Unofficial Results: New Smyrna World Series Night #4
Feb 15, 2022
This changes everything.
It was that kind of caution that changed the course of the Clyde Hart Memorial 100 -- sending William Byron to victory lane while denying a dominant Gabe Sommers on Monday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
For 36 laps, Sommers maintained over a 1.5 second lead to William Byron, and appeared poised to cruise to his first victory at New Smyrna when a mechanical failure sent Jackson Boone hard into the Turn 4 outside retaining wall with 29 laps to go.
Sommers gave Byron the top and was made to regret it as Byron led the rest of the way, albeit after two hard fought restarts, to claim his first Super Late Model victory in seven years.
"I was a little surprised he gave me the top," Byron said. "The way the track rubbered in, it took a lot of rubber because of the rain and the fresh track, so he probably chose the bottom because it was better."
Just not good enough.
"That first restart was crazy," Byron said. "We ran side-by-side for six or seven laps and he ran me clean. And then the second restart, I just had more control, slipped the tires a little bit, but it worked out."
That doesn’t take away from the near certain reality that Sommers was going to win the race if not for the decisive caution. The misfortune will stay with Sommers for a little bit.
"We were checking out," Sommers said. "For sure, we had a better long run car. The short run car wasn’t there. We struggled with it a little bit. We’ll get it better for the rest of the week."
For the final restart, Sommers said he was caught of guard by the timing of Byron’s launch, and it was over from there.
"He fired a little bit earlier than I suspected," Sommers said. "But at the end of the day, just not enough tonight."
Byron revealed on Monday his intent to make up to eight Super Late Model starts with Donnie Wilson Motorsports this season. He finished ninth on Sunday after having to start in the rear due to a parts failure in time trials. His victory on Monday was his first in a Super Late Model since a June 9 2015 CARS Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway when he defeated future Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott while driving the FURY Race Cars house car.
Making this latest triumph all the more special is that it came with old short track spotter Branden Lines on the tower. Lines will also call his Cup Series races this season. The entire Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team was also in attendance on Monday -- including crew chief Rudy Fugle.
Sammy Smith completed the podium on Monday with a drive from eighth to third.
"We dug ourselves a hole in qualifying," Smith said. "We just can’t get our hands around the balance. The first night was good, but the past two nights, we’ve sucked. We definitely have the car, but we just can’t get the balance right."
With finishes of second, second and third to open the World Series of Asphalt and the points lead, not that it’s his primary goal.
"I want to win races," Smith said. "If that means risking a wreck or costing ourselves a championship, I’ll take a chance at winning races, because that’s why we come here."
The Clyde Hart Memorial 100 was originally scheduled for last July but postponed due to rain. New Smyrna Speedway officials added it to the World Series with the 2022 running scheduled for this summer.
2022 World Series of Asphalt
Super Late Models Race 3
Clyde Hart Memorial 100
1. William Byron
2. Gabe Sommers
3. Sammy Smith
4. Derek Griffith
5. Justin Mondeik
6. Jesse Love
7. Brad May
8. Daniel Dye
9. Stewart Friesen
10. Justin Drawdy
11. Jake Finch
12. Michael Hinde
13. Stephen Nasse
14. Leland Honeyman
15. Justin Crider
16. Austin Thom
17. Jackson Boone
18. Bobby Good
19. Ryan Preece
20. Kaden Honeycutt
21. Steve Weaver, Jr.
22. Patrick Thomas
23. Joey Miller
24. Hunter Wright