Jett Concrete Cements Summer Sizzler, as Choquette Wins SERF100, Kody Jett Takes Outlaw Stocks
By Chuck Corder
When an opportunity knocks, why question it?
Jeff Choquette saw an opening to regain control of the SERF 100, the second Deep South Crane Blizzard Series race and sixth of 12 Southern Super Series events, on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway and wasn’t going let it close.
Choquette stunned those in the stands, those in the pits, those in “Spottersville,” those on the track, even shocked himself, when he was able to pass the always formidable, and then-leader, Bubba Pollard on Lap 48.
Despite several Pollard pushes, Choquette never relinquished the lead and won for the first time this season at the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
“I got a good run off Turn No. 2, and I was just as surprise as everyone else to see him let me go like that,” Choquette said of Pollard. “We’ll take it because he’s so tough to beat here.”
Which is why the West Palm Beach driver of the Jett Concrete No. 9 Super Late Model wasn’t going to let a golden chance scatter like bouncing and fluttering debris.
It sure was bewildering to see Pollard, winner of the previous two Blizzard races dating back to last year, open the inside groove completely, a daring invitation to someone of Choquette’s caliber.
Pollard, the all-time leader in Blizzard victories with 13, settled for second and having to come to grips with his curious miscalculation.
“I wasn’t struggling. I let him by me,” Pollard said. “I shouldn’t have. We were about equal. We both had good cars tonight. I should’ve charged a little harder.”
The fact that made it so shocking was that Pollard was up to his old shenanigans Friday. He had the fast time in qualifying (16.445 seconds) and once again was exploiting the outside groove to pass the 21 other cats, utilizing specifically to blow by Choquette on the restarts.
“I struggled really bad on those (restarts), even the initial start I spun the tires,” admitted Choquette, who became the first repeat winner this season on the Southern Super Series.
The 22-car field was a great mixture of youth and veteran talent. While 24-year-old Casey Roderick finished third, 15-year-old Chandler Smith was fourth and fellow teenager Garrett Jones fourth.
Smith is already projected as the new Southern Super Series points leader when the new standings come out next week. Smith overtook Stephen Nasse, whose night ended in Pensacola when he was a part of a multi-car crash at the top of Turn No. 1 with 45 laps complete.
Roderick was consistent all night, he didn’t fall farther than fourth, but never quite had the extra gear to make a run toward the two leaders who were a straight-mile ahead of Roderick and the competition.
“I wish I had something there at end for the first and second cars,” Roderick said of Choquette and Pollard. “They are some really good cars, and we’ve got work to do to catch them. I’m proud to be here (in third), but I wanted a little more.”
Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks
Jett Concrete has been a contender in recent years at Five Flags Speedway.
Mostly, it has been skilled late model driver Jeff Choquette carrying the torch for the Jacksonville-area racing team. But, he has to move over and share the mantle now.
Kody Jett took the lead in the 35-lap Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks feature following an early restart en route to his first career victory at Five Flags Speedway.
Milton’s Gary Sutton finished second and Panama City 60-year-old Corbitt Moseley rallied from the back of the pack to round out the podium.
“I’ve gotta thank the whole team for this,” an exhausted and emotional Jett said. “I got into (Moseley) a little bit, and I didn’t mean to do that. I have to say thanks to Gary for racing me clean.”
Sutton, who enjoyed a dominant win last month, wasn’t as pleased with what he believed to be Jett’s tactics.
“We had a really good car,” Sutton said. “(Jett) ran right over top car twice. We’ll get it back, though, and straighten it out. We’ll gain on (Jett).”
With Sutton leading the race and Moseley hot on his trail, the 17-car field dealt with a pair of cautions in consecutive laps for separate incidents
During the second yellow, track officials ruled Moseley’s No. 26 needed to go to the points to be repaired for earlier damage he sustained. Crocker came to pits, as well.
Jett fired off a great restart and cleared Sutton in Turn No. 4 thanks to a nifty and daring move. The two spent the deciding revolution of the famed half-mile asphalt oval banging back and forth.
Moseley made a hard charge back to the front and in the top-10 after restarting at the tail end.
“We had a good time tonight,” said Moseley, who won the Outlaw Stocks season opener. “We had fun racing with these guys. A few little fender benders, but it’s all a part of racing.”
The feature continued without incident and Jett building a full-second lead over Sutton until the field reached Lap 33.
