Matt Hirschman wins Richie Evans 100, Jimmy Blewett takes World Series
Feb 19, 2022
It was the week that Michael Hinde completely broke out under the national spotlight and the 17-year-old thought he had thrown it all away.
After starting the Pro Late Model World Series of Asphalt with five consecutive podiums and three victories, Hinde crashed into Kaden Honeycutt while racing for the win inside five laps to go and destroyed both of their race cars.
Less than 24 hours later, both found redemption in the Hart to Heart 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.
Driving a back-up car out of the Jett Motorsports stable, Honeycutt emerged victorious in the Pro Late Model Speedweeks finale while Hinde won the championship in a back-up car of his own -- but it took a circumstantial turn of events to retake the points lead.
Conner Jones won the race on Thursday and entered the night with a 10-point advantage over Hinde.
Jones had run consistently outside of the top-five throughout the first half of the race, even after a run in with Kevin Folan, but that would have been enough to close out on a championship short of a Hinde victory.
A crash between Folan and Jones again with 28 laps left to go sent Jones into the infield and combined with a fourth-place finish for Hinde, decided the championship.
"I thought I was clear," Hinde said of the crash on Thursday. "It was all my fault. We junked the car and as soon as it happened, my heart shattered. I thought we'd never have a chance at the championship.
"Our team spent all night turning my Super Late Model into a Pro; getting all the pieces right. We didn't have the car to beat tonight; we didn't have a lot of practice with it, but we got it done."
Honeycutt got it done in a back-up too, swapping out his crashed No. 50 Jett Motorsports car for a No. 9 out of the same stable, and outdueling William Sawalich of Donnie Wilson Motorsports over the final 25 laps and a couple of restarts.
There was inadvertent contact between the two on the decisive restart with 25 laps to go and Honeycutt emerged victorious.
"It was a handful by that point," Honeycutt said. "After that last caution, it started to fall off a little bit. I gave him a chance to race and I apologized into his door for getting into him on the restart. He got back into me in 3, I guess because he thought I pushed him up, but that’s racing.
"We worked our butt off all week, and it paid off tonight. Congrats to Michael too, because he deserved that championship."
As for Sawalich, he is the prized understudy of Donnie Wilson and Brandon Setzer, and the difference on Friday night was not having enough experience to implement the advice given to him from the pair of Super Late Model veterans.
"I did about everything they told me," Sawalich said. "They're veterans of the sport. It's amazing to have their support and guidance. I can't thank everyone for their work all week. It's been a huge learning experience.
"He raced me clean and I respect that. I didn't have as much experience as him and that was the difference, I think."
2022 World Series of Asphalt
Pro Late Models Race 5
1. Kaden Honeycutt
2. William Sawalich
3. Cory Hall
4. Michael Hinde
5. Mike Hopkins
6. Derek Griffith
7. Cory Casagrande
8. Jean-Philipe Bergeron
9. Augie Grill
10. Dylan Stovall
11. Conner Jones
12. Landon Pembelton
13. Stephen Nasse
14. Colton Nelson
15. Jerry Artuso
16. Daryn Miller
17. Mike Mayberry
18. Dylan Ward
19. Austin Thom
20. Bryan Kruczek
21. Kevin Folan
22. Chase Williams
23. Hunter Wright
24. David Weaver
25. Dakota Stroup
26. Sam Fullone
27. Tommy Neal