Red Eye 100 Set to Kick off New Year Again
2012 Season Right Around the Corner
By Elgin Traylor, Twitter: @ElginTraylor
It's hard to imagine that 2012 is just around the corner.  The first race of the year will once again be on the East Coast of Florida with the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday, January 7th.   The Red Eye event was started as a way to bring in the New Year and the race has traditionally been the first Super Late Model show of the year.

There seems to be little argument about this as the first Super Late Model event of the season.  It's not like the millennium where everyone wanted to see the first sunset, or buy the first newspaper or hold the first race of the year.  But, the Red Eye has in fact won the title as the first SLM race of the season.  What many people think is tied with the Red Eye, the Ice Cold Shriner’s Bowl at Lanier (GA), is a Pro Late Model event on the same day.

The main focus of this year’s Red Eye event will be the 100-lap Super Late Model show which has featured such winners as Rich Clouser, Tim Russell, Justin Drawdy, David Rogers, Wayne Anderson and others.  The 2011 edition featured a few interesting story lines as young Stephen Nasse was sent to the tail for jumping the start and rebounded to win the event, his first career win in the Red Eye 100.

The race also featured a wild wreck in the closing laps where Ben Kennedy went up and over the side of veteran David Rogers' car in the final laps.  Kennedy was dazed, but ok, after the incident.

The fields were modest in the early years compared to the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing or the Florida Governor's Cup, two premier events at New Smyrna.  In 2011, a total of 22 cars were on the grounds with 20 taking time for the feature.  2009 goes down as the most successful race on record with 31 cars answering the early-season call.  

You never know what to expect with the Red Eye 100, but the likes of Tim Russell, Stephen Nasse and David Rogers will all be on hand for the first show of the year.   We often talk about the heavy hitters in the East Coast Florida Late Model scene, but Rich Clouser scored a semi-minor upset win in this race just a few years back.  Last year, Clouser went 11 for 11 in the Limited Late Model class in weekly competition at New Smyrna and was second in the Super Late Model points.  Perhaps he is set to become the first repeat winner in the Red Eye 100.

The Red Eye 100 is set for Saturday, January 7th with Strictly Stocks,  Mini Stocks, Super Stocks, Pro-Trucks, Sportsman, Modifieds, Pro Late Models and the 100-lap Red Eye 100. Visit NewSmyrnaSpeedway.org for more information.  Rub your eyes and get ready for 2012 at New Smyrna Speedway. 

Past Red Eye 100 Winners on Record
2011 Stephen Nasse
2010 Rich Clouser
2009 Tim Russell
2004 BJ McLeod
2003 Mike Good
2002 Justin Drawdy
2001 David Rogers
2000 Wayne Anderson


Red Eye 100 practice action. (Speed51.com Photo)