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Mike Skinner opened the Pro Late Model season in Victory Lane at New Smyrna Speedway. (Jim Jones)

Ryan Moore & Mike Skinner Split Red Eye Victories at New Smyrna

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. — It was a packed house at New Smyrna Speedway to kick off the 2019 season with the newly revamped Red Eye 50-50.

An impressive field of 25 Super Late Models took the green flag for their 50 lap race with Ryan Moore on the pole position. He had fast qualifier Daniel Keene Jr. on his outside, but it was Moore who got the jump early. The race was plagued with many caution flags early on, including a hard crash by Travis Cope on the front stretch. On lap nine another yellow involving Todd Stone and Colin Allman brought a premature end to the evening for two more contenders.

As the field went back green, Ryan Moore and Anthony Sergi established themselves as the cars to beat, breaking away from the field. As the field began to thin out, Brad May, who started 17th was able to get around Sergi and mount a challenge for the lead. Ryan Moore proved to be too much however, and was able to hold off locals Brad May and Anthony Sergi for his first Red Eye victory. Moore said this gives his team a ton of confidence going into the World Series in February.

The second half of the Red eye 50-50 saw 13 Pro Late Models take the green after a few cars were unable to make it through practice. The Gunslinger, Mike Skinner, set fast time in qualifying and had a mirror full of rookie Sammy Smith for much of the first half of the event. Another Rookie driver, Daniel Dye looked strong early on as well until he got a piece of the wall off turn four while chasing this leaders.

Skinner had been able to hold off a fierce challenge by Sammy Smith all race long, until Smith’s night went south on a late race restart. He and Todd Stone made contact, with Stone spinning into the outside wall. Both cars would continue with minor damage. Both cars charged back up through the field until Smith again made contact with Chance Jewels, ending Smith’s impressive Debut. This set up a battle between veterans Mike Skinner and Brad May for the win. On the ensuing restart, May was able to get his nose inside Skinner in turn three with a couple laps to go, the two made contact but Skinner was able to hold on and hold off the final charge from Brad May. The two come off turn 4 to take the checkers side by side with Skinner edging May by half a car to take the Pro Late Red Eye 50.

Wayne Parker picked up the victory in the Modified division, while defending American Auto Sportsman champion Patrick Thomas won the first feature of the season for that class. Michael Trocki won the Super Stocks feature.

Many of the drivers who ran well during the Red Eye and many others will come together for nine straight nights of racing trying to take home the World Series championship. The 2019 World Series kicks off February 8th, and all the information you need to know for this one of a kind racing spectacle can be found at newsmyrnaspeedway.org.