The 2020 edition of the Florida Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna has extra meaning for Daniel Dye. After wrecking his previous Super Late Model at the All American 400, he made a trip north to Senoia, Georgia to pick up a car from Bubba Pollard’s shop so he can compete at his home track.
That car was meant for a Florida legend who made his name at New Smyrna.
“The people that have won that race, that list goes on and on. The car I’m racing was supposed to be David Rogers’s car,” Dye told Speed51’s “The Bullring.” “To maybe win the race in a car he was supposed to race before he passed away would be really special.”
The 2019 New Smyrna Pro Late Model champion made the jump into Super Late Models for this season and was a quick learner. Dye finished fifth in just his second start at CRA SpeedFest back in January, topping that run with a fourth at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Pinty’s U.S. Short Track Nationals.
Just two races remain on the year, both in his home state of Florida. The Governor’s Cup kicks off the stretch this weekend, while the Snowball Derby will end the 2020 season.
“This weekend is the Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna, we’re looking forward to that. Being my home track and having a big-money race like that is really exciting for us. We just got a new car. It’s actually Bubba (Pollard)’s Fury that he won in at Pensacola. That’s what we’ll be running this weekend. Hopefully we can pick up a big check with that.
“After New Smyrna this weekend we’ll switch up our focus to the Snowball Derby. We’re kind of in there for maybe a provisional depending on how qualifying goes but our focus is we want to make the race. You don’t want to lean back on a provisional or have to race the B-Main like we did at Nashville.”
He will be one of several local favorites looking to take on the outside invaders at New Smyrna. While the current list of outsiders is small, it does include perhaps the two biggest names in the country – Bubba Pollard and Ty Majeski.
“There’s going to be some stout competition. I’ve heard a little bit about some guys coming, some guys that are coming from a little bit away that are going to give me a run for my money. They’ll still have to go against guys like Brad (May), us, all of those that cut their teeth at New Smyrna. Those guys are always hard to beat.”
Dye heads into the Governor’s Cup with all the confidence in the world after putting on what was looking to be like his best showing yet in a Super Late Model at the Hart to Heart 100 last month. He qualified fourth in a stout field before rain washed away the event and he was able to see what he could do come race time
“Our car was great, that’s why I was so frustrated that it was canceled. That was probably our best chance this year to pick up a win. The car was probably the best it’s been. We’re now going to have to look back on it, we now have a different car because the car we ran got wadded up at Nashville. We’ll be showing up pretty stout I hope.”
Even with the Governor’s Cup just ahead, Dye’s mind is also on the Snowball Derby and Country Pleasin’ Sausage Pole Night. The drama of Snowball Derby qualifying night has been well-documented over the years, and it has been something that’s been on his mind for months now.
“I’ve been nervous for a while. You can miss the race easy, you can mess up a qualifying lap. I watched a video you guys put out and it didn’t help my nerves at all. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel getting ready to qualify but we’ll try to put a lap down and make a race.”
Click here to watch a replay of Monday’s episode of “The Bullring” on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo