Ryan Moore. That’s the name that echoed over the public-address system Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) as the winner of the Super Late Model portion of the Red Eye 50/50 was announced. But it’s not a name the crowd, made mostly of locals, was expecting to hear.
The speedway’s newly reformatted race gave only 25 miles for a field of 25 Super Late Models to decide a winner, a field that boasted hometown favorites like David Rogers, Brad May and Anthony Sergi.
While those drivers can be found towards the top of the results, Moore— a Maine native turned North Carolina transplant— kicked off the new year by shaking up last season’s status quo.
“I don’t know, what’s up with that,” Moore said with a laugh when asked why his win might come as a surprise. “I run a business, R.C. Moore is our family trucking company. Because of that, I don’t get to race a lot. I haven’t raced since May. So for my guys and I to build a car, come down here, qualify second and win the race, I think they should know we’re here.”
This isn’t Moore’s first win at New Smyrna Speedway by any means. The No. 74 was in victory lane last year during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, an event that Moore has made tradition for the past seven years.
Looking at his history with the Florida half-mile, Moore’s victory isn’t much of a shock at all.
“I knew those guys had been the ones to beat down here weekly,” Moore told Speed51.com. “It was a crazy race, a lot more yellows than I wanted to see. But we had a really good car. The thing would just pull really hard down the front stretch.”
Moore started on the pole after a two-car inversion and never officially relinquished his lead, though an intense battle carried on his rearview mirror towards the end of the race.
May ended the night with a runner-up finish, but not before besting Sergi in a 20-lap game of cat and mouse.
“With Anthony it seemed like every time I’d get up underneath him, we’d be coming up on lapped cars,” May said. “A couple of them worked in our favor, a couple of them didn’t. He ran me really good, did everything he needed to do to stay ahead of me. We bumped around a little bit, had a lot of good racing. It was a pretty big battle just getting up to that spot.”
May proved himself to be a pinball wizard, getting bounced around as he weaved his way up through a gung-ho field of drivers to gain a total of 15 positions by the drop of the checkered flag. Despite his efforts, it wasn’t enough to start 2019 off in the winner’s circle.
“I think if we had another caution or quite a bit more laps, we could have raced with [Moore],” May said. “We started 17th, so driving up through the field the car is really good. I feel like if we start further forward we’re in good shape to win some races.”
Similar to May, Sergi is taking his solid finish in third as a sign that his No. 20 machine is right where it needs to be for February.
“I didn’t have enough in those final laps, May got around me and I just couldn’t do anything about it,” Sergi said. “It was good racing, hopefully Speedweeks is just like this. We’re going to bring the same piece. We’re definitely going to make sure that we’re out front and we put out a show.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Saturday’s Red Eye 50/50 at New Smyrna Speedway by clicking here.
-Story by: Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Melissa Strahley
Red Eye 50/50 Super Late Model Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway (FL) – January 5, 2019
Pos # Driver
1 74 Ryan Moore
2 9M Brad May
3 20 Anthony Sergi
4 56 Gus Dean
5 5K Daniel Keene Jr.
6 11 David Rogers
7 28I Jared Irvan
8 5A Jerry Artuso
9 32 Harold Crooms
10 2 Brad Bowman
11 17 Tanner Gray
12 12M Mario Goselin
13 62 John Gerstner
14 59X Becca Monopoli
15 99 Christian Rose
16 39 Morgan Hoover
17 12K Brad Kossow
18 67 Colin Allman
19 54 Drew Dollar
20 40 Tovia Grynewicz
21 21 Trey Bayne
22 7 Doug Elliot
23 24D Dalton Smith
24 1 Todd Stone
25 57 Travis Cope