Anderson Claims Florida's Governor's Cup for the Third Time by Jeremy Davidson
Wayne Anderson Adds His Name to the FL Three-Peat at New Smyrna
Wayne Anderson, of Wildwood, Fla., won the 43rd annual Governor’s Cup 200 for Super Late Models at New Smyrna Speedway. It was Anderson’s third Governor’s Cup victory since 1999 and the fifth time his family’s name gets etched on the trophy. Anderson’s father, Dick, won this race twice, in 1988 and 1989. Tim Russell finished second, followed by Billy Mowery, Chad Pierce and Travis Cope in fifth place. Defending race winner Jeff Choquette finished sixth.
“A lot of good people have won the Governor’s Cup,” said Anderson. “To win it three times – what a privilege. People I’ve looked up to for a long, long time have won it. Three times? Man, I’m just a lucky person.”
Anderson started the 200-lapper from the pole and never raced outside the top two. Russell, starting alongside Anderson on the front row, grabbed the lead on the first lap. The two Florida stars were the locked in a close battle for the entire race.
The 26-car field trudged through five yellow flags in the first 40 laps. On the fifth restart, Anderson re-gained the lead from Russell on the outside of turn two.
“When we got up front, we got a little loose up there and Wayne was able to get by me on the restart,” said Russell.
“Man, I could just never get a break with Timmy running me that hard,” said Anderson. “I finally changed lanes. If I saw him move up, I moved up.”
Later, trying to gain any advantage he could, Russell made the first move onto pit road, when the field pitted for tires and fuel during a lap 124 caution. Anderson quickly
responded to the move by Russell, however, and the leaders pitted together. Cope gambled with his pit strategy, taking just two tires in order to claim the lead position when the race restarted on lap 133.
Cope’s aggressive pit strategy was no match for Anderson, who was the next driver to complete his stop and exit pit road. Anderson overtook Cope for the lead after a lap 133 restart, but it wasn’t without incident. As Anderson completed his pass, the pair made hard contact on the backstretch and Cope was sent spinning towards the infield wall.
“I hate that me and [Cope] touched on the backstretch,” said Anderson. “When he came up, I thought I was going to get into the pit gate and I moved down a little bit and bumped into him. He had a good run going, too.”
Wayne Anderson shows off his Governor's Cup hardware for the third time. (51 Photos)
Fortunately for Cope, there was no major damage and the race restarted on lap 142 – looking much like it did for the first half, with Anderson leading Russell. By lap 160, the two leaders had built a five-second lead over the field. The gap grew to nearly nine seconds as they navigated lapped traffic in the closing laps. A final caution with 17 laps remaining setup Anderson for one final restart, which Russell couldn’t contend after his transmission became stuck in fourth gear under caution.
“It was a heck of a race,” said Russell. “We were finding a lot of different grooves out here. I thought we were pretty good after the pit stops. But on that last restart, we got the transmission stuck in high gear, so it took me a couple of laps to get wound up and going. I finally found my marks that I’d been hitting earlier and the groove that was working. I wish we could’ve been in victory lane tonight but second’s a good spot, so we’ll take it.”
Anderson’s winning ride was a Port City chassis powered by Progressive Race Engines. Anderson became the third driver to win the Governor’s Cup on three occasions. He joins Ed Howe, Jimmy Cope and Bobby Gill as the only drivers to win this fall classic three times.
A packed house at New Smyrna watches the Governor's Cup, one of the biggest SLM races in the Sunshine State.