Less than a month after winning the 47th Annual Winchester 400 in Indiana, Jeff Choquette kept the momentum rolling at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) Sunday afternoon with yet another prestigious victory. For the third time in his Super Late Model career, Choquette was crowned a Governor’s Cup 200 champion.
Conquering the 53rd edition of the historical race came down to one last restart where Choquette, who had lost his dominating lead around 20 laps earlier, charged past Stephen Nasse, Raphael Lessard and finally, after several laps of side-by-side battling, then-leader Anthony Sergi.
“I have no idea where that last restart came from,” Choquette told Speed51.com. “[The car] was starting to come to me after that last pit stop, but we were only maintaining with everybody else. The longer we went, I think we maintained and maybe they started to fall off a little bit. I’m extremely happy it ended up happening that way.”
Choquette initially won this race over a decade ago in 2004 and then again three years later in 2007, though this Governor’s Cup victory is the first one where “Jett Concrete” adorned the hood of the No. 9 machine.
“It’s great to be able to carry this momentum into the end of the year, to the Derby,” Choquette said. “Jett Motorsports got a 1-2 finish this weekend, Stephen just won at Mobile, I just won Winchester, it’s been a really good couple of weeks.”
The same restart that contributed to Choquette’s win had the opposite effect on Nasse, who ended the day in second. By the time Nasse was able to unpin himself from the inside lane behind Sergi, Choquette had already run off with the lead.
Losing only to his teammate, Nasse shared the sentiment that the weekend was overall a success for the Jett Concrete team.
“Today was a really good day for Jett Motorsports,” Nasse said. “We were really fast all weekend, but I think Jeff was a little bit better than me from the start. We threw everything at it as a team to improve it. I just got stuck on the bottom with Sergi on that last restart.”
It’s not unusual to see Canadian driver Raphael Lessard grab a podium finish in a headliner, but it was unusual to see him do it outside of a Kyle Busch Motorsports machine.
In one of the biggest stories of the weekend, Lessard teamed up with Anthony Campi Racing to take home a third-place finish. The struggles that Lessard faced throughout the weekend— familiarizing himself with the car and finding the right setup— seemed to disappear by the time the green flag waved all the way to the drop of the checkered.
“It went really well for my first time with Anthony Campi Racing,” Lessard said. “The car was super-fast and we had a good run, we just needed a little bit more the whole race.”
Anthony Sergi faded back to fourth right in front of Bubba Pollard, who ran just outside the top five for the majority of the race. Both drivers felt that wrong decisions were made during their pit stops, a mistake that neither of them hopes to repeat in a couple of weeks in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
“We didn’t make good decisions again this weekend,” Pollard said. “We’re going to learn from it, hopefully. We can’t make those mistakes and try to win a Derby.”
Race fans can find full on-demand coverage of Sunday’s 53rd Annual Governor’s Cup 200 by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
-Story by: Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley
Governor’s Cup 200 Unofficial Results
November 11, 2018 – New Smyrna Speedway (FL)
|21||71||Harold Fair Jr.|