They say when it rains, it pours. Less than 24 hours before our country’s Independence Day celebration, Tim Russell reigned supreme again after a several year drought that left him winless before taking the checkered flag for the Clyde Hart Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
The previous night during the speedway’s designated practice hours for the Super Late Model drivers, Russell could be seen standing high on the pit road wall with a stopwatch, timing the laps of his competitors.
“Man, it feels good to be back in victory lane,” Russell told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It feels good to be back, period.”
The win didn’t come easy for Russell, though, after an invert placed him seventh in the starting lineup, behind worthy opponents like David Rogers, the winner of the first running of the Clyde Hart memorial in 1999.
Russell spent the first 20 laps of the race patiently weaving his way up through the field, careful to avoid any early on tangles with other cars.
Lapped traffic was a factor throughout most of the night, slowing the leader Rogers down, and allowing Jeff Scofield to make the pass with Russell already having muscled his way past Stephen Nasse and Brad May for fourth.
Russell took his time with Rogers, spanning the eventual pass out several laps until he could cleanly clear.
He wasted no time diminishing what little space now sat between himself and Scofield.
The drivers preceded in a back and forth struggle for the lead, Russell continuing to gain on Scofield only to drop back slightly once more.
With almost half the race complete, Russell dove one last time to the inside of Scofield, taking the lead.
Even with one more restart giving Scofield another shot at taking the top spot, Russell dominated the rest of the race.
“Fortunately, our lanes opened up the right way and after starting in seventh we got to the front,” explained Russell. “I was able to keep pressuring the leaders; I ended up getting by the No. 7 and just took it easy from there.”
Russell put his no. 36 on cruise control for the rest of the race, beating Scofield to the checkered flag by a straightaway to end his long dry spell.
“I’m just really happy,” Russell said again. “I’m happy to be back in victory lane. Hopefully there will be more to come.”
For an on-demand replay of our Trackside Now coverage of the Clyde Hart Memorial, click here: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-clyde-hart-memorial-at-new-smyrna-speedway/
-By Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Contributor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Clyde Hart Memorial 100
New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
|7||5K||Daniel Keene Jr|
|9||10||George Gorham Jr|