Steve Dorer had faith that Florida Fest was going to go his way.
It didn’t always seem like it inside 50 laps to go but Dorer nudged Anthony Sergi out of the way with 40 to go and held off Stephen Nasse on a restart with less than 10 laps to go to net $15,000 in the inaugural Super Late Model Showcase in Pinellas Park, Florida.
The event was originally scheduled as the new home for CRA Speedfest when Watermelon Capital Speedway was unable to host it this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but then became Florida Fest when Pro Late Model car counts forced the Champion Racing Association to cancel altogether.
An impressive field of 21 Super Late Models nevertheless made the trip to one of the southernmost pavement tracks in the United States and delivered an exciting show with bent fenders, tire scuff marks and a native Floridian in Victory Lane.
“First, I’ve got to thank God for tonight,” Dorer said on the Speed51.TV broadcast. “I prayed during that long run and I’m a big believer of God. I believe he was here tonight along with my mom and Evan.
“I knew we had a good car. I got into Anthony there and got him sideways trying to cross him over. I checked up and let him get his spot back, I didn’t want to pass him that way. I enjoyed racing with Stephen Nasse on the restart, he raced me clean and with respect.”
This was the first time Dorer had won since an Outlaw Super Late Model race at New Paris Speedway in Indiana back in 2019.
Dorer participated in a Super Late Model race at Showtime with his own car earlier in the month, but credited the win to a car change, as he piloted the FLF Race Cars house car owned by Tim Curry.
Florida Fest was a combined effort.
“Our other car was good here then and we came back here with this car,” Dorer said. “Tim Curry and FLF Racecars provided an awesome race car. All weekend it’s been fast, it was a joy to drive. It’s been fast at a lot of places we’ve been. Finish Line’s been working hard, and I feel like he’s gotten his race cars back to where they’re competitive again.”
Stephen Nasse recovered from a 13th place qualifying effort to finish second but simply ran out of time and tires to make a run at Dorer after driving through the field.
“We started a little bit further back in the field, it was a little tough,” Nasse said on the Speed51 broadcast. “I messed up qualifying myself, so it’s all on me. I tried to put the best show I could for the fans. It’s really nice to be here in my hometown. I wish I was one spot better but I guess two is my lucky number here.”
Nasse, Kyle Plott and Jeremy Pate spent the final laps by nearly going three-wide, and bouncing off each other in the final laps. Plott, Pate and George Gorham Jr. completed the top-five.
“I struggled all day yesterday in practice and today, I ain’t gonna lie,” Plott said on the broadcast. “But the laps helped me out once we took the green flag. I just couldn’t figure out how to complete passes in practice. We have a good notebook now for the next time we come down here, and we’ll start from a better place.”
Pate enjoyed the experience and plans to be back for each of the remaining winter races.
“This is an awesome place,” Pate said. “I enjoyed it so much. The ownership is awesome. It’s a little bullring. I raced hard with Stephen and Kyle, and there’s a lot of respect that you can do that with nothing worse than tire scuffs. I can’t wait to come back and do it again.”
- Steve Dorer
- Stephen Nasse
- Kyle Plott
- Jeremy Pate
- George Gorham Jr
- Evan Shotko
- Cody Stickler
- Nick Neri
- Anthony Sergi
- Michael Goddard
- Jake Garcia
- Michael Atwell
- Dave Killian
- Daniel Keene Jr
- Jett Noland
- Kyle McCallum
- Jeff Scofield
- Rich Bickle
- Austin Maynard
- Jesse Dutilly
- Michael Hinde
- Chris Fontaine