Brad May has competed at New Smyrna for more than 25 years, having won multiple track championships over the years. Even with all that experience, he still finds himself going to school and learning how to get around the Florida half-mile.
He did so this weekend ahead of the Redeye 50/50, and it paid off with a win in the Pro Late Model portion of the first asphalt Late Model show of 2021. May spent Friday’s open practice and Saturday’s session learning new ways to get around New Smyrna, even with not knowing how it would translate to race conditions Saturday night.
It translated quite nicely for the veteran, who led all 50 laps on his way to the win.
“We tested a couple weeks ago and really picked the car up. Kevin Ingram was working with us on different things and taught us a couple things I hadn’t learned here in the many years I’ve been here,” May told Speed51. “I was able to get through the corners a little better.
“We didn’t know how good it would be at race time, we were running on old tires all day yesterday and today and the car didn’t have a lot of speed. We put tires on and it came to life, drove really good. It was everything I wanted in a race car.”
With the win, May becomes the first driver to win both the Super and Pro Late Model portions of the Red Eye, having won the Super Late Model portion last year. It’s the second year in a row he kicks off the season with a win.
“I love starting off the season with a win, it makes you feel good and really boosts your confidence. It’s a great feeling to start the year off good. Thanks to my team, RK Edwards and Earnest Performance for everything they’ve done this weekend.”
Jamie Skinner was originally scheduled to compete in the event, but a last-minute switch saw his father, former NASCAR Truck Series champion Mike Skinner jump into the No. 5 Pro Late Model for his first oval start since he won the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour portion of the U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol in 2019. He would finish second after the caution-free event.
“It was a lot of fun. We had the best car in race trim throughout practice. Something happened with the tires during qualifying, either that or the driver messed it up and I just got too tight,” said Skinner. “Dustin (Skinner) and I just thought we’re going to free it up and we ended up overcorrecting it.”
After competing primarily in Trans-Am Championship since his win at Bristol, Skinner was excited just for the chance to get back in a Late Model for another race.
“Thank you to my son Jamie. This was my Christmas present, to drive the Pro Late Model car. This is the car I won the U.S. Short Track Nationals with, to get behind the wheel one more time was a pleasure.”
Will Cox finished third in his first race with Donnie Wilson and Wilson Motorsports. Canadian driver Jean-Philippe Bergeron and Sports Car racer Jade Buford rounded out the top-five.
A recap from both races at the Redeye 50/50 will be available on Speed51.TV in the coming days.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Redeye 50/50 – Pro Late Model Results:
- Brad May
- Mike Skinner
- Will Cox
- Jade Buford
- Jean-Philippe Bergeron
- Colt Hensley
- Randy Anderson
- Tovia Grynewicz
- Colby Clements
- Dalton Smith
- Blake Suttie