On Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway (FL), a Florida racing veteran scored his first career Blizzard Series victory, while a teenager from New York claimed the Blizzard Series championship.
Jesse Dutilly outdueled Giovanni Bromante on a restart with eight laps to go in the 150-lap event to take the checkered flag. Nonetheless, a runner-up finish was enough for Bromante to secure the Blizzard Series title.
Bromante had taken the lead from Jeremy Pate with 21 laps to go, but a late caution after Jett Noland came to rest on the backstretch erased his lead. On the ensuing restart, Dutilly took the top spot with eight laps to go and led the rest of the way for the win.
Dutilly is a long-time veteran of the Florida short track scene, with championships in tours such as the Sunshine State Challenge Series and the Bright House Challenge Series to his credit. However, the Bradenton native had never found victory lane at Five Flags Speedway until Saturday night.
“This place is so hard and so challenging. Eight and a half hours to get here one way. The track will just eat you up and can be really frustrating. This track is so hard. You come in here with high expectations and find a new way for it to whoop up on us every week. This is really special.”
Dutilly overcame a car that wasn’t to his liking to start the day, but came alive after the sun set in Pensacola.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who follows me around,” said Dutilly. “I was a real pain in the a—this week. The car wasn’t very good and I was frustrated. I was high-maintenance this weekend, so I want to thank everyone.”
While he was unable to finish the Blizzard Series season in victory lane as he started it in March, Bromante’s runner-up finish was enough to secure the title. Bromante charged from a 16th-place starting spot to beat out his championship rivals and pass Lucas Jones on the final night of the season.
“This is just surreal,” said Bromante. “To be the champion of the Blizzard Series is great. It’s just such a great honor. Anthony and the team put in all the hard work all year long to get me this championship. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
With the Blizzard Series championship, Bromante will be a guaranteed starter in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway on December 8. If Bromante is able to qualify into the field on his own merit, the starting spot will go to the next-highest points finisher in the Blizzard Series out of the top ten who fails to qualify on speed for the race.
Race fans who missed Saturday’s Night of Champions at Five Flags Speedway, featuring the Blizzard Series as well as the Allen Turner Hyundai Pro Late Models, can watch a replay of Speed51’s broadcast of the race by clicking here. Fans can also view Race Day Now updates from the event by clicking here.
The next on-track activity at Five Flags Speedway will be the Snowball Derby Preview on Saturday, November 23. That open practice session will set the stage for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby on December 4-8.
Official Results – Deep South Crane Blizzard Series Finale
Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, Florida
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo