New Smyrna Speedway’s crowd of race fans experienced a little déjà vu Saturday afternoon following the Marion Edwards Memorial.
Jeff Choquette landed himself in victory lane for the second time in two races this season with a performance reminiscent of his Red Eye 100 victory only two weeks prior.
Choquette stole the lead several circuits into the 100-lap feature and drove unchallenged for the majority of the race. However, with 20 laps to go, brake failure threatened Choquette’s chance at another win.
Rich Clouser was Choquette’s only worry in the rearview mirror.
“I was trying to do the best I could, but the five (Clouser) was coming,” Choquette said. “I was just praying for no restarts and hoping the brakes would hold up.”
Choquette’s prayers paid off; the race ran caution-less and his glowing red rotors crossed the start/finish line first.
Despite holding a trophy in his hand, Choquette was already focused on his future endeavors. Choquette thanked his team for their hard work, but wants to continue to strive for perfection.
“We won and did really good, but the car can always be better,” Choquette said. We’re definitely going to hit some more races, as many as we can. The plan is to be at SpeedFest next weekend.”
Until this morning, Rich Clouser didn’t know he would be racing against Choquette in a podium-placing machine. Another text from fellow competitor Daniel Keene Jr. led to a second opportunity to pilot the No. 5K Super Late Model.
“I got a text about one o’ clock Friday afternoon that said, ‘Hey, I’m under the weather do you mind coming out to practice?’,” Clouser said. “It was an obvious ‘absolutely’. I practiced it the night before and when [Keene] tested it this morning, he just wasn’t feeling it.”
The switch worked out well with Clouser coming the closest to a battle for the lead. Clouser felt that he was evenly matched with Choquette, but things just didn’t quite work out.
“I think we were even, I mean dead even the whole race,” Clouser said. “I was hoping I would be able to run with him, but it looked like he got five to six car lengths out, a little jump, and we just kind of hung on. I searched around on the track a little bit to find more grip, but it just wasn’t there.”
Anthony Sergi was another driver on par with Choquette all day but fell a little short where it mattered.
“The car was really good, it was just set up a little too tight in the race,” Sergi told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Sergi knocked Choquette and Clouser down a position earlier in the day during time trials when he qualified fastest. Sergi leaves New Smyrna Speedway pumped for some bigger events in the near future.
“We qualified on the pole, so I’m happy about that,” Sergi said. “I’ll take third place after the Red Eye. This is definitely a booster going into SpeedFest as well as Speedweeks.”
Carter Stokes and Brad May finished out the Marion Edwards Memorial fifth and sixth, respectively.
Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s Marion Edwards Memorial 100 can be viewed on-demand by clicking here.
-By Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Marion Edwards Memorial Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway (FL) – January 20, 2018
1 9C Jeff Choquette
2 5K Rich Clouser
3 20 Anthony Sergi
4 33 Carter Stokes
5 9M Brad May
6 86 Chet Morrison
7 32 Harold Crooms
8 24 Dalton Smith
9 12 Joe Graf Jr.
10 7 Doug Elliott
11 11 David Rogers