It all About the Red Eye Getting it Started

By on January 5, 2014

Rich Clouser tries to make the low side work on a the lap 91 restart. The low line is not the place to be at New Smyrna Speedway (photo Rodney Meyering)

Brandon Booth leads the field to green after qualifying 3rd.
(photo Rodney Meyering)

New Smyrna Beach,Fla. — Today most of the country is experiencing temperatures 20 degrees below normal thanks to an arctic blast.  The NFL is commencing the the 2014 playoffs with teams playing in really cold conditions.  But here in central Florida, the racing season begins, with temperatures in the high 50’s.  Perfect conditions for the drivers in the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.

The racing season ended just one month ago with the super late models running their biggest race of the year at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.  Chase Elliot crossed the finish line first and was disqualified by race director Ricky Brooks and Eric Jones was declared the winner for the second year in a row. Jones also won the 2012 edition of the Snowball Derby.  Tonight, just a short month later, a new season begins on the east coast of Florida, with the 29th running of the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.  Last year the Hart family brought back the Florida Triple Crown, and for the second year in a row the season opening Red Eye would mark the first leg of the three race series.  $5,000 to win 3 race series  will run it’s second leg in just a few short weeks with the Pete Orr Memorial on January the 18th and the final race will be the World Series of Asphalt racing finale, on February the 22nd  which is the night before the Daytona 500.

Tim Russell (36) battles B.J. McLeod (photo Rodney Meyering)


24 Super Late Models would be on the grounds tonight, and after Cody Blair had contact with the outside wall in practice, 23 would qualify.  Travis Cope sets fast time, followed by Daniel Keene Jr. and Brandon Booth.  The start of the race would see a three car invert, putting Booth on the inside of the front row to start the race, with Keene alongside.  Fourth fastest qualifier, from Boston MA, Kaz Grala, would start at the rear after being penalized for soft tires.  Local favorites Tim Russell and David Rogers would qualify 16th and 9th respectively.
Daniel Keene gets the jump from the outside to start the race and pulls away from Rich Clouser and Cope.  Keene will lead the first 40 laps under green until Cope will pass him on the inside of turn one, leading the rest of the way.  Tim Russell  is passing cars high and low and makes his way to fourth, Rogers in tow.  It’s a clean race, all green until lap 72. And then…  Grala does not want to move over for Cope to lap him.  Cope moves him out of the way and Grala slows causing our first yellow.  It’s Cope, Keene, Russell, Clouser and Rogers.  Russell and Keene make contact on the restart and this battle would continue.  Russell brings out the 3rd caution of the race 18 laps later and lets Keene know he is not happy with his driving.  Ten to go and Cope pulls away on the restart, Keene second and Clouser third.

Tim Russell (right) and Daniel Keene Jr. discuss their on-track incident after the race (photo Rodney Meyering)

The first 40 laps Keene looks untouchable, but Cope has the better car when it counts and dominates the second half of the race.  After taking the checker flag, Cope does a burnout, spinning the car in celebration of his victory and backs it into the front-stretch wall, bending the rear sheet metal.
The first race of the new year is in the books and a good time was had by all.  Perfect weather, great field of cars, great race.   A big thanks to the Hart family and all the staff at New Smyrna Speedway for putting this great event together and keeping the tradition of the Florida Triple Crown alive.
See everybody the 18th  for the second leg of the triple crown when we will see if Travis Cope can continue his dominance at the high banked half mile know as New Smyrna Speedway.

Travis Cope needs a little practice celebrating his victories. After a dominating win, his attempt at a victory celebration ended in the front-stretch wall. Travis said after the race, , “I fix this kind of stuff for a living, no big deal.”
(photo Rodney Meyering)

Race winner Travis Cope, joined in Victory Lane by father Mike and Uncle Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy is now general manager at Desoto Superspeedway in Bradenton. (photo Rodney Meyering)

9th place finisher, Michael Atwell (51) on the high side of Jay Middleton (photo Rodney Meyering)

Rogers (28) ended up with a 6th place finish and TJ Duke (28) ended up in 7th (photo Rodney Meyering)

Anthony Sergi (20) gets under NASCAR Truck Series driver B.J. McLeod. Sergi finished 5th. (photo Rodney Meyering)

An outside pole start by Daniel Keene Jr. (white car) produced a 2nd place place finish, here races Spencer Davis (129)(photo Rodney Meyering)

Above, Butch Herdegen is the winner of the Super Stock race. Below,  Herdegen racing his way to victory lane (photos Rodney Meyering)


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