Story By: ADAM FENWICK / NASCAR – NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL – A lot has gone wrong so far for Derek Griffith and Patrick Emerling during the 55th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, but Tuesday night they got it right.
The 50-lap Super Late Model feature belonged to defending division champion Griffith. Earlier in the evening, the Hudson, New Hampshire, driver saw his Pro Late Model race come to a sudden end when the left rear suddenly broke as he drove through Turn 4. His Super Late Model ride was the complete opposite as he rolled to his second victory of the week in dominant style.
Emerling set fast time in qualifying, started fourth after an invert and then raced to the front of the field to claim his fifth overall World Series victory in the second Tour-Type Modified race of the week.
Griffith, who also won on Friday, started second alongside Jacob Goede. Goede led the opening laps only for Griffith to slip past him on the eighth circuit. He would go on to lead the remainder of the feature unchallenged to cap off his 24th birthday.
“I knew we had a really good car all day,” said Griffith. “My spotter came over the radio and said the 21 car (Jesse Love) was coming, so I knew I had to turn it on there towards the end.
“It probably would have been a good race between us if he got up here.”
Love, the reigning ARCA Menards Series West champion, came home second ahead of Stephen Nasse, Daniel Dye and Goede.
The tour-type Modified victory was a breath of fresh air for Emerling, who said he’s had nothing but bad luck so far during his time at New Smyrna this week.
“Last night was pretty unfortunate for us. We were decent, we were good enough to stay in the top-five and lead some laps last night, but we got taken out last night, so this definitely makes up for it,” Emerling said. “Man, we’ve had a lot of stuff go wrong so far during Speedweeks. I had the primary car blow an engine, we pulled out the backup car.
“We had to miss practice because the lift gate stopped on the trailer and we had to fix that. So far there has just been a lot of things go wrong, so it’s good to have one thing go right for once.”
Emerling was the fourth different leader during Tuesday’s 35-lap feature. McKennedy led early on after starting from the pole before giving way to Matt Hirschman on lap 10. Eric Goodale would then take the lead from Hirschman during a restart on lap 16.
The pass for the victory would come during another restart, this time on lap 22, when Emerling was able to stick with Goodale and clear him coming out of turn four. Emerling then held off Goodale during a restart with three laps left to claim the win.
Hirschman finished third, followed by NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Preece and Tuesday’s Tour-Type Modified winner Craig Lutz.
Fourteen-year-old Conner Jones won for the second-straight race in the Pro Late Model division, holding off five-time USAC Silver Crown Series champion Kody Swanson in the final laps of the 35-lap feature.
Bill Burba dominated the 75-lap extra distance feature for the Florida Modifieds, surviving a restart with three laps left to earn a trip to victory lane.
Tour-Type Modified (50 laps)
1. Patrick Emerling, 2. Eric Goodale, 3. Matt Hirschman, 4. Ryan Preece, 5. Craig Lutz, 6. Ron Silk, 7. Ronnie Williams, 8. Jimmy Blewett, 9. Stephen Kopcik, 10. Jeremy Gerstner 11. Anthony Nocella, 12. J.R. Bertuccio, 13. Andy Seuss, 14. Amy Catalano, 15. Tyler Rypkema, 16. Matthew Galko, 17. David Sapienza, 18. Buddy Charette, 19. Danny Knoll Jr., 20. Bobby Jones 21. Jim Gavek, 22. Burt Myers, 23. Chris Ridsdale, 24. Chris Finocchario, 25. Eddie McCarthy, 26. Chuck Hossfeld, 27. Zane Zeiner, 28. Michael Curtis, 29. Doug Coby, 30. Marcello Rufrano 31. Brian Robie, 32. Jon McKennedy, 33. Tommy Catalano, 34. Tom Martino Jr., 35. Tyler Truex, 36. Jonathan Laureigh.
Super Late Models (30 laps)
1. Derek Griffith, 2. Jesse Love, 3. Stephen Nasse, 4. Daniel Dye, 5. Jacob Goede, 6. Sammy Smith, 7. Kris Wright, 8. Justin Mondeik, 9. Ryan Moore, 10. Dan Fredrickson 11. Bubba Pollard, 12. Jake Garcia, 13. Peyton Sellers, 14. Michael Hinde, 15. Gus Dean, 16. Kelly Moore, 17. Connor Mosack, 18. Kody Swanson, 19. Jake Finch, 20. Brad May 21. Mike Stacy, 22. Steve Weaver, 23. Travis Wilson, 24. R.J. Braun, 25. Jett Noland, 26. Patrick Thomas, 27. Doug Elliott.