Anthony Sergi entered the 53rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing without a victory in 41 previous starts. That winless drought ended Friday night when he capitalized on late-race contact between leaders Derek Griffith and Carson Kvapil to score the Super Late Model win on night one at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
For much of the 35-lap race it appeared as though it would be a two-horse race to the checkered flag. Kvapil jumped out to the early lead from the outside of the front row and stayed out front despite heavy pressure from Griffith, who set fast time in qualifying earlier in the evening.
When the field returned to green flag action, it was Kvapil and Griffith once again separating from the field, setting up a late duel for the victory.
With two laps to go, Griffith worked his way to the inside of Kvapil off of turn two and the two drivers battled side-by-side as they crossed under the white flag. Entering turn one, Griffith's No. 12G and Kvapil's No. 35 made contact, sending Kvapil spinning into the turn two wall. Griffith was able to save his car from spinning but was black flagged by race control and sent to the pit area for his involvement in the accident.
That put Sergi and Derek Kraus on the front row for the restart, and Sergi was able to pull away on the final lap to score his first career Speedweeks victory.
"Man, it was crazy. I saw them going at it right there and I knew I may have a little luck," Sergi said on the FansChoice.TV broadcast. "I haven't had much luck here lately, and it was great to get that luck right there. I've got to thank MJS Concrete, TSD Construction, Sunoco Racing Fuel, my dad, Daytona Sports Wear, I've got to thank everyone for this. I read on Speed51.com that I had been 41 races winless; now it's zero."
After parking his car in the pit area following his strongest run yet during the World Series, Griffith chalked the incident up to being a racing deal.
"That was just hard racing to me," Griffith told Speed51.com. "I got down into one and we touched and got sideways. I saved it, so I thought he did to. I hate how it ended up, but it was just a racing deal."
Kvapil, who was driving the No. 35 with crew chief Toby Nuttleman, was disappointed with the outcome but looks forward to chasing checkered flags the remainder of the week.
"I thought I gave him enough room," Kvapil said. "My guys said he got loose down into one. So I don't know, just a tough deal I guess."
Defending New Smyrna Speedway track champion Brad May snuck by Kraus on the final lap to score a runner-up finish. Kraus, Colin Garrett and Sam Mayer completed the unofficial top five.
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Friday's action by visiting Speed51.com's Trackside Now.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley
Super Late Model Night #1 Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway (FL) - February 8, 2019
|14||112||Steve Weaver, Jr.|
|21||5H||Jeff Holmgren, Jr.|