In Derek Griffith’s first four World Series of Asphalt appearances, he had a grand total of two top-10 finished in 16 races. In the last two years though, the New Hampshire driver has been nearly unstoppable at New Smyrna Speedway.
He scored his third win of the week Thursday night in dominating fashion, leading all 35 laps from the outside row. While Griffith visited victory lane once again, his closest points competitors all experienced problems on Night #6, giving him a commanding lead in the points going into Saturday’s Orange Blossom 100.
“I’m just happy, we’ve had a good car all week. Some circumstances haven’t gone our way but to get another one here, we struggled down here for so many years and we had a really good year last year,” Griffith said on the NBC Trackpass broadcast. “It means the world to come down here and run good. Hopefully the ARCA race at Daytona ends early and I can get over here. I’d love to defend it so fingers crossed it ends early.”
Barring unfortunate circumstances, the biggest threat to a second consecutive World Series championship lies about 15 miles north of New Smyrna Speedway. Griffith is scheduled to compete in the ARCA Menards Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, the same day as the World Series finale.
The Lucas Oil 200 is set for a 1:30 p.m. ET green flag Saturday afternoon. Griffith feels strong about his chances for a second Orange Blossom win in three years, even if he has to start at the tail for the race.
“I’m real confident, we have a real good race car. I can’t believe we got another one, hopefully we’ll have a good car for the 100-lapper.”
New Smyrna Speedway track champion Brad May has had a week to forget. He came into the night 13th in Super Late Model points, with a seventh on opening night having been his best run to date. His luck took a major turn for the better Thursday night, finishing second after starting 19th.
His team hadn’t planned to compete in Thursday’s race, opting to start-and-park while doing a little research and development for Saturday night’s race. After realizing he had a strong car, that idea quickly changed.
“I wouldn’t say we were about to give up on the week. We made some major changes and thought we would run in the back and make a couple hard laps and see if we can learn something for the 100-lapper come Saturday,” said May. “They started wrecking and we thought maybe we’d stay out and try to get a top-ten, the next thing we know my car feels really good.
“After that last caution i thought it’s time to go racing. We got ahead of Nasse but didn’t have anything for Derek, he’s been on a rail all week each and every night, we’ve been starting over every day. Hopefully we’ll tune on it for Saturday and have something for him.”
Stephen Nasse had his best run of the week with a third. Sammy Smith and Connor Mosack rounded out the top-five.
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Will Bellamy
Super Late Models Night #7 Unofficial Results: