivers that have the potential to breakthrough at New Smyrna, and we are just not sure who that may be yet. Will Jake Finch start his Super Late Model career strong? Will Justin Mondiek’s 2020 success in the Midwest follow him down to Florida? Will Jesse Love back up his three poles in 2020 with more wins and a championship? Time will tell.
5) We will have to re-learn our drivers in the No. 26 at Speedweeks because it’s a popular number. First, you have Bubba Pollard in his traditional No. 26 Super Late Model. Next, Peyton Sellers will be coming south to race for Fathead Racing. And finally, Kody Swanson will run both Pro and Super Late Models for Platinum Racing, the team that won the 2019 Snowball Derby with driver Travis Braden.
6) Junior Hanley would have to be considered the king of this division when you look at the record books. He won 48 times and was a three-time champion. He also recorded five wins in the 100-lap race at the end of the week. To top it off, he also won three times with the Tour-type Modifeds.
7) The big race of the week is the 100-lap Orange Blossom which comes on the final night, February 13. There could be, as there always is, some surprise late entries for this particular race. The only other extended-distance race will be on Tuesday, February 9 when the Super Late Models go 50 laps. The remaining five races will be 35-lap shootouts. In all, there will be seven races as the series is closing in on 400 Super Late Model races run in the 55-year history.
8) This year’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing will be the first without the legendary David Rogers, who passed away last March. New Smyrna Speedway has honored Rogers by naming the division the “David Rogers Super Late Models.”
9) The Super Late Models as we call them now are the one consistent at the Word Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. This division has been going since day one back in the 1960s.
10) Is this finally the year for Brad May? A 16-time series winner in the Super Late Models is still looking for that first Super Late Model title at the World Series. He has been close, having finished second a year ago and third in 2019.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com