Derek Griffith had an up-and-down birthday at New Smyrna Speedway. What started as a low point in the Pro Late Model feature ended on a high note with another David Rogers Super Late Model victory.
The defending World Series of Asphalt Super Late Model champion became the first repeat winner of the week in the SLM division, taking the lead from Jacob Goede in the opening five laps and cruised to victory lane in the caution-free 50 lap event.
“I knew we had a really good car all day, I messed up in qualifying. My spotter came over the radio and said the No. 21 (Jesse Love) was coming so I knew I had to turn it on there at the end,” Griffith said on the NBC TrackPass broadcast. “He still caught us, it probably would’ve been a good race between us if he would’ve got up here.”
The night did not start off as planned for Griffith, who jumped into a Pro Late Model owned by Jamie Skinner. The New Hampshire driver lost a left rear tire at the exit of turn four and slammed into the outside wall head-on. He was able to climb out of the car, using the Florida Modified 75 lap race and the Tour-Type Modified event to get ready for the Super Late Model feature.
All in all, Griffith considered the night a successful birthday celebration. He dedicated the win to Rusty Crews, a New Smyrna Speedway track official who passed away following Saturday night’s event.
“I had a pretty good birthday other than the Pro Late Model incident. I’ll dedicate this race to Rusty Crews, I’m just happy to get another one.
“A slight mechanical failure caused a real tore-up race car, so to come out and make a little bit of a statement was good, so I’m pumped.”
Defending ARCA Menards Series West champion Jesse Love put a string of poor luck behind him Tuesday night, charging to a week-best second without the aid of a caution. He was closing in on Griffith late, but would ultimately run out of time.
“I think the traffic kind of helped us, I was able to close up on him a little bit. The only race all week, or one of them without a caution, it was just one of those nights,” Love said. “I had a great car though, we’ve been working on this a lot and it’s been getting really good. We’ve had the speed the past few nights, we just need things to go our way and we’ll be back in victory lane.”
Stephen Nasse scored his best finish of the week with a third. Fast qualifier Daniel Dye ended up fourth and 2019 NASCAR Advanced Auto Parts All-American Series National Champion Jacob Goede continued his top-five streak with a fifth.
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51/Will Bellamy
David Rogers Super Late Model Unofficial Results
February 9, 2021 – New Smyrna Speedway (FL)