As the first few days of fall cooled the Northern States, the weather slowed the racing action in South Florida as 417 Southern Speedway attempted to put on the Billy Bigley Sr. Memorial 128. In an evening mired by light rain showers, the track had every hope of going the full distance in one of their biggest races of the calendar year. After hours of track drying up against an 11:30 p.m. curfew, many teams doubted the race would get in. Though, hard work and persistence would see to it that the event would go off, just not to the original distance.
As the field took the green and yellow flags to start the race, the plan was to complete 28 laps under caution in order to help dry the race track. After that, the intention was for the field to reset and go 100 laps under green. Ultimately, a scoring error saw that the field would only make 102 circuits around the track before taking the checkered flag, as explained by track owner Joe Gentry.
“We were going to run 28 laps under caution and then run 100 to race,” Gentry began. “Then I thought they reset the [lap count]. I had drivers in my ear and I looked at the scoreboard saying we’re at 103 laps and I thought oh shoot, we’re over. So I stopped the race. I screwed up. I’ll take full responsibility for doing that.”
While the race was cut short, fans that stuck around saw a great show in which Anthony Sergi fought his way through a six-row inversion to take the lead.
“The car was really good. We qualified second. I got to thank everyone on the team Dennis Dean, Josh Todd, Brian Bloom, Chris Harvey, and special thanks to Bernie who helps out at the shop,” Sergi told Speed51.com in victory lane.
“I drove around the field. I went around the outside and just passed a lot of cars. I think we only passed one car on the inside, and it was for the lead. This car was amazing. I was just waiting for lap 128 but I don’t know what happened there.”
Joe Boyd put up quite a fight to retain second place over a hard charging Nick Neri.
“It wasn’t a bad race. I’m glad we got to get it in,” Boyd told Speed51.com after the race.
“Towards the end we seemed to be a little bit quicker. I didn’t know there was a good outside line until the final restart. I don’t know, 28 laps could have made a difference. Might have been worse for me, might have been better, but now that it’s over I’ll take second.”
The field won’t have much time to reminisce on what could have been, as the Florida Super Late Model scene moves to Auburndale Speedway next week for 125 laps of action at the bullring. The next Sunoco Top Gun Super Six Super Late Model Race at Auburndale Speedway will be the Turkey Trot Snowflake 200 on Saturday, November 24.
Race fans can watch the highlights of Saturday’s race on the Speed 51 Network later this week.
-Story by Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Florida State Editor – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Sunoco Top Gun Super Six Series Unofficial Results:
417 Southern Speedway – Punta Gorda, Florida – September 22, 2018
|7||77||George Gorham Jr.|