Just days after being knocked out of the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway while leading in an incident with a lapped car, Jeff Choquette pulled the Jett Concrete No. 9 back into victory lane at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), to claim victory in the Clyde Hart Memorial 100 in his backup car.
While his primary car was back at the Fury Race Cars shop for repairs, Choquette and the Jett racing team decided to take the back-up Super Late Model, Pro Late Model, and Florida Modified on the road for what Choquette told Speed51.com, may develop into three race trip. The team plans to go on from New Smyrna to Five Flags Speedway for the Alan Turner Pro Late Model 100 Friday night, and potentially conclude the weekend on Saturday with the Southern Super Series race at Montgomery.
Though Thursday evening’s annual memorial to New Smyrna Speedway track founder Clyde Hart started off with a very ceremonious tone. Many drivers reflected on the track owners and what they’ve done for Central Florida’s short track scene.
“I think it’s great to race in a memorial that supports the owners of the track because they’ve done so much for the sport allowing all classes a place to race on Saturday nights. It’s an honor to chase after a trophy that means so much to the track and family,” Michael Atwell told Speed51.com Powered by JEGS.
Tyler Ankrum Echoed those same sentiments, “The Clyde Hart Memorial is a really cool race to participate in. To be able to give tribute to someone who began a race track legacy that started in 1964. It’s crazy to know that I’m racing on a track where legends have raced and some of the best drivers of today race. I always look forward to coming to New Smyrna Speedway.”
Ankrum and Atwell both would play a factor in the opening laps, jockeying for the lead with young hot shoe Anthony Sergi. Though, on lap 33 Sergi would spin off the front end of Atwell, bunching up the field and bringing Choquette into the fold.
Choquette, the 2010 winner of the Clyde Hart Memorial 100, would take the lead away from Atwell on lap 55. Atwell would then spin 20 laps later to set up what would be a thrilling 25 lap shootout between Choquette and David Green.
Choquette would describe his late race battle in Victory Lane, “I was messing up there a little bit, and he was hitting his marks better than I was letting him get to me. He got to me and got inside of me and lost his line a little bit I think, and he got a few car lengths behind me and I was able to hold it off for a little bit. I don’t know what did it, can’t tell you. I don’t know how the magic won but we were able to do it.”
David Green, in one of his best drives of the year, was thrilled to finish on the podium.
“Oh man it’s just so intense. You wish, early on, you wish it was closer to over. But you know, you get up there you’re just like, ‘Man, if I got a couple more laps I can do it I can do it.’ Everybody’s in the same condition, slick tires, just end of the race, everything is hot, just hanging on for all you got. I just think I just tried to move a little too soon but that’s part of it.”
Michael Atwell would recover from his mid race altercations to finish third.
“Early in the race spinning Sergi was just a rookie mistake and that was my fault. The crew gave me an amazing car. I just have to get better as a driver. But we drove back up there and then having us get spun out I kind of got the same feeling as Sergi, which sucks. But, I had a good spotter in my ear encouraging me and we drove our way back up there. After that last spin, just didn’t quite have enough to get past the front two.”
More information, highlights, and photos from Saturday night’s race at New Smyrna Speedway can be seen by visiting 51’s Trackside Now.
Next on the schedule for New Smyrna Speedway is a Super Stock 50 lap feature with support from the Mod Mini’s, and Bomber divisions on July 8th.
Clyde Hart Memorial 100 Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway – New Smyrna, Florida
June 29, 2017
|6||5K||Daniel Keene Jr.|
-By Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24