WAYNESVILLE - Jason Fitzgerald of Middleburg, FL drove the M&M Transport and Refrigeration GRT to a convincing victory Friday night at the Super Bowl of Racing for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynsville, GA. Fitzgerald took the lead on the second lap and never looked back for his first series career win.
Jeremy Faircloth of Swainsboro, GA finished second and Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC was third. Walker Arthur of Forest, VA took the fourth spot while Chris Noah of Rainbow City, AL was the Rookie of the Race after a fifth-place effort.
Robert Diekemper of Bloomingdale, GA took the sixth spot. Mack McCarter of Gatlinburg, TN was seventh. Defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN started 21st and finished eighth.
Fast Qualifier Jacob Anderson of Murphy, NC finished ninth. Anderson out-qualified the 43-car field with a lap around the 4/10-mile clay oval in 16.319 seconds. Mark Whitener of Middleburg, FL rounded out the top 10.
The preliminary 10 lap B-Main Races were won by Noah, Arthur, Jak Kicklighter of Savannah, GA and Montana Dudley of Phenix City, AL. Dudley was unable to start the main event after breaking an axle in his B-Main winning effort.
Anderson and Fitzgerald battled side-by-side for the lead for the first two laps of the 30-lap main event before Fitzgerald took the lead. Donald Brasher of Burlington, NC trailed the lead duo followed by Faircloth and Cook. The first of six caution flags came out on lap four when Dalton Cook stalled in turn four.
Fitzgerald led Anderson, Brasher, Faircloth, Cook, and Steve Cooke of Mt. Airy, NC. Brasher got around Anderson for second when the field went back to green flag action, but the field was slowed again by caution on lap five when Kicklighter spun in turn two.
Brasher's stay in the second spot was short-lived as he dropped back to seventh on the next restart. Cook was on the move and advanced from fourth to second by lap six. Cook was looking for his second win of the day after winning earlier in the afternoon. Cook had a ways to go to get there, as Fitzgerald had a half-straightaway lead by lap 10.
Cook's chance to catch Fitzgerald came in lapped traffic, which the leaders began to encounter on lap 12. Cook was camped out on Fitzgerald's back bumper by lap 17, but the lapped traffic went away on lap 18 when Scott Lagasse Jr. stalled in turn one to bring out the third caution flag of the race.
Fitzgerald led the field down for the restart with Cook, Faircloth, Anderson, Whitener, McCarter, Cooke, Arthur, Noah and Brasher doubled up behind him. A wild battle for fourth broke out among four drivers when the green flag came out. McCarter spun in turn three, but Whitener was ticketed with the caution for giving him an assist.
On the next "Dixie Style" double-file restart, the battle for second-place was on, as Faircloth drove around the outside of Cook down the backstretch. Cook tried to step to the outside and retake the position coming off the fourth turn, but Faircloth slid up the racetrack and made contact with Cook, who had the choice of lifting or parking his car in the flagstand.
The caution flag came out on lap 23 when Cooke spun in turn three and collected two-time series champion David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, TN and Josh Adkins of Talladega, AL. All three cars were done for the night.
Faircloth and Cook renewed their battle for second on the restart, while Fitzgerald pulled away. As the leader came off the fourth turn to get the white flag signaling one lap to go, the white gave way to the yellow caution flag when Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL spun in turn two.
For Fitzgerald, it was business as usual on the restart as he pulled away from the field in the final two laps to take a 1.2 second margin of victory to the checkered flag. The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series returns to Golden Isles Speedway on Saturday night for a 50-lap $2,500-to-win race.
NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series
Golden Isles Speedway