Jeff Choquette started his 2016 Pro Late Model campaign at Five Flags Speedway mid-way through the season after taking a year and a half off from racing all together. Sunday he came out on top of a heated battle with Casey Roderick to win his fifth straight race and clinched a guaranteed starting spot in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100.
Choquette started the 100-lap main event from fifth and quickly settled into third behind Roderick and early dominator Cole Anderson. The three were separated by a total of more than three seconds as the race went green for the opening 76 laps.
Roderick and Choquette both quickly got past Anderson who faded back after the restart. From there it looked like Roderick would snap the streak of finishing runner-up to Choquette until the two made contact with four laps to go.
From there it was a dogfight as the pair swapped paint several times over the last four laps before Choquette could finally clear Roderick and go on to take the win by several car lengths.
“If it would have gone green the whole way we wouldn’t have gotten to them,” Choquette told the fans from Victory Lane. “That’s how the cards fall in racing sometimes. They’ve definitely fallen our way these last five races.”
For Roderick the caution was not so beneficial from his standpoint. “I don’t know about that caution there,” Roderick stated with a bit of a grin. “Either way we end up second I guess.”
As for the contact throughout the final laps, both drivers had different takes on that as well.
“Every time we get around each other we end up we’ve got to hit each other. I like to race a little cleaner than that but, time after time you get hit, you’ve got to retaliate a little,” Roderick said. “Maybe I’ve should have done it a little more than I did, I just don’t agree with racing like that.”
“Just good hard racing,” was Choquette’s take on the day. “Hopefully we can ride this momentum and go on to win next week.”
With the win, Choquette finishes the 2016 Allen Turner Pro Late Model point standings in second spot, earning a guaranteed starting spot in December’s precursor to the Snowball Derby although the Loxahatchee, Florida driver was not quick to say if he would take advantage of it.
“That’s up to those guys over there,” Choquette said pointing at the Jett family, who own the No. 9 Pro Late Model. “They make those decisions. I’ll do whatever they tell me.”
-For an on-demand replay of Sunday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Ford Performance Parts, click here.
-By Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Deep South Editor – Twitter: @MarkKeeler975
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Allen Turner Tune-Up
Five Flags Speedway, Pensacola, Florida
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