In what has become the second-biggest weekend of racing at New Smyrna behind the World Series of Asphalt Short Track Racing, Matt Mead made a statement on Saturday night finishing third in the Governors Cup 100 pro late model race at New Smyrna Speedway. It was the longest race of his career and the deepest field against which he has competed.
Matt and the Anthony Campi Racing team unloaded for practice prior to Saturday night’s 100-lap affair and were consistently in the top ten during each session which they took the track. Former NASCAR Cup Series drivers and late model superstars dotted the chart on both sides of Matt’s times in various practice sessions, reinforcing the size of the race in Matt’s racing career.
After qualifying, the No. 81 Toyota was slated the start outside row five with the tenth-fastest qualifying time. Over the course of 100 laps, Mead methodically ran his own race, taking advantage of opportunities on restarts to make passes while consistently running some of the fastest times on the speedway. By the end of the race, Matt had worked his way up to third behind two super late model veterans who consistently contend for wins in national-level events. Everyone else, including a former NASCAR National Series champion and Cup Series driver, finished behind him.
“We were a little bit slower in practice, but I knew that in a 100-lap race it was more about pace over the long run and saving tires,” Mead said after the race. “We had a string of cautions at one point and I was lucky enough to restart on the outside lane each time and grab two or three spots. Some other stuff happened at the end and we were able to drive it home in third. We didn't have anything for the top two, but we were able to pull away from fourth a little bit, especially in traffic.
“I'm really proud of the result,” he continued. “It exceeded my expectations as a driver and the team was happy as well. I'm just glad we finished off the season so well and can't wait for next year.”
Though specific dates have not been established, Matt is expected to return to the seat of Anthony Campi Racing’s Toyota pro late models in 2018. It is anticipated he will race at a couple of new venues and travel more than during his rookie season.
For more information on Matt Mead, visit his website at MeadRacingTeam.com and follow him on Facebook (@meadracingteam), Twitter (@mead_24) and Instagram (@mattmead24).