Golden Isles Speedway
Fitzgerald grabs $2,500 Golden Isles victory
By Roby HelmNeSmith Dirt Late Model Series
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (Feb. 7) — Jason Fitzgerald of Middleburg, Fla., raced to a convincing victory Friday night at Golden Isles Speedway's Super Bowl of Racing presented By Rock Auto.com on the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. | Video
Fitzgerald took the lead with his GRT Race Car on the second lap and never looked back in the nightcap of a doubleheader for a $2,500 victory, his first-ever on the Crate Late Model Series.
Jeremy Faircloth of Swainsboro, Ga., finished second and Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., winner of the afternoon opener, finished third. Walker Arthur of Forest, Va., and Chris Noah of Rainbow City, Ala., rounded out the top five.
Jacob Anderson and Fitzgerald battled side-by-side for the lead for the first two laps of the 30-lapper before Fitzgerald took the lead. Donald Brasher trailed the lead duo along with Faircloth and Cook. The first of six caution flags came out on lap four when Dalton Cook stalled in turn four.
Fitzgerald led Anderson, Brasher, Faircloth and Cook on the restart with Brasher getting around Anderson for second when the field went back to green. But the field was slowed again by caution on lap five when Jak Kicklighter spun in turn two.
Brasher’s stay in the second spot was short-lived as he dropped back to seventh on the next restart. Cook advanced from fourth to second by lap six, but Fitzgerald had a half-straightaway lead by lap 10.
Cook’s chance to catch Fitzgerald came in lapped traffic, which the leaders began to encounter on lap 12. Cook was camped out on Fitzgerald’s back bumper by lap 17, but the lapped traffic went away on lap 18 when Scott Lagasse Jr. stalled in turn one to bring out the third caution flag of the race.
Fitzgerald led the field down for the restart with Cook, Faircloth, Anderson and Mark Whitener among those doubled up behind him. A wild battle for fourth broke out among four drivers when the green flag came out. Mack McCarter spun in turn three, but Whitener was ticketed with the caution for giving him an assist.
On the next double-file restart, the battle for second-place was on as Faircloth drove around the outside of Cook down the backstretch. Cook tried to step to the outside and retake the position coming off the fourth turn, but Faircloth slid up the racetrack and made contact with Cook, who had the choice of lifting or parking his car in the flagstand.
The caution flag came out on lap 23 when Steve Cooke spun in turn three and collected two-time series champion David Gentry and Josh Adkins. All three were done for the night.
Faircloth and Cook renewed their battle for second on the restart while Fitzgerald pulled away. As the leader came off the fourth turn to get the white flag, a final yellow appeared for Chase Edge’s turn-two spin.
For Fitzgerald, it was business as usual on the restart as he pulled away from the field in the final two laps to take a 1.2-second margin of victory to the checkered flag.
The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series returns to Golden Isles on Saturday night for a 50-lap, $2,500-to-win race.
Super Bowl of Racing: (1) Jason Fitzgerald, (2) Jeremy Faircloth, (3) Ray Cook, (4) Walker Arthur, (5) Chris Noah, (6) Robert Diekemper, (7) Mack McCarter, (8) Ronnie Johnson, (9) Jacob Anderson, (10) Mark Whitener, (11) Brent Barrett, (12) Donald Bradsher, (13) Joey Coulter, (14) Wil Herrington, (15) Tait Davenport, (16) Steven Roberts, (17) Braden Mitchell, (18) Steve Cooke, (19) David Gentry, (20) Josh Adkins, (21) Chase Edge, (22) Scott Lagasse Jr., (23) Jak Kicklighter, (24) Dalton Cook. Fast qualifier (among 43 cars): Anderson, 16.319 seconds. Consolation race winners: Noah, Arthur, Kicklighter, Dudley. Provisional starters: Davenport, Adkins.