There was no lack of excitement during Saturday night's Pro Late Model feature on Night #2 of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. Beginning with a thrilling three-wide battle at the drop of the green flag and ending with words being exchanged in victory lane, the 35-lap race had it all.
At the end of the night, it was rising star Jett Noland raising the checkered flag in victory lane, but it didn't come without controversy. A pair of drivers who he battled for the lead with -- Connor Mosack and Jamie Skinner -- both made their frustration with Noland known after the race.
The first incident involving the leaders occurred with 11 laps remaining when Noland attempted to capitalize on a strong restart by making a three-wide bid for the lead entering turn one. As the leaders exited turn two, Skinner's No. 5 slapped the backstretch wall, resulting in a multi-car crash that brought out a red flag.
According to Skinner, his encounter with the outside wall was a result of contact from Noland on the exit of turn two. However, Noland placed the blame on Skinner, claiming that he had time to lift off the gas and avoid contact with the wall.
After visiting pit road and ultimately finishing seventh, Skinner made sure his frustrations with Noland were known; first by pulling down in front of him abruptly on the race track, and then by sharing some not-so-kind words in victory lane.
"Well, we raced hard early. We raced hard, we got together. I got into him and he got into me. That's racing," Skinner began. "That's what happens when you have an invert in a 35-lap race. But what he did to me, three-wide and bounced off of me, killed the right side of my car and completely destroyed it. That's not tolerable and it will be dealt with."
"The car in front of me (Mosack) didn't get off the start as good as he should have," Noland stated. "That's not his fault but he didn't get off as good as he should have and we just went underneath him, went into the next corner and kind of bumped us up a little bit, pushed us up a little bit up the track but he had plenty of room to get down. He just didn't."
"It just seemed like the 50 (Noland) took it three-wide on the restart and slid up into the 5 (Skinner) really hard and just shoved him right into the wall like he tried to do to me as well," Mosack commented.
According to NBC Track Pass reporter Alan Dietz, Skinner told Noland in victory lane that, "We've got nine nights and I've got eight cars, you do the math."
Those words didn't appear to phase the 16-year-old, who also visited victory lane in the Pro Late Model portion of the Red Eye 50/50 in January.
"Good for him. It's his problem, not mine," Noland said on the NBC Track Pass broadcast. "He's going to be slow for the next race probably, so whatever. If he's going to race dirty, he's going to be raced dirty back. That's all I have to say. He had plenty of time to lift off the gas and he didn't, so that's his fault, not mine."
Following the incident with Skinner, Noland battled side-by-side with Mosack for a handful of laps during the closing stages of the race. The battle took a turn for the worse with four laps to go when contact between the two drivers forced Mosack into the wall, relegating him to a fourth-place finish.
"I felt like we ran a good race. I was happy about that. I thought we had a shot to win several times," Mosack said. "Overall, I feel like the car showed speed and we had a decent night, just the end there is pretty tough. Obviously not too happy about that."
Behind Noland, Daniel Dye held on to finish second after capitalizing on the contact between the leaders. Hayden Sprague, Mosack and Hunter Wright completed the top five.
A full video recap from Night #1 of the World Series will be available soon on the Speed51 Network. Find a full list of videos, stories, results and more from the week by visiting Speedweeks Central on Speed51.com.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51
Pro Late Models - Night #2 Official Results