Jeff Choquette (photo Rodney Meyering)
New Smyrna Beach, Fla. — Next week New Smyrna Speedway will host the 51st annual World Series of Short Track Racing, the annual tradition of running nine nights of racing in a row. That event draws competitors from across the nation. Many living in the northern part of the country must be jealous of us here in Florida tonight, not a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the mid 60’s greeted 10 Super Late Models for the 33rd annual Orange Blossom 100.
A huge crowd was on hand to witness the Supers gear up for The World Series. Brad May set fast time and draws a four for the invert. That puts Daniel Keene Jr on the pole, followed by Anthony Cataldi, Cole Anderson, Keene, Bobby Goode, Jeff Choquette, David Rogers, Jerry Artuso, Martin Maresca, and Phillip Bassette.
The green flies and Keene gets the jump, within 10 laps, last year’s Orange Blossom winner, Cole Anderson drops to 7th, with sparks flying from the rear of his car. It’s Keene, Cataldi, May, Choquette, Goode, Rogers, and Anderson. A quarter of the way through and May takes Cataldi and starts to reel in Keene.
The second quarter of the 100 laps see’s Cataldi lose positions to Choquette and Goode. May continues to reel in Keene, Choquette a straightaway back. As the first half of the race comes to a close, Keene is getting loose off turns 2 and 4. A big part of winning a 100 lapper here is to keep the right rear tire on the car, doesn’t look like Keene is doing that. Brad May said before the race, starting fourth was not a bad thing here, starting at the front sometimes forces you to run hard, wearing your stuff out before the end. Looks like May knows what he’s talking about as he continues to catch Keene, on his tail by lap 55.
The second half sees May hounding Keene, while Choquette, seemingly unnoticed, creeps up on May. May can’t get the job done before Choquette is there and see his chance, no hesitation, Jeff jumps to the outside and moves to second. Just 2 laps later, Choquette takes the lead. Keene seems to have lost grip and May takes second, but Choquette is gone. Good and Anderson are 4th and 5th, while Cataldi and Rogers battle for 6th, long time New Smyrna competitor Rogers taking the spot. Cataldi slips another spot, losing 7th to Jerry Artuso at the end.
Speed Weeks starts next week and Choquette must be feeling good about his chances of success in the 51st World Series.
RODNEY MEYERING PHOTO GALLERY AND FINAL RESULTS BELOW
33rd Orange Blossom Results
1 9C Jeff Choquette
2 9M Brad May
3 5K Daniel Keene Jr
4 27 Bobby Goode
5 97 Cole Anderson
6 11 David Rogers
7 5A Jerry Artuso
8 00 Anthony Cataldi
9 14 Martin Maresca
10 117 Phillip Bassette