Leftovers: Red-Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway
A Budding Rivalry Developing Between Nasse & Russell; Hard Hit for Rogers and Kennedy
Stephen Nasse took the lead of the Red-Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway on November 8th from Justin Larson mid-race, but just a few laps later, he was at the back of the field when officials charged him with jumping a restart. Nasse then hustled through the field in the final 50 laps to take the lead from David Rogers on the high side.
That set up a thrilling late-race battle between Nasse and Tim Russell, for the victory. Those drivers had a run-in in the Governor's Cup 200 last November and it ignited again at the fall of the checkers again this time. Nasse took the victory, then fireworks erupted after the checkers. Here's both sides of the story, as well as Nasse's thoughts on rebounding from a tough 2010 with a first-race win in 2011.
As soon as David Rogers lost the lead to Nasse, he started sliding backwards with a problem developing in his #11. As he tried to get his failing car out of the way, he and Ben Kennedy went for the same piece of real estate in turn one to ignite a scary crash that involved nearly half the Red-Eye 100 field.
Kennedy's car climbed atop Rogers and went head-first into the outside wall at near-full speed. Rogers' car went nose-first into the inside jersey barrier, moving it several feet onto pit road. Here's photos of the aftermath, as well as Rogers' thoughts. Kennedy had already left the track before Speed51.com could catch up with him, but he was okay and the crew told 51 that the crash was so violent that it knocked Kennedy's shoe off.
Justin Larson debuted a brand-new Port City big-spring Super Late Model in the Red-Eye 100. His plans were to do some R&D on the new #88 while also going for victory.
Those plans were right on schedule most of the race, as he led several laps throughout the 100-lapper. But, the #88 began sputtering and he eventually slowed to a stop on the track.
Larson was able to rebound, however, and took home a podium finish.
Ryan Booth was a virtual unknown when he first got to New Smyrna for the Red-Eye 100. He and his family recently purchased a car from former Smyrna Speedweeks Champion B.J. McLeod and kept McLeod on to set up the #18 machine.
Booth had only shaken down a Late Model in test sessions before the Red_Eye, having mostly competed in smaller open-wheeled road course cars in the past.
The inexperience never showed, as Booth hung around with the leaders for the entire 100-lap distance and finished an impressive sixth.