HUDSON, N.H. — As he prepares to head to New Smyrna Speedway for the 52nd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, Super Late Model driver Derek Griffith has plenty of momentum on his side.
The Hudson driver is coming off a second-place finish in the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna on January 6, a race that opened the 2018 NASCAR Whelen All American Series season. The runner-up finish was his best career at the 0.500-mile Florida oval.
“That was the second race for us with that car, but the first time we ran it we had motor problems. The Red Eye was really the first complete race for that car,” Griffith said of the run. “It was huge for us, especially at a place like Smyrna, where we just seem to get the bad end of the stick. No matter how good we are, we usually just find some way to end up in a mess. We went down there and we had a really good car all weekend.”
The experience that Griffith has been collecting at New Smyrna is going to come in handy when he hits the track for practice starting on Friday, Feb. 9. The Super Late Models will run seven events across the 10 days of action that is planned for the World Series, and as of now, Griffith is hoping to run the entire week.
“We kept the car at a friends house after the Red Eye, we are going down there a little bit early to get it ready,” Griffith said. “The plan every time we go down is to run the whole week, there is no such thing as bad laps. We are going to try and give those guys a run. All of my sponsors were really happy with a second place finish to start the year.”
Griffith started racing Pro Stocks in 2012. However, he has quickly come on the scene in New England. In 2015, Griffith captured the Granite State Pro Stock Series (SLM) championship on the strength of four victories. Since then, he has been tearing up the track on the Pro All Star Series.
“This is by far the most comfortable we have ever been getting set to go down there,” Griffith said of preparing to go to Speedweeks. “The car was excellent when we went down there and I know what we need to do in order to get better. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m really hoping we can get to Victory Lane at least once. I just want to have a really solid week to start the year.”
And just like all of the other teams that are going to be at New Smyrna Speedway, Griffith has pit crew members that just love the sport.
“We are really pumped up, I’m just really lucky that these guys are with me,” Griffith said. “When you start running with the top guys everywhere, it’s just a really good feeling. We don’t show up to the track in a stacker trailer. It’s just cool that everyone wants to help out. We’ve had some great help lately.”
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Kyle Souza reports on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for NASCARHomeTracks.com, a regional touring series website for NASCAR. Souza also produces a weekly column for Area Auto Racing News, a weekly motorsports newspaper based in Trenton, N.J. Souza reports on New England asphalt auto racing for RaceChaserOnline.com, a motorsports website.
While not writing, Souza works as a public address announcer at Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Mass. and also works as a radio co-host on the Performance Motorsports Network, talking New England racing on Thursday night. Kyle was also the recipient of the first annual Mark Wiernasz/RaceDayCT New England Short Track Writer of the Year award winner in 2017.