The ages of Saturday night’s Hart to Heart 100 podium finishers at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) ranged all the way from 23 years old to 63 years young. But there was one glaring commonality between the otherwise disparate drivers: they’re proudly “FloGrown.”
In a race that attracted teams from as far as Vermont and Michigan, three Florida drivers— Brad May, Anthony Sergi and David Rogers— defended their home turf by dominating the 100-lap feature.
The trio proved to be in a league of their own after the halfway mark as they battled amongst themselves for the lead nearly a straightaway ahead of fourth place. Only in the closing laps of the feature was May able to distinguish himself and his Fury-built chassis from the rest of the group, clinching the victory and overall Super Late Model championship by a two-second margin.
“We had a good year starting off but when we got this new Fury racecar, everything changed for us,” May told Speed51.com. “We went from being equal to a lot of the top three [drivers] to really being able to pull away on the long runs. It’s just an easy car to drive.”
Sergi, who ended the night runner-up, was mirroring May’s lap times but wasn’t able to work his way up through the field as fast as the No. 9 machine. By the time Sergi made his way around Rogers to secure second on lap 66, May was already gone.
“Really I was just riding there halfway through the race, it felt like we were all just riding,” Sergi said. “Then I saw David starting to pressure Brad so I started getting up on the wheel trying to catch him. By the time I got to David his stuff had worn out. I got under him and he let me go, but Brad had already checked out. We were running the same lap times so it was hard to get back up to him. I definitely think if we would have gotten out front before he did, it would have been a different race.”
It’s uncharacteristic of New Smyrna Speedway’s veteran driver to falter when it comes to car conservation but part of Roger’s signature strategy went out the window during the opening lap. Rogers led the field to green with pole-sitter Harold Crooms to his inside and had the advantage for the lead by the first left turn of the race.
“Well at the start of the race, I didn’t plan on jumping out there and being the rabbit,” Rogers said of his early-race lead. “I knew Brad was going to be the car to beat and I knew he was going to be coming. Charging is right up his alley, he’s not going to ride any. He got there pretty quick, so I let him go and just kind of followed him. He slowed us down pretty good and I thought that was a good pace for us, didn’t seem like I was tearing anything up.”
Getting May to prematurely wear down his own equipment was Roger’s final play but the tactic backfired, leaving Rogers two spots shy of another trophy from the high-banked half mile.
“I thought I had a good plan,” Rogers said. “His car started giving up a little bit about 50 laps in, so I got close to him. I wasn’t really in a hurry to pressure him, I was just wanting to keep the pressure on him so he would go ahead and use it up. But my car just started getting looser and looser. My car did what his car was supposed to do.”
The Hart to Heart 100 serves as a good indication of how well Florida-based teams will do in the 53rd Annual Florida Governor’s Cup several weeks from now, but Rogers, Sergi and even May won’t be slacking in the shop during their downtime.
“It’s a win, but we’ve got a lot more cars coming,” May said of New Smyrna’s 200-lap crown jewel. “I still think we’ve got to pick it up a little bit for the guys coming to the Governor’s Cup.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Saturday’s Hart to Heart 100 by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
Hart to Heart 100 Unofficial Results
|8||71||Harold Fair Jr.|
-Story by: Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Melissa Strahley