When many of the big names in Central Florida’s Super Late Model scene were out of town it wasn’t clear who would step up to take the checkered flag Saturday night at Desoto Speedway.
Would it be one of the three championship leaders? Dylan Bigley Jr, Joe Boyd, or Michael Atwell? Or would it be an incumbent like Modified driver D.J. Holzel or North Carolina invader Ashley Rogero?
With so many questions only one thing was certain, the race would not be dominated by an absent Jesse Dutilly, who was racing for the Auburndale Speedway track championship that night.
Race weekend started off with a 14-car field on the entry list, though engine problems plagued the likes of Nick Neri and rear shock failure hit championship points leader Dylan Bigley during practice. Neri would have to pull his ride out of competition while Bigley was able to trade rides with his father, Billy Bigley Jr, to assure him a fighting chance at claiming the championship.
Through qualifying it looked as if it would be a fight between Bigley and Michael Atwell for the championship and the win. Atwell qualified first and Bigley second. Though it would be Joe Boyd, coming from fifth starting spot, that would take the lead early and route the field on his way to the eventual win.
Boyd, who came into the double points paying season finale only nine points out of the lead, knew it would take a win to claim the championship.
“I didn’t think we’d be that good off the get go, but it was, and it faded late. So we still got some work to do to get the late set up a little better,” Boyd said to Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race.
“It feels great to win, it’s been a while. I’ve won a lot of races here, but I’ve gotten in a bit of a slump. I don’t know what happened, but we have a little bit of momentum here now and I think we’ll be alright.”
Bigley, who looked stout fighting off the likes of D.J. Holzel and Michael Atwell for 100 laps, was able to place second and win the championship.
Locked in a battle with Atwell early, Bigley was relieved on lap 42 when he saw Atwell make contact with the wall that ended his night. He still knew he would have to stay close to Boyd’s No. 5 to stay in the championship hunt, though.
“I wish I was able to finish one more spot forward, but a second-place finish and winning a championship is a heck of a way to spend the night.” Bigley said.
They say competition breeds opportunity, and on this beautiful Saturday evening in Central Florida Joe Boyd, Dylan Bigley, and Michael Atwell took each chance they could in hopes of carrying the checkered flag and winning the season championship. The end result was a fantastic display of racing for the attending crowd at Desoto Speedway.
-By Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Central Florida Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com