With two to go, Joe Mahuron brought out the caution and things appeared as if they would get interesting quickly.
Thankfully for Jett, though, once the field went back to green, he picked up right where he left off and never looked back.
Molino driver Jarrett Parker is talented enough that he doesn’t need any help to get wins at Five Flags.
After all, Parker won the Pro Trucks version of the Snowball Derby in December in impressive fashion.
But he certainly got an assist when then-race-leader, and series points leader, Jay Jay Day missed a shift during a mid-feature restart.
Parker blew past Day on Lap 11 of the 30-lap feature and cruised to his first victory at Pensacola’s high banks this season.
Day, whose struggles pushed him all the way down to sixth, rallied home with a runner-up finish, following the disqualification of Jason Welch in technical inspection. Clint Holmes moved from fourth to third with Welch’s DQ.
“I’m not too happy this week,” said Day, whose points advantage took a hit despite his podium finish. “We had best truck. We just lost it on the restart. I’m upset. We work too hard. That’s not what we’re looking for. We’re way better.”
Initially, it appeared as though Day had another one of his fantastic restarts. But, as he led the 12-car field past the flag stand, things suddenly soured.
That’s when Parker pounced.
The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen
Brannon Fowler has certainly enjoyed higher-profile wins than the one he basked in Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
But it’s not often when a trip to Victory Lane is overshadowed by those that finish behind you.
That was the case for Fowler, the Molino driver, who captured his third 25-lap The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen feature of the season with relative ease while an impromptu demolition derby played out behind him. Jimbo Walker scored the runner-up slot, which is his best career finish at the famed half-mile asphalt oval. Mark Barnhill rounded out the podium.
“I hope we put on show for the fans,” Fowler said.
That was the understatement of the night.
As the eight-car field came to the opening green flag, Fowler, Banrhill and Steve Buttrick — the only drivers who have won Sportsmen features this season — started at the tail end, hoping to add a little spice to the race.
Mission accomplished. Tempers first flared between Jim Pokrant and Hunter McNair. Via Speed51.com’s online broadcast, footage showed McNair absolutely steamrolling into the left rear of Pokrant’s Blue Angels-themed No. 07, immediately bringing out the caution.
A yellow wasn’t good enough for Pokrant, who retaliated on the backstretch by hooking McNair and ramming the No. 9 into the outside wall with so much force smoke billowed from underneath the tires.
The only thing missing was a wet track and old beat-up clunkers with skulls and crossbones and other sorts of graffiti spray-painted on.
That ended Pokrant’s on-track outburst. Once he pulled into the pits and turned onto the inside quarter-mile, Pokrant still had some anger to let fly. He nearly came to blows with McNair’s brother and racing team before law enforcement stepped between both parties and allowing cooler heads to prevail.
While all that was going on, Fowler was cruising out front, as Barnhill and Buttrick swapped paint in a fierce battle for second.
“I got into Buttrick, and we’ve already made up,” Barnhill said, taking some accountability for the hard racing. “I just hope we put on a good show for the fans. That was some pretty good racing out there.”
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks
Tommie Blocker will forever remember this Friday night at Five Flags Speedway: His first career Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks 20-lap feature victory.
It is certainly a milestone that he should cherish for the rest of his life and a tale he’ll forever entertain with when describing his passion for racing, the night he tamed the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
But, like with all good storytellers, our narrator must have challenges to overcome. Blocker’s will be the fact that, perhaps, he was a bit too aggressive in taking the lead just before the white flag flew.
Blocker used his bumper to move then-leader David Johnson out of the way coming out of Turn No. 4. Blocker dove deep on the inside of Johnson and nudged him enough that Johnson’s No. 111 was nearly perpendicular to the inside wall.
Yet somehow Johnson saved the car from spinning and the race stayed green, allowing Blocker to squeeze underneath and assume P1, as he held off a chaotic scene on the final lap to embrace glory for the first time at Five Flags.
“I really want to apologize David Johnson,” Blocker said, the first words out of his mouth. “We’ve raced each other clean a long time. I can definitely say it was just one of them racing things.
“It’s my first feature win here and I’ve had a lotta close times, but this is a major monkey off my back.”
Tony Boyd finished second and Mobile driver Johnathan Day added to his series points lead by rounding out the podium.
“I had to be patient there at the end to stay outta trouble,” Day said. “I’m super happy for Tommie Blocker. And, overall, we’re happy, too.”