If you want to win the Florida Governor’s Cup 200 at New Smyrna Speedway, you need to go through Augie Grill. Grill of Hayden, Alabama has won the race each of the last two years and now he’s going for the three-peat. Only Ed Howe and Bobby Gill, has ever pulled off that feat.
“I think there’s only been one person to do it and that was Bobby Gill and he did it a couple of times in my dad’s car,” Grill told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s pretty exciting to be in the same conversation with someone like that. But I’ve got to do it first.”
Only four drivers have won the Florida Governor’s Cup 200 in consecutive years since the race was moved to New Smyrna Speedway in 1988. Dick Anderson won it the first two years, Gill won the next three, and Pete Orr won the next two years in 1993-94. There was a new winner in 14 of the next 17 years before Grill won the race for the first time in 2012.
Florida’s Wayne Anderson is the only other driver to win the race three times, but not consecutively. His wins came in 1999, 2003, and 2008.
With the history behind the race and the rarity of a three-peat, three Florida Governor’s Cup wins in a row would be an astonishing feat for Grill to accomplish. But going for the three-peat isn’t what he’s focused on heading into the weekend.
“I don’t really think about it much,” said Grill. “I just go down there with the mindset that we’re going down to try to win a race. Three in a row would be great. I think we’ll have a good shot at it. The main thing is just getting the car good to make it a little easier on me in the race so I don’t have to run so hard.”
The Governor’s Cup isn’t the only big race that Grill has won twice. He is also the proud owner of two trophies from the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway (FL). Grill will be going for wins in both of those races just a couple weeks after he goes for three-in-a-row at the Governor’s Cup.
“We’ve been close to doing it a third time at a couple of races that you mentioned and just haven’t been able to putting it all together,” he said. “Hopefully we can get three in at least one of the three here at the end of the year. That would make us a lot happier.”
This race is traditionally a night race, but this year New Smyrna Speedway decided to run it during the daytime. Grill doesn’t think it’ll affect things all that much, at least from a setup standpoint.
“I don’t think it’ll change much setup-wise,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll make for a little bit better of a race for the fans. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd and we’ll put a show on for them.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (CT, Long Island, NJ) – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com