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NEW SMYRNA, Fla. -- Luck of the draw went Spencer Davis' way Friday night, and he parlayed it into an opening round victory at New Smyrna Speedway.
The 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Dawsonville, Georgia, started second and led every lap en route to the win in the 35-lap Super Late Model feature on the first night of the 51st World Series of Asphalt Racing. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race went caution free, allowing Davis to outrun a late charge from runner-up Harrison Burton by .651 seconds.
It gave Davis the early points lead in the pursuit of the week-long championship.
"It feels good," said Davis. "It's better to lead than to always chase points."
Burton, 16, set fast time in qualifying but drew a 10 for the invert. The draw put Davis on the front row and put Burton back to 10th.
Burton was able to slice through the field and get clear for second with under 10 to go, but without a caution to close up the field, race out of time.
"It's hard when you have a car that's good enough to be so much better than the rest of the competition," said a disappointed Burton. "There's so many great cars and we were the class of the field. Unfortunately, we just ran out of time. We qualified first and paid the price of drawing the wrong number. In 35 laps, that's pretty hard to make up."
Defending World Series champion Ty Majeski finished third. The 22-year-old NASCAR Next from Seymour, Wisconsin, qualified sixth and started fifth.
"I knew right from the get-go (Burton) and (Majeski) were going to be fast," Davis said. "I've been on both sides of this. I've had to come from the back and I've been lucky enough, like tonight, to have a good starting spot. I know our car was good, better than it qualified. I got up to about six car lengths (lead) and rode there.
"I tried to play it conservative; tried to keep my distance as much as I could. I had a little bit left in the car there, the last 10 laps when I heard (Burton) got clear for second. I just tried to match his times."
Martin Latulippe started on the pole and finished fourth, while Stephen Nasse was fifth.
Chase Purdy finished sixth, followed by Daniel Keene Jr., Brad May, Jeff Choquette and Mason Diaz.
Carter Stokes won the Pro Late Model feature, while Davis was denied a sweep with a fourth-place finish. Austin Pickens took home the 50-lap Pro Truck feature and Sean Bass won the 30-lap Sportsman feature.
Saturday night's racing will include Pro Late Model (30 laps), Sportsman (50 laps) and Super Late Model (35 laps) features. Sunday, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is off as the track hosts the Jet Tools 150, the season opener for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Davis, Burton and Purdy are all in the field for NASCAR's top developmental series.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing will air nightly beginning at 7:30 p.m. live on FansChoice.tv, continuing Saturday night and resuming Monday through next Saturday night's finale. The Jet Tools 150 on Sunday will be the only night not on FansChoice.tv. The race will air on NBCSN on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 p.m.