Performing in the clutch separates the best drivers from the pack. When the laps are counting down and the lights are shining brightest, the top racers thrive under pressure. Each month during the 2020 season, Tilton Engineering will honor a “Clutch Performer of the Month” from the world of short track racing.
The winner of the Tilton Engineering Clutch Performer of the Month Award for the month of February is…
One of the greatest clutch moments a driver can have is winning a race in a photo finish, especially when it is against one of the best drivers of the last decade in your racing discipline. That’s exactly what Anthony Nocella did at New Smyrna Speedway during February… twice.
It all started on Monday, February 10; the first night of Tour-type Modified competition during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Nocella was dominant over much of the 50-lap feature, with his first career win at New Smyrna just waiting for him. But the man they call ‘Big Money,’ Matt Hirschman, had done his due diligence to save his tires for a final attack at the lead. Being unable to get beside Nocella until the last turn on the last lap, Nocella just held on by less than half a car length.
Two nights later on Wednesday, February 12; the hotly contested John Blewett III Memorial would come down to the same two ace members of the ‘Mod Squad’ once again. This time, the duo battled side-by-side for the final five laps, with each driver swapping the lead multiple times a lap. In the end, the finish was so close that it took almost five minutes to review. Once again, it was Nocella who had prevailed, with the former Modified Racing Series champion from Massachusetts grabbing all of the motorsports headlines that night and the following morning.
For coming through in the clutch twice in three days with two spectacular photo finish victories over one of the toughest to beat, Matt Hirschman, Anthony Nocella has been named the Tilton Clutch Performer of the Month for February. Nocella will receive a $250 product certificate from Tilton Engineering for his clutch performances.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51