The last time Carter Stokes raced at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) was in January at the Zack Donatti Memorial, and that was a race that ended with a lot of controversy.  Stokes’ return trip to New Smyrna ended much differently as Stokes found himself celebrating in victory lane after the first Pro Late Model race of the 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.

 

Spencer Davis set fast time in time trials earlier in the evening, but it was Stokes who led the field to the green flag from the pole position after an invert of six.

 

300x250-smyrna-ws-2017Stokes checked out almost immediately ahead of Bill Burba who started in the second position.  From there it was all Stokes in a race that ran caution-free.

 

“This is a good start to Speedweeks and I can’t thank my guys enough for a fast race car,” Stokes said in victory lane.  “Hopefully this can be the start of some good momentum and we can wear them out this week.”

 

Jeff Choquette, who won the Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna one week ago, started third and quickly worked his way by Burba to take second.

 

At times throughout the race it appeared as if Choquette had enough to catch and pass Stokes for the lead and win, but ultimately that was not the case.

 

“Even if I would have gotten to him I think it would have had to have been a shoving match to get by him,” said Choquette.  “The car is in one piece so that’s ultimately the goal for night one.  All of these 30-lappers are good practice sessions as we get this thing ready for the 100-lapper.”

 

For Stokes, while it was nice to get the win, it was also nice to end Friday’s race without controversy.

 

“It feels good to actually finish,” Stokes said.  “We haven’t changed much since the last time we ran.  We had a good car at that race and had some trouble there on the last lap.  That’s behind us and hopefully we have good momentum going forward.”

 

For an on-demand replay of Friday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies of the opening night of racing action at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, click here.

 

For full results from Friday’s racing action, click here.

 

-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman

 

Pro Late Model Unofficial Results – Opening Results

1 33 Carter Stokes
2 9c Jeff Choquette
3 6 Matt Wallace
4 29 Spencer Davis
5 12 Joe Graf, Jr.
6 1x Todd Stone
7 26 Bill Burba
8 51p Kyle Purvis
9 29k Mason Keller
10 407 Jason Vail
11 44 Steve Laking
12 8 Hope Hornish
13 11 David Weaver
14 10 RS Senter
15 76 Ryan Millington
16 63 Doc McKenney

Stokes Knocks Out PLM Competition on Smyrna Opening Night