Bouncing back from an incident in the Super Late Model feature, Jeff Choquette took victory in the Pro Late Model 35-lap feature on opening night for the 52nd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
Choquette started sixth in the feature after a 10-car invert, working his way to the front of the field and holding off fierce challenges from young gun Giovanni Bromante and veteran Mike Skinner in the closing laps.
“It definitely lessens the blow after the Super [Late Model feature],” Choquette told Speed51.com in victory lane. “We were fast with the Super. It just got a little tight, got into a couple of scuffles and knocked the toe out. Nonetheless, the Super needs to be repaired, so hopefully we can get that back and get it ready tomorrow.”
Choquette was disappointed with the way Bromante raced him during their battle for the lead. Bromante posted the fastest lap in time trials but started 10th in the 23-car field due to an invert. Bromante worked his way through the field before challenging Choquette for the lead on a lap 28 restart.
“Being raced like that, that’s not how I race,” Choquette said. “I don’t know … I guess he grew up in a different time than I grew up. There’s good, hard racing, and then there’s disrespect. I don’t agree with that. If that’s how he wants to race, then I guess that’s how we’re going to have to race, I don’t have any other choice. I guarantee you we’ll be around each other all the other nights we’ll be racing.”
Bromante was disappointed with the outcome of his night, finishing 12th. However, he was pleased with the speed of his Anthony Campi Racing Pro Late Model and is looking forward to the rest of the World Series.
“I kind of washed up into [Choquette] and I think we touched a little,” Bromante said about the incident “Then I just went around. It’s no big deal, we have eight more nights left. The car was really fast, and we just have to improve from here and be smarter.”
There was also an intense battle between Choquette and Skinner on the restart following Bromante’s incident. The two drivers made contact more than once as they dueled for the opening night win before Choquette ultimately prevailed.
“I was trying to slide in there and get [Choquette] into the marbles, and try to get him loose. And he did get loose. I think he thinks I hit him loose, and I didn’t. He got loose, and then we got together. He then decided to just drive me all the way to the dirt. That’s okay, we can play those games. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jeff, I congratulated him on the win. We get our car a little bit better, he’ll have to worry about us.”
Skinner held off a hard-charging Cole Anderson, who finished third, while Corey Heim and Alex Guenette rounded out the top five. The Pro Late Models return to action tomorrow night, with another 35-lap feature.
Fans can relive tonight’s action by viewing the Trackside Now coverage of opening night. Click here to see the Trackside Now updates of the race.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent - @Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
52nd World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing - Pro Late Model Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway (FL) - February 9, 2018
|11||5||Michael Clancy, Jr.|
|13||15||Roy Hayes II|