CHOQUETTE MAKES IT THREE-IN-A-ROW AT SMYRNA by Jane Smith
The First Of A Number Of Pre-Season Races Goes To Youngster
It was one of the winter/summer nights, not too hot and not too cool. It was obvious by the number of cars and fans, that everyone was ready for a race. New faces and old faces welcomed in 2005.
Twenty one of Florida's best Super Late Model drivers ran the River Fest 300 as young Jeff Choquette set fast time with a 17.889 followed by Wayne Anderson 18.020, Justin Drawdy 18.035, Barry Willoughby 18.112 and Chet Morrison 18.153. Choquette pulled the 0 pill starting the field straight up.
As the green flag flew, it was Doyle Boatwright bringing out the yellow before one lap was down. Boatwright hit the turn 1 wall but was able to pit and come back to the race. Fans were happy to see Boatwright return as it has been many years since Boatwright had his familiar #57 in the field.
On the second start, it was Wayne Anderson to the point followed by Jeff Choquette, Justin Drawdy, Barry
Willoughby, and Chet Morrison. James Powell proved that he was back into racing as he passed Morrison for fifth and Morrison went to sixth. Choquette was busy shaking down Anderson as Powell was on Willoughby for fourth. Choquette stayed on Anderson's rear as Drawdy was on Choquette's rear and Powell passed Willoughby taking over fourth.
Choquette is charging hard coming off turn 4 and loses it and spins as he challenged Anderson for the point. Choquette was fine and returned to the race in the rear of the field for bringing out the caution. Now it was Anderson, Drawdy, Powell, Willoughby and Eric Black in the top five for the restart.
Lap 28 Dalton Zehr brings out the next caution as he spins in turn 4. Trying not to hit Zehr, a number of cars spin between 3 and 4, Sean Murphy, Mac Johnson, Mike Good, David Pollen Jr., and Patrick Conrad. Both Pollen and Conrad were towed into the pits ending their first race of 2005 early. The rest were able to repair and return to the race
Lap 38 sees the restart as Anderson leads the way followed by Drawdy, Powell, Willoughby and Black. Black challenges Willoughby for fourth but Willoughby holds strong and keeps Black in fifth. Black tries Willoughby again but brings out the caution as he spins in turns 1 and 2. Black goes in quickly and returns to the rear of the field.
The green flies again on lap 47 with Anderson, Drawdy, Powell, Willoughby and Morrison back in the top five. But the yellow comes out again for Jason Davis who spun on the backstretch. Davis goes to the rear as the green is
Jeff Choquette has been on a roll at New Smyrna Speedway, dating back to last year. (Rick Warren Photos)
shown once again on lap 51. After being sent to the rear of the field for bringing out the yellow, Choquette has worked his way back into the top five as Anderson still leads followed by Powell, Drawdy and Willoughby. Choquette sets his eyes on Willoughby in fourth but the caution comes out as Murphy spins in turn 1. The race goes back green on lap 61 with Murphy in the rear of the lead lap cars.
Suddenly Drawdy begins to slow and makes his way around to pit entrance leaving the field after a very good run. With Drawdy out the new line-up is Anderson, Powell, Choquette, Willoughby, Morrison, Good, Black, Murphy, Pratt and Ricky Wood.
Choquette puts the heat on Powell and before you know it, it is Choquette second and Powell third. Once again Anderson finds his mirror full of Jeff Choquette. Suddenly the yellow is thrown as Barry Willoughby hits the wall while passing a lap car. Willoughby is not hurt but his fantastic run was done for the night.
Choquette takes the lead on the restart followed by Anderson, Powell, Morrison, Black, Murphy, Good, Pratt, Wood, and Johnny Allen. Anderson tries to retake the lead but Choquette is not about to give an inch. Murphy passes Black and takes over fifth as Black settles into sixth. The rest is history. In his third race at New Smyrna Speedway, Jeff Choquette makes it three in a row as he crosses the start/finish line for the win of the River Fest 300. Following Choquette to the checkered was Wayne Anderson, James Powell, Chet Morrison and Sean Murphy.
The next race at New Smyrna Speedway will be February 5th and the Pete Orr Memorial Orange Blossom 100 with all divisions racing.
Choquette races with Barry Willoughby (#74) early in the River Fest 300