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Seas part for Gio Ruggiero in World Series Night 1 victory

The seas opened up for Gio Ruggiero and he capitalized.

Jett Noland and Nicholas Naugle had been racing for the lead, trading paint in the process, when the two drifted up the track. Ruggiero and Donnie Wilson Motorsports teammate Brent Crews drove by en route to a 1-2 finish in Night One of the Super Late Model World Series of Asphalt.

“The 08 and 50 were racing pretty hard and I was just trying to stay patient behind them,” Ruggiero said after the race. “I didn’t want to get involved in it but I know I needed to get by them to win the race. I didn’t want to finish third and sit there behind them.

“Once they washed up the track, I got by them and checked out.”

Noland had passed Naugle, who inherited the pole from an eight-car invert, but that pass was negated by a caution. That would-be pass came using the bumper and Naugle didn’t forget it. Noland again took the lead off the restart but Naugle didn’t let him get away.

Naugle got under Noland, gave him a bump in the left rear, and a full lap later, drifted them both up the track.

“We just got door dinged a lot throughout the race,” Noland said. “I was trying to give as much of a lane as I could. It’s whatever. It’s Speedweeks and that’s normally how it is out here. We’re just out here trying to get ready for Tuesday and we have a lot of speed in our car.”

Naugle said he was tight but also didn’t forget how we was raced.

“He did what he had to to and I repaid the favor,” Naugle said. “He stepped over the line a little bit but we’ll keep it in the memory bank.”

That wasn’t the only example of short track theatrics as Conner Jones immediately jumped out of his car in the tech line and went over to Crews, still in his car, and voiced his displeasure over something that happened on the third lap.

“I was just hot because he never attempted to pass me,” Jones said. “He basically decided he wanted to drive me all the way to the outside fence. I couldn’t go nowhere. It’s just dumb on the third lap. But what can you do?”

He said that last line with a shrug and Crew said it was a byproduct of a short sprint race.

“It’s just hard racing and everyone has to be aggressive with a 35-lapper,” Crews said. “He had a lot to say there and I didn’t have a lot to say there at all.”

William Sawalich was fastest in time trials , driving the Kevin Harvick Inc. car, but got inverted to eighth at the start of the race. Meanwhile, Bubba Pollard, basically testing in advance of the ASA STARS race on Tuesday, started third but peeled off the track after falling to fifth, complaining of a tight car and the way the younger drivers were racing. He didn’t want to tear up his car.

The Super Late Models are off on Saturday at New Smyrna with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in town but the Supers will return for their second race on Sunday night.

Super Late Model World Series of Asphalt Race 1
New Smyrna Speedway
February 9 2024

  1. Gio Ruggiero
  2. Brent Crews
  3. Jett Noland
  4. Nicholas Naugle
  5. Conner Jones
  6. Dawson Sutton
  7. Gus Dean
  8. Austin Nason
  9. William Sawalich
  10. Billy VanMeter
  11. Gabe Sommers
  12. Derek Griffith
  13. Derek Kraus
  14. Kris Wright
  15. Bobby Good
  16. Mitch Haver
  17. Ty Fredrickson
  18. James Lynch
  19. Tommy Catalano
  20. Jeff Choquette
  21. Derek Kelly
  22. Cody Krucker
  23. Brandon Turbush
  24. Amy Catalano
  25. Donald Theetge
  26. Michael Hinde
  27. Brad May
  28. Danny Knoll
  29. Jo Lawrence
  30. Steve Weaver
  31. Bubba Pollard
  32. Hunter Wright
  33. David Weaver
  34. Patrick Thomas
  35. Jake Finch

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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