The Red Eye 50/50 kicked off the new year at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on Saturday night with twin 50-lap features for the Pro and Super Late Models. At the end of the night, it was crafty veteran Brad May out-dueling young gun Jett Noland to become the first Super Late Model winner of the new year.
“We definitely had a really good race car,” May said in Victory Lane. “In practice I wasn’t really sure. We tried a few things that I hadn’t really run before. But at the end of the day we put everything back to what we had run last year. Just the regular old setup and the car was awesome. We qualified second but it definitely felt like by far we had the best car here. It was hooked up and turning good and everything you want in a race car.”
In order to secure the victory, May was forced to fend off Noland on a handful of restarts throughout the 50-lap race. It was the first restart of the race on Lap 23 when May made his move and passed Noland for the lead.
When asked to explain his pass for the lead, May didn’t mince words. He was playing with the young driver to his outside.
“On the restart he started just a little early,” May explained. “I was going to let him go and then I started getting run over from behind. I figured they’d throw the yellow, but we got to race it out and have some more fun. I was able to pass him. We stayed out of trouble and didn’t screw anything up and by the second restart I took off how I should and was able to take it from there.”
For Noland, while he was excited to pick up his first Pro Late Model victory earlier in the evening, he was disappointed not to sweep both features on the evening.
“I was a little disappointed not to get the win,” Noland told Speed51. “I mean being second’s good too, but I was hoping to get that win. I messed up on that last restart just a little. I didn’t get off like I should and that was it. This is the best week there could have been for the start of the season.”
Super Late Model rookie Daniel Dye finished third on the evening after a late race duel with New England native Derek Griffith that sent a few sparks flying.
“It was pretty eventful at the end,” Dye stated in a post-race interview. “Me and Derek got to racing. There was a bunch of rubbing. I got into him off of two and I got him a little bit out of the way, but we had a good race there towards the end. These Super Late Models are a lot of fun and there’s a lot of competition there. I just had a blast. I want to come back and do it again.”
While Griffith was understanding of the young rookie’s point of view, he feels Dye owes him one now.
“Yeah, it was a little rough,” Griffith said. “They were kind of playing games on the restart, so we got all bunched up. I thought I gave him enough room there on the backstretch and he just ran right through the back of us, so that was a little bit of a problem. It is what it is. We have Speedweeks and stuff and I’m sure he’ll be running that. I don’t think he’ll be running us like that anymore, but it is what it is.”
With the 2020 season now underway, the focus for many of these drivers now shifts to the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway in February.
On-demand updates, photos, results and more from Saturday’s event can be viewed by visiting Speed51’s Race Day Now coverage presented by Tilton Engineering.
More coverage, including post-race interviews, will be available soon to monthly and yearly subscribers on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo
Red Eye 50/50 Super Late Model 50 Results:
Red Eye 50/50 Pro Late Model 50 Results: