Jamie Skinner was the first driver to cross under the checkered flag at the end of Monday night’s Pro Late Model 35-lap feature at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), yet he didn’t get to celebrate in the winner’s circle. Instead, Augie Grill’s No. 112 machine coasted its way to victory lane while Skinner peeled away down the front stretch.
Just three laps prior to his faux win, track officials black-flagged Skinner for jumping the last restart of the race alongside Grill, who had the lead and choice of pace coming to the green flag. Skinner ignored the penalty, finishing the race ahead of Grill on pavement but 16 spots behind him on paper.
Both Skinner and his crew expressed their displeasure with the call before retreating to the pits for the night.
“I mean it’s typical New Smyrna they do whatever they want whenever they want. I mean, what can I say,” a frustrated Skinner told Speed51.com. “He acted like he was gonna go; they can’t hear his car, but I can hear his car. I hear it when it revs up, he reved up, I reved, he backed down, I backed down. It’s what you’re supposed, it’s what they tell you to do.”
Skinner saw the black flag as an unfair penalty and potentially a targeted move. Skinner insinuated that his constant support of New Smyrna Speedway wasn’t taken in to account during this call.
“But its Augie Grill and whatever Augie wants to do, Augie gets to do,” he commented. “Maybe Augie will come down here and support them all the time on their weekly show when there’s seven cars here. But are they smart enough to think about that? We both know the answer to that. They can pretty much put it where the sun don’t shine. We’re done with them.”
Naturally, Grill saw the restart from a different point of view than Skinner.
“He had jumped me on the restart before and they kind of let it go I guess because I got a decent enough restart. That last one he took off just a hair before I did,” Grill commented. “They said in the drivers meeting that if second place takes off before the leader they’re going to be black flagged. They stood by it and I hate it for him because he had a good car and he was giving me a hell of a run there. They black flagged him and there wasn’t no sense in me racing him after that so I fell in behind after that so I finished second to him in order, but I knew he was black flagged.”
After the checkered flag was waved, Skinner pulled in to victory lane and was promptly told by officials that he was not the winner, and was asked to leave victory lane.
Grill was in second place before pushing his No. 112 into victory lane for his first ever World Series win as a driver. This win was an important one for the two-time Snowball Derby winner as it is also his first time at New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series.
“It feels pretty good to get one the second night, the car wasn’t exactly like it needs to be. It feels good,” Grill stated. “Start the year off pretty quick with a win, and hopefully by the end of the week get a few more.”
The coveted World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing championship is five nights away, and Grill is hoping to stay consistent enough to be crowned the champion.
“I hope so, we’ll just keep a streak of good finishes going and I think we’ll be alright. We just got to gain on it a little more. A couple of better running cars didn’t finish up front tonight and we just got to get this pro car a little bit better to be able to beat them too. We made gains on it and I’m pretty happy with the results tonight. We’ll go try and do it again tomorrow.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Monday’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing action by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
Action continues for the Pro Late Models Tuesday night with a 35-lap feature on tap.
-Story by: Kendra Adams, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley
Pro Late Model Unofficial Results - Night #4
February 11, 2019 - New Smyrna Speedway (FL)