For the second time in four nights, Jamie Skinner pulled his No. 51S Pro Late Model into victory lane at New Smyrna Speedway on Thursday night. But for the first time during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, he was able to stay there.
Skinner thought he had won Monday night’s race after taking the lead on a restart with three laps left. However, he was told in victory lane that he had jumped the restart and was black flagged, giving the win to Augie Grill and relegating Skinner to a 17th-place finish.
Fast forward three days, and Skinner was back in Pro Late Model victory lane, but this time he got to stay after leading flag-to-flag in a caution-free 35-lap feature. After starting on the pole, he held off repeated challenges from Jackson Boone to pick up the win, redeeming himself from Monday night’s black flag and making up ground in the points race.
For Skinner, it was a relief to bounce back and win after Monday night. With the big 100-lap race for the Pro Late Models scheudled for Friday night, the win could not have come at a better time for his team.
“We do get to stay this time,” Skinner told Speed51.com. “It’s very satisfying to get back into victory lane without it getting taken away from us. Everybody works really, really hard to make this happen, and when you have one get taken away it hurts. It’s an emotional period but it’s good to come back and get another win, and hopefully we can get another one tomorrow.”
Skinner was not happy with track officials after Monday night’s Pro Late Model race, but acknowledged the tough job they have in the tower while in victory lane. He says he has since moved on from the incident and is ready for the last two nights of the World Series.
“The guys worked really, really hard and they gave me a really good car,” Skinner said on FansChoice.TV. “We felt like we beat Augie (Grill) fair and square. The tower didn’t see it that way. It’s okay, it’s a tough call. They have a very tough job up there and we understand it. So we don’t always have to agree with them but we do understand they have a tough job and they do a very good job. I gotta say thanks to New Smyrna Speedway and the Harts and Ricky Brooks and everybody for making this possible for us to come out.”
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville regular Jackson Boone stayed glued to Skinner’s bumper for the duration of the race, but ultimately could not get around the ATF Gunslinger No. 51S and settled for second, improving his Wednesday night finish by one spot.
“Oh man, so freakin’ close,” Boone said. “We really put in an effort and I felt like we had the winning car and I think we did there at the end but it was just a little too late. I was so close but yet so far. I think tomorrow night we’ll have something for the 100-lapper.”
Last night’s winner and current PLM points leader Sammy Smith finished third, extending his points lead with just two nights left. Loris Hezemans and Todd Stone rounded out the top five.
Pro Late Models will complete their World Series Friday night with a 100-lap feature.
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Thursday’s action by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com