The first race of the 2019-2020 Fall/Winter season of the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour got underway on Tuesday night at the traditional starting point for real world Tour-type Modified racing, New Smyrna Speedway. What started out as a rough and tumble first half, soon cooled into an exciting conclusion with long green flag stretches around the half-mile oval.
After surviving the chaos of the first 50 laps of the Wentz Auto Body 100, which saw multiple large-scale crashes throughout the 36-car field, Andy Trupiano came off pit road after the halfway break pitstops first, and that is where he stayed. Trupiano outran Marcus Fruchtenicht on both green flag runs and restarts to score the ‘W’.
“It was a really good race, really happy to come away with the win, first win of the season in the first race of the season. It was just a matter of making it through the first half of the race, surviving all that carnage. Once we got to the halfway stop and got the lead, it was really smooth sailing form there, had a fun race for the second half,” Said Trupiano on the Speed51 Network broadcast.
Early on, Trupiano was able to figure out where his car worked best on the multi-grove New Smyrna Speedway, putting it into full effect late in the first half and the entire second half.
“I got to say it was the outside in one and two, the inside in three and four, so you could position yourself to pick off cars as quick as you could and it worked out well. Towards the end of the race I was really rotating well once the outside heated up, there was a lot more multi-groove racing towards the end of it.”
Heading into the rest of the 12-race schedule of the 51 Elite Mod Tour, Trupiano would certainly be up for winning all the remaining 11 races, but is keeping his goal a little more realistic, while still going big.
“That would be the best scenario, but I think I could pick up three or four wins through the season. Definitely a good goal.”
In the final 50 laps, Marcus Fruchtenicht had only a certain amount of time to keep his eyes forward while racing a wide variety of characters, which included Connor Okrzesik, Carson Hocevar and Austin Beers.
“It was definitely interesting, I’m glad I was able to start up front. It got dicey there in the beginning, but it got really stretched out there. I just didn’t have enough for Andy, the top was definitely the preferred lane. I was just happy to come away with second, solid points night.”
Hocevar held on to finish in the third position, while Ryan Lutz also survived to the first-half chaos to surge up to fourth in the end while Chad Frankenfield rounded the top five.
Next Tuesday, October 22 the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour takes on another Florida half-mile oval, this one more famous for its Late Model history. It’s the home of the Snowball Derby, Five Flags Speedway, which will serve as Round Two for the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour.
Be sure to watch live for free on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT