Is it better to be lucky or good? The age old question of short track racing has been asked once again. Luck may win you the pole and a top finishing spot, but skill will keep you up front throughout the season. Many drivers agree that it takes a good combination of both, but if you’re Bradenton, Florida’s Jesse Dutilly you don’t have to find out.
Saturday night at Auburndale Speedway in Winter Haven, FL, after a sub-par qualifying run, Dutilly invited a young local short track fan to pull his starting spot out of a hat for him. It just so happened that the pill she drew would be the pole position, putting his two-time track championship winning No. 30 out front to start the race.
Dutilly would then go on to win the race, but not without the stocked field putting up a hard fought challenge. Throughout the evening the likes of Dutilly, Anthony Sergi, Nick Neri, George Gorham Jr., and Chris Fontaine went door handle to door handle in the traditional Central Florida short track fashion, culminating in an exhilarating three-way battle for the lead in the last 15 laps.
Anthony Sergi, who had lead the most laps on the night lost the lead on the final restart to Dutilly. Sergi then went to work on Dutilly’s rear bumper, doing everything he could to pass him without wrecking him all the way until the last corner of the last lap as veteran Nick Neri looked on from third.
In a post-race debrief, Sergi explained to Speed51.com powered by JEGS just how hard he was trying to get by the No. 30.
“I was trying to get around him there, and with about ten laps to go I caught up to him and I just tried to get around him clean, and I just couldn’t do it,” he explained. “There at the end was just a last-ditch effort. I drove it off into three and jacked him up to move him to the outside and get under him, but I just couldn’t do anything about it.”
Dutilly didn’t mind the rough racing though, and admired Sergi for getting out of the car with a smile after such a hard fought battle.
“There is a difference between rubbing and racing, and wrecking, punting, and racing,” Dutilly said. “Anthony, we’ve raced for years. He’s a hard racer. He’s not afraid to rub. He’ll lean right on you, but he does it in a way that you can race and you’re not just going to crash your car.
“I like racing with Anthony. Honestly he probably owes me one throughout the years more than I owe him. I think he’s a heck of a guy.”
For an on-demand replay of our Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s race, click here.
The Sunshine State Challenge Series Super Late Models will return to action on May 13 at 417 Southern Speedway with support from the Bombers, Legends, and Mini Stocks.
Sunshine State Challenge Series Super Late Model 100 Results
Auburndale Speedway – Winter Haven, Florida
April 29, 2017
1 30 Jesse Dutilly
2 20 Anthony Sergi
3 17 Nick Neri
4 128 Billy Bigley Jr.
5 03 George Gorham Jr.
6 47 Chris Fontaine
7 37 Michael Goddard
8 51 Michael Atwell
9 5 Joe Boyd
10 97 Brian Dorer
11 28 Dylan Bigley
-By Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24