The calendar hasn’t even flipped to the new year yet, but it’s already time to start talking about the first race of the 2016 season. It’s always sunny in Florida and that’s why New Smyrna Speedway opens the racing season with the Red Eye 100 on Saturday, January 2.
The 2015 edition of the Red Eye 100 saw Bubba Pollard claim his first ever win in the event when he took the lead from Bobby Good with 17 laps to go after Good led the first 83 circuits. The win was the first for Pollard in what was an extremely strong season for the Senoia, Georgia driver.
“A win is great at any time, but I definitely think a win at the Red Eye is a good way to start the season off,” said Pollard. “It gives you a lot of momentum going into the year and it keeps me in the seat. That one race can lead to you being ahead of the other competition that doesn’t race that weekend.”
Pollard’s win also made him the fourth different winner in the last five years in the Red Eye. Only Pinellas Park, Florida driver Stephen Nasse has won multiple times in that span. Tim Russell and Travis Cope are the other two Red Eye winners in that time span.
Also on Saturday night is the Zack Donatti Memorial Pro Late Model race. Last year it was a 50-lap showdown for the Pro Late Models, but this year the distance has been doubled to a 100-lap affair.
In 2015 it was Georgia driver Spencer Davis who took the checkered flag in the special event. Davis led 43 of the 50 laps and beat Pro Late Model veteran Larry Blount by 4.5 seconds.
The cars and stars of the Sportsman division and Bombers class will also be in action at New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday night.
Race fans can follow all of the action from Saturday’s Red Eye 100 race day with Speed51.com’s live Trackside Now coverage.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount