Giovanni Bromante’s night nearly ended in calamity, along with many of the front-runners in the SERF 100 to open the 2019 Deep South Crane Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway (FL) Friday night. Instead, he rallied after being involved in a lap 84 melee to win his second career Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco race.
The top four drivers in the race – Casey Roderick, Connor Okrzesik, Bromante and Chris Davidson – were all collected in a multi-car incident with 16 laps remaining in the race, after fluid was laid down on the speedway entering turn one. Jett Noland was the first to spin, as he was running just ahead of the leaders, and the frontrunners soon piled in.
Roderick and Okrzesik suffered terminal damage to their entries, ending their nights, and Davidson suffered significant rear-end damage. Bromante escaped with a spin and no contact but was forced to restart at the rear of the field as a result of his involvement in the incident.
“There was fluid laid down on the race track,” Roderick, the leader at the time, said after the accident. “I just couldn’t hang on to it. I just went into the corner and the car took off on me. I was trying to catch it sliding. I thought my right-rear was going to catch [Noland], and it did, and it just turned me head-on into the outside wall. Got a destroyed race car now after leading the race.”
From there, the teenager from Long Island raced his way back to the lead, taking the top spot on a restart with 10 laps to go for the victory.
“It just feels great,” Bromante said in victory lane. “I never thought I would be in victory lane again, two-for-two. These guys have put in a lot of work and they deserve to be in victory lane.”
Bromante started eighth in the race, meaning his late-race charge was his second trip through the back. Despite that, “Gio” said patience was the key to surviving on the wild night in Pensacola.
“Just patience,” Bromante stated. “Really got through the pack. Never thought I’d be back in victory lane, especially after starting in eighth place. These guys just gave me a great car to be in victory lane.”
The 10-to-go restart came from another turn two incident. Lucas Jones had taken the lead from Logan Boyett following the Lap 84 incident, but spun his tires on the final restart to open the door for Bromante.
“Man, it sucked seeing that caution,” Jones said. “It sucks we couldn’t bring it home. We had a really good car to start the race off. It went away really quick. I’m glad we could keep the second and go back to North Carolina.”
Roderick and Okrzesik were in a hard-fought battle for the top spot before the lap 84 incident, shaping up for a battle for the win between the defending Blizzard Series champion and this year’s CRA SpeedFest winner.
“It was going to be a hard-fought win there with Connor behind me,” Roderick said. “He was coming strong there at the end. I was getting really free. I don’t really know the outcome of it if we had stayed green and didn’t have a tore-up race car. It would have been interesting for the fans.”
“It was really shaping up to be a good race,” Okrzesik said. “I think I had a little bit better car. Stuff happens. You can’t control when somebody blows a motor and lays down oil all over the track.”
Race fans who missed Friday’s Blizzard Series season opener can catch up on the action with Speed51’s Trackside Now updates. Click here to view the live updates from the race.
Fans can also click here to watch an on-demand video replay of the SERF 100.
Unofficial Results – SERF 100
Southern Super Series/Blizzard Series
Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, Florida
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo