Kyle Busch wins at Watermelon

By on February 19, 2012

Kyle Busch on his way to the checkered. (Rodney Meyering photo)

Cordele, Ga. — The first race of the New Year has always been the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.  In the past decade Speedfest has become the real start of the new racing season, originally the tradition began in at Lakeland’s USA International Speedway in the mid 2000’s.  That racetrack, unfortunately no longer exists and the last couple of years, the race has been held at Lanier National  Speedway, outside Atlanta.  This year, at the last minute, the sanctioning body, CRA, did not see Lanier’s interest aligned with their own and changed the location of Speedfest 2012 to Watermelon Capital Speedway, in Cordele, GA.  This was within distance of air RX8, and we made the trip.  We were not disappointed.

The grid at Watermelon Capital Speedway. (Rodney Meyering photo)

Speedfest has traditionally consisted of two major races, a preliminary event, now called Pro Late Models and the main event, our favorite, Super Late Models.  Over 70 cars were entered for the two events, including 2nd generation drivers Chase Elliot, John Hunter Nemechek and Ross Kenseth.  NASCAR stars, Kyle Busch and David Ragan were on hand as well.  Rocket Sports and Entertainment friend, Stephen Nasse was there, along with NASCAR truck star, Johnny Sauter and a whole infield full of competitive cars.

Pinellas County resident teenage Stephen Nasse who was featured in Rocket Sports & Entertainment Magazine in April and a guest on the radio show. (Rodney Meyering photo)

Upon arrival for the first time to Watermelon Capital, we saw an awesome 3/8 mile D shaped oval with an infield completely covered in asphalt.  The sun was shining with a temperature in the 60’s just a great day for a motor car race.

The day began with an autograph session that consisted of a bunch of people standing around doing nothing, and Kyle Busch and David Ragan signing tons of autographs.  Once we got over that, the races began.

New Senoia resident Bubba Pollard drew the pole for both races and ran great in both divisions all day long.  Awesome Bill Elliot was there spotting for son Chase, who has won everything the last couple of years including the 2011 Snowball Derby.  Today would be no different in the Pro Late Model Class.  After fighting off Bubba Pollard (yes that is his given name), Mike Garvey, Daniel Hemric, Jeff Fultz and Kyle Plott, Chase was in victory Lane again.  A well deserved victory, surviving multiple restarts and a thrilling finish, seeing three cars spin coming off turn 4 on the last lap.  Unlike NASCAR, they race to the checkers.  Chase went high, Garvey low.  Jeff Fultz, after spinning, started to pull forward into Chase’s lane.  Both Garvey and Elliot had to get on the brakes hard to avoid the incident.  It was then a drag race to the finish line, where Chase won by a car length.

Kyle Busch in the winner's circle, takes home the trophy.(Rodney Meyering photo)

Next  up was the Big Show.  200 laps of Super Late Model Racing.  Pollard would take the early lead over Nemechek, Busch, Eric Jones, who won the November Governors Cup race at New Smyrna, and David Ragan.  By lap 50 we have seen three cautions, including Johnny Sauter getting taken out in turn 3.  Double file restarts have made things interesting, with John Hunter Nemechek getting past Busch and Pollard.  Lap 80 sees Michigan resident Jones move to second, behind Nemechek.  Busch taking 3rd.  Just before the halfway break, Eric Jones breaks a motor in turn 4 and is done for the day.  Several cars spin to avoid the incident.  A ten minute break allows teams to work on the cars, with those taking tires starting behind those that don’t.  Chase Elliot taking no tires, just as he did in 2011 when he won will start first.  Kyle Busch takes the lead on lap 103 and we see how things may turn out.  Busch holds off a hard charging Pollard till lap 175, where Pollard is able to drive around Kyle with the race winding down.  A wiggle by Pollard on lap 185 allows Busch to go by and then pull away.  Busch wins over Pollard, David Ragan comes home third.

Kyle Busch ends the night with an outstanding burnout as the sun sets over another fantastic Speedfest.

photo by Rodney Meyering

Categories: Motor Sports, Sports
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