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602 Modifieds Battle to a Photo Finish at New Smyrna

Trevor Catalano narrowly edged out Evan Rygielski by one-thousandth of a second on Sunday night.


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In an incredible photo finish, Trevor Catalano defeated Evan Rygielski by just one-thousandth of a second, opening the 602 Modifieds division at this year’s World Series with a bang.

After battling throughout the feature race, the two lined up side-by-side on a green-white-checkered restart following a James Blewett spin coming to the white flag. The two remained nearly deadlocked over the final two laps, with Catalano narrowly defeating Rygielski.

The finish was so close, Catalano wasn't certain he had taken the win when he crossed the finish line.

"I really didn't know," said Catalano. "The spotter had to let me know. I was little unsure, it was hard to tell in the car. The wheels looked like they were almost even, but we must have gotten him at the line, barely."

Catalano's goal was simple on the final restart: Maintain his position on the inside line and set himself up for the best run possible coming to the checkered flag.

"Going into turn one, I was just trying to keep Evan pinched in turns one and two and get the run down the backstretch, to be able to keep him up in three and four and try to get the run off to the line," said Catalano. "Coming off of four, it was just hold it to the floor and hoping it sticks."

Throughout the 25-lap feature, Catalano and Rygielski battled fiercely. However, both drivers left impressed by the clean racing on display Sunday night.

Rygielski settled for a second-place finish by the narrowest of margins, but he left the race with a smile on his face thanks to the clean, hard-fought battle to the finish.

“It was great racing, back-and-forth racing. We raced each other clean. Coming to the line, I was like, ‘C’mon, inch forward, inch forward.’

“You can’t complain when you’re racing clean. It’s hard to come across clean racing anymore, but we’ll take it.”

The respect was equally shared by Catalano.

"Evan's a very clean driver," echoed Catalano. "We were side-by-side most of the race, and we didn't touch much at all. Evan's one of the cleanest drivers there is, and it's a lot of fun to race with him."

Lee Sharpsteen finished third, followed by Luke Baldwin and Ricky Collins.

The 602 Modifieds will be in action on both Monday and Tuesday nights at the World Series, taking a night off Wednesday before their 66-lap send-off on Thursday.