Derek Griffith’s sensational week at New Smyrna Speedway continued on Tuesday, as the New Hampshire driver won the evening’s 50-lap Super Late Model feature at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing after battling with one of the best in short track racing.
After turning 23 years old on Sunday and finishing second in his ARCA Menards Series East debut on Monday in thrilling fashion, Griffith outdueled fellow Super Late Model standout Ty Majeski for his first victory of the 2020 World Series.
Griffith battled with Majeski throughout the 50-lap race, taking the lead for the final time on a lap 45 restart.
“We’re living on a high right now, so hopefully we can ride it out,” Griffith told Speed51 in victory lane. “We had finished bridesmaid three times. It’s good to get one win. I really wanted one. Hopefully we can finish the week strong. I’d really like to do good in that Orange Blossom again.”
Just before the decisive restart, Majeski impacted the outside wall exiting turn four. Despite the uncharacteristic miscue, Majeski’s car still had plenty of speed to run up front. Griffith had nothing but praise for the Wisconsin hotshoe after a fierce, clean battle.
“He’s such a clean racer,” Griffith said. “He’s one of the best in the business. It’s between him and Bubba on Speed51’s poll, you know? To get him on a restart with five to go – I know he got into the frontstretch wall there, but he was driving the wheels off that thing. He’d end up gaining a couple of cars, but he was a little erratic at it. I just ended up in the right spot at the right time. I just barely didn’t get cleaned out by him.”
Majeski was unsure if the contact with the wall hurt his chances of winning, but he knew he didn’t have enough on the late race restarts to battle with Griffith.
“We weren’t good on restarts. It took it a couple of laps to get going, get some breathing room. Overall, a big mistake on my part," Majeski admitted. "I don’t know if it affected the outcome or not. Regardless, inexcusable, definitely embarrassing."
Still, Majeski was highly complimentary of Griffith, who enjoyed the battle just as much as his counterpart.
“He’s a good race car driver,” Majeski said. “He did a great job last night, it was a pleasure working with him last night, and he beat me today. All in good fun.
“We were racing hard,” Majeski continued. “I love racing with guys like Derek. He’s obviously got a tremendous amount of talent and I have a lot of respect for him. I certainly wasn’t going to do anything dirty to him and was hoping to get raced the same way. It was a hard-fought battle. It was fun.”
Stephen Nasse rounded out the podium after a charge from the 12th starting spot. Nasse is still searching for speed as he prepares for the Orange Blossom 100 to close the week.
“Definitely wasn’t an ideal situation qualifying back there, but me and my guys always make the most of it,” said Nasse. “We were a little worried after qualifying with the handling of the car, so we went back to the pit and were able to work on it.
“I know we’ll get it. We’ve got a few days left here. We’ll do some practicing, might race a night or two before the 100.”
Brad May entered the night leading the World Series Super Late Model points and was in position for another strong showing. However, a scare in turn two nearly derailed that.
May was battling with Nasse for third when the car jumped loose exiting turn two. May feared the sudden loss of traction was the result of a mechanical issue, but the car held together and he was able to come home seventh.
“I thought it was breaking something. It revved up, I thought maybe the transmission was breaking," May stated. "I yanked it into gear thinking it might have been that. It kicked sideways. I was a little worried something was in the middle of breaking.”
“I took it easy for a couple of laps and a handful got by me, but it was still running so I went back to it.”
The Super Late Models will be back in action Wednesday night with a 35-lap feature on Night Six of the World Series. Fans unable to attend in person can follow Speed51’s Trackside Now coverage for updates. Updates from Tuesday's race can by found by clicking here.
Speed51 also has Speedweeks Central for fans to catch up on all of the news, videos, interviews and more from Florida Speedweeks.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Tiffany Swisher
Super Late Model 50 Official Results - Night #5
|24||112W||Steve Weaver, Jr.||28|