Derek Griffith earned his redemption arc the hard way and now Speedweeks has a serious Super Late Model championship battle.
One day after a heartbreaking defeat in the ARCA East season opener, Griffith outdueled one of the best in Ty Majeski to win his second World Series of Asphalt feature and first of 2020. As a result, he also retook the championship lead by four points over Brad May, whom suffered a mulligan race in finishing seventh.
Majeski made Griffith earn it, taking the lead off a Lap 30 restart, but lost it on a restart with 10 to go. On the restart, Majeski scraped the frontstretch wall, losing the lead before catching a gift caution that reinstalled him up front.
But it didn’t matter as Majeski’s car simply fell off during the final two restarts, the No. 91 not having anything for Griffith and the No. 12 on the decisive restart with five laps to go.
Griffith emerged from his car in Victory Lane with a jubilant yell and was greeted there by Majeski, who wanted to be the first to congratulate him, after the events of Monday’s ARCA race.
“Finally is the perfect way to say it,” Griffith said in Victory Lane. “Bridesmaid three times this week. I can’t believe I beat (Ty Majeski) here on a restart with five to go. I’ve had such a good day 10 day period, coming down here to test, redemption.
“We got away and I heard ‘one car,’ ‘two cars,’ and then ‘five cars’ and I’m line ‘holy crap’ we’re going to do this. Restarts were tough from both of us. Ty got into the wall there. I think that affected him on the last restart. He was still good, but really loose, and I’ll take it however I can get it. it was a hard-fought battle and I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve always looked up to Ty Majeski. He’s killed it. To beat him on a five-lap restart, means the world to me.”
The respect is mutual.
“I hate losing more than the next guy but that was fun,” Majeski said of the race. “Everyone slipping and sliding around. I’m thrilled for Derrick. I got to work with him yesterday with my Chad Bryant Racing (ARCA team) guys — some engineering and data acquisition stuff on that car.
“He’s a tremendous talent.”
Majeski called the contact with the wall ’embarrassing’ but said his car was giving him fits all race.
“We were just fighting it all night,” Majeski said. “On the short runs, we just couldn’t get going. Tight center. No one had forward drive. We were slipping and sliding.
“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t on lane selection on the restart. I just didn’t have any forward drive off the top, but it was an overall good, hard fought race.”
Stephen Nasse completed the podium in his second race since joining the Super Late Model roster on Sunday night for Race No. 3.
“Definitely wasn’t an ideal situation qualifying back there, but me and my guys always make the most of it,” Nasse said. “We were a little worried after qualifying with the handling of the car, so we went back to the pit and were able to work on it.
“I know we’ll get it. We’ve got a few days left here. We’ll do some practicing, might race a night or two before the 100.”
Meanwhile, the championship battle has a little more clarity with Griffith taking the top spot for the second time over the past week. May entered the race as the points leader and led the first handful of laps before increasingly losing the handle of his car.
At its worst, May nearly lost control of his car in Turn 4 racing alongside Stephen Nasse and the swing was so severe that the local favorite felt it was the result of a mechanical problem. However, the car recovered, and he finished seventh with it — his first result off the podium.
“I thought it was breaking something,” May said. “It revved up, I thought maybe the transmission was breaking. I yanked it into gear thinking it might have been that. It kicked sideways. I was a little worried something was in the middle of breaking.
“I took it easy for a couple of laps and a handful got by me, but it was still running so I went back to it.”
Griffith leads May by four points, Jesse Love by 10 and Sammy Smith by 14.
Love has been fairly consistent with finishes of eighth, first, fourth and fourth in his first four races and remains in the hunt.
“We started off the first night kind of rough, but came back and won the next night,” Love said. “Last night, we ran alright. I’m still pretty new to running stock cars against Stephen Nasse and Ty Majeski. These guys are really good. My car is really good. If I keep progressing, we should have a shot at it.”
Smith won the opening night, but suffered a disastrous night, in which the car was ill and the 15-year-old bouncing off the wall and other cars in the middle of the pack.
“We just sucked all night,” Smith said. “We tried some stuff in qualifying. It didn’t work. We tried to get back to what we had the first night and last night and we were just free getting in. We got to get our shit together.”
The complete results from World Series of Asphalt Race Four can be found below.
- Derek Griffith
- Ty Majeski
- Stephen Nasse
- Jesse Love
- Gus Dean
- Justin Mondeik
- Brad May
- Jett Noland
- Sammy Smith
- Austin MacDonald
- Trey Bayne
- Jerry Artuso
- Todd Stone
- Max Calles-McDonald
- Daniel Dye
- David Rogers
- Augie Grill
- Colin Garrett
- Joe Valento
- Patrick Thomas
- Vincent Staggs
- Kyle Sieg
- Jake Garcia
- Steve Weaver, Jr.
- Ryan Moore
- Kevin Ingram
- Anthony Sergi
- Michael Staggs