Story by Racing America
NEW SMYRNA, Fla. -- The Super Late Model World Series of Asphalt championship squarely runs through its two-time and defending champion after Derek Griffith claimed his first victory of Speedweeks on Wednesday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
The 25-year-old from Hudson, New Hampshire had recorded finishes of fourth, third, third and second over the first four days of competition but said his No. 12 team was just missing that last tenth. It appears they found it.
Griffith took the top spot from Brad May five laps into the 35-lap feature and led the rest of the way. He wasn’t sure he would break through this year with an extremely competitive field moving in and out of the back gate this week.
Mission 1 accomplished.
"I can't thank my guys enough, this is awesome and they work so hard," Griffith said in Victory Lane. "I didn't think I'd get one this week. Crossed that one off the list and took the points lead too, so we'll keep checking the boxes."
The championship would be Mission 2, as Griffith took a 10-point lead over Sammy Smith, who finished sixth. Jesse Love completed a last lap pass for second on May and is 14 points back with two races remaining in Speedweeks.
The battle between May and Griffith was the most exciting element of the race as they raced door-to-door and bumper-to-bumper for the final 10 laps. It took a bumper to complete the pass but May said it was an example of gritty, respectful short track racing.
"We've raced together before, and I tried not to give him and inch, but I had to," May said. "And we touched a little bit, but it was good hard racing."
Well within the expectations of racing in the 35-lappers at New Smyrna.
"He did a good job," May said. "I held him down as best I could, and he was able to get by us when it mattered."
Love was able to adjust to a car that was too loose and bring him to the finish in second.
"We were too free to get by them earlier," Love said. "It was my job to adapt to that and reel him back in. I was still just really free, and I had my hands full and I couldn’t enter on his door because I was so free, I put a wheel on him to save it.
"I wish we had a caution at the end to see what would happened, but both of those guys are incredible racers and I was proud to just race with them."
2022 World Series of Asphalt
Super Late Models Race 5
1. Derek Griffith
2. Jesse Love
3. Brad May
4. Jake Finch
5. Bubba Pollard
6. Sammy Smith
7. Justin Mondeik
8. Todd Stone
9. Dakota Stroup
10. Austin Thom
11. Stephen Nasse
12. Patrick Thomas
13. Steve Weaver, Jr.
14. Joey Miller
15. Kaden Honeycutt
16. Brandon Short
17. Michael Hinde