NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Brad May opened the season at New Smyrna Speedway by winning the 50-lap super late model portion of the RedEye 50/50 on Saturday night.
The 42-year-old Day pulled away from 15-year-old Jett Noland in an eight-lap dash to the finish. Another 15-year-old, Daniel Dye, followed home in third in his super late model debut for Ben Kennedy Racing.
Derek Griffith was fourth and fastest qualifier Anthony Sergi was fifth after losing out on a fierce battle for the third spot with Dye over the closing laps.
May is the defending and three-time super late model track champion at the high-banked Florida half-mile, while Dye won the pro late model title last year.
The drivers used Saturday’s extra-distance event as a tune-up for the 54th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna from Feb. 7-15.
The World Series is one event that has eluded May, who came up second to short-track veteran Bubba Pollard during last year’s week-long championship. The other, until Saturday night, was the track’s traditional opener. The Red Eye 100 dates back to 1984 when it was held on New Year’s Day. Beginning last year, it was split into two 50-lap features for the super late model and pro late model divisions.
May was second in both races last year.
The Oviedo, Fla., driver qualified second Saturday and started seven after a post-qualifying invert of the top eight spots. He took the lead in turn four of lap 10 from Noland after early race leader David Rogers slipped up the track in turn two earlier in the lap. May was slow to fire off the line on a lap 23 restart, and it allowed Noland to take over the point.
While May took the lead back two laps later, a lap 42 caution set up another shot for Noland.
“You just never know what can happen,” said May, who executed a clean restart and rolled to the victory. “The car was definitely good enough to win, I knew I wasn’t going to let that happen again what happened on the first start, but you never know. One little slip or one little bobble getting into the corner and he can stick a nose in and be gone.”
It wasn’t all disappointment for Noland, who won the 50-lap pro late model portion of the season-opening, non-points event.
Other opening-night winners included Wayne Parker in the Modified class, while Michael Trocki (LKQ Super Stock), Jared Zabele (Bombers), Devin McLeod (Sportsman), Kelly Jarrett (Ground Pounders) and Tyler Simpson (Mod Minis) also posted wins.