TIME TO RACE!!
Jeff Choquette tops 35 car field to win 39th Annual Governor's Cup
|by Jane Smith
Samsula, Fla. (November 20, 2004) A perfect day, a perfect night greeted fans at New Smyrna Speedway as they filled the stands for the 39th Governor's Cup. Thirty five of the South's best Super Lates were on hand to give the fans plenty of exciting action as Justin Drawdy of Ft. Pierce broke the track record in his qualifying lap with Travis Kittleson of Merritt Island breaking the record. The field was set with thirty five of the best and best they are.
Pre-race ceremonies included State Senator Bill Posey reading a letter from Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the crowd along with Grand Marshall David Rogers saying something that touched many hearts. "I never thought I would be saying this but gentleman, start your engines."
David Rogers has run every Governor Cup for the last 30 years and it was only because of an accident this year at Orlando SpeedWorld that his No. 11 TM Ranch Dodge was not in the field. Rogers also has won the Governor's Cup twice and hopefully again soon.
The thirty five car field saw some new faces to Florida stock car racing. Chase Austin of Edoria, Kansas is a 15 year old 9th grade student who comes to asphalt stock car racing from driving a dirt Late Model and Sprint car. Butch Miller, well known and respected in the sport of auto racing, was his crew chief. This was Chase's first big asphalt race and he did very welll.
Travis Swain was the 2004 Caroway Speedway Late Model Champion in North Carolina and was behind the wheel of the No. 30 Bobby Orr Crew-Chief chevy. Swain is 25 years old and has been racing for two years and took to racing like "a duck to water".
Also in the field was Travis Kittleson of Merritt Island and Jay Middleton of Lake City who both ran the 2004 ASA circuit. And for the first time in many years, two Cope cars were in the field - Mike and Jimmy Cope. What a site to see again.
Justin Drawdy set on the pole for the 200 lap event and quickly jumped to the point on the green followed by Jacob Warren, Travis Kittleson, Jeff Scofield and Wayne Anderson. For the first 19 laps, it was smooth sailing until Patrick Conrad brought out the yellow when he spun coming off four going into the frontstretch. The field was realigned and the race was back on.
Drawdy held the point although he had some fighting going on behind him. On lap 37, Wayne Morris brought out the yellow when he had problems with his Do-Rite Communications ride and slowly nursed her around the track. The race goes back green on lap 40. Next to have problems is Travis Kittleson who ends up really squirrelly going down the frontstretch but does a great job of saving the car from a head-on wall hit. Kittleson ends his night early being towed into the pits.
Top ten on the restart are Justin Drawdy, Jacob Warren, Jeff Scofield, Wayne Anderson, Mike Fritts, B.J. McLeod, Jeff Choquette, Jay Middleton, Jimmy Cope and Barry Willoughby. Fritts put the pedal down and passes Anderson taking over fourth as Willoughby passes Cope for tenth. Choquette goes on the charge and takes over fifth as Anderson slides back.
J.R. McMickle of Davey brings out the yellow when he spins in turns 1 and 2 on lap 90. On the restart, David Pollen Jr.of Tampa has problems on the restart and spins going down the frontstretch causing the yellow to come out again. On the restart, it is Drawdy, Warren, Scofield, Fritts and Middleton.
The yellow comes out again for Barry Willoughby's bumper which has come off in turns 3 and 4 with cars dodging every which away. Down for the night in the craziness was Scotty Crockett, Brian Finney, Barry Willoughby, with Sean Murphy having damage. All are done for the night except for Sean Murphy.
Quite a few cars decide to pit since it is basically halfway with the new leader of the race being Jay Middleton followed by Mike Cope, Jeff Choquette, Mike Franklin and Jimmy Cope. The yellow comes out for a spin in turn 4 and quickly returns to green as Middleton leads the way over the field. A short green another yellow and new leader is Jeff Choquette with Fritts, Cope, Franklin and Drawdy in the top five.
Fritts tries to rattle young Choquette's cage but finds he is not easy to rattle as Choquette holds the point. Scofield takes over fourth from Franklin sliding Franklin to fifth. It is obvious that Scofield wants the point as he passes Jimmy Cope for third. Coming off four Choquette gets loose and Fritts take advantage and takes over the point with Choquette in second followed by Scofield, Warren and Jimmy Cope.
Scofield is able to pass Choquette and takes aim on Fritts who is now leading when Fritts has problems and slowly slides backwards into the field leaving Scofield on the point. Scofield and Choquette are doing some heavy side-by-side action when they touch sending Scofield into a wild ride. With two laps to go, Scofield is not exactly happy.
Choquette is now faced with a green, white, checkered and proves he has the stuff to make it work. Choquette, who is only 17 years old, takes the checkered winning the 39th Annual Governor's Cup followed by Jacob Warren, Jimmy Cope, Mike Franklin and Mike Cope.
In Victory Lane, Choquette told the fans that "this was a dream come true." It was later announced that Wayne Anderson won the Sunbelt Super Late Model Championship for 2004 with Jeff Scofield as the 2004 Triple Crown Champion. Congratulations to them all.
39th Governor's Cup
1. #70 Jeff Choquette, Royal Palm Beach
2. #51 Jacob Warren, Orlando
3. #61 Jimmy Cope, St. Pete
4. #57 Mike Franklin, Ocala
5. #25 Mike Cope, Weekiwachee
6. #27 Mike Good, Lake Mary
7. #47 Chris Fontaine, Lakeland
8. #74J Jay Middleton, Lake City
9. #12 Justin Drawdy, Ft. Pierce
10. #32 Sean Murphy, Ft. Lauderdale
11. #0 Rich Pratt, Anthony
12. #10 Ryan Foster, Lowell, Arkansas
13. #70x James Glover, Pinellas Park
14. #07 Jeff Scofield, Plant City
15. #64 Bobby Coyle, Ft. Lauderdale
16. #27x Mike Fritts, Debary
17. #14 Mario Maresca, Ft. Lauderdale
18. #11 Chase Austin, Edoria, Kansas
19. #1 Fain Skinner, Land O'Lakes
20. #88 David Pollen, Jr., Tampa
21. #92 Wayne Anderson, Wildwood
22. #32x Michael Williams, Mims
23. #74 Barry Willoughby, Port St. Lucie
24. #30 Travis Swain, Caroway, S.C.
25. #80 Brian Finney, Merritt Island
26. #9r Patrick Conrad, Clermont
27. #28 Scotty Crockett, Land O'Lakes
28. #78 B.J. McLeod, Wauchula
29. #9 J.R. McMickle, Davey
30. #88x Travis Kittleson, Merritt Island
31. #86 Chet Morrison, Houma, LA
32. #6 Dwayne Dempsey, St. Pete
33. #98 Wayne Morris, Mulberry
34. #17 James Powell, Astor
35. #21 Scott Reeves, Royal Palm Beach
2004 Sunbelt Super Late Model Champion - Wayne Anderson
2004 Triple Crown Winner Jeff Scofield
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