New Smyrna Beach, FL (Thursday, February 16, 2023) - After nearly a week of having strong race cars, Dryden, Michigan’s Katie Hettinger wins the Thursday night Pro Late Model feature at New Smyrna Speedway. Hettinger, so far, has a 12th, a 2nd, a 3rd, a 32 (DNF), and now a win. Hettinger’s Anthony Campi Racing team has been close to wins all of the World Series, including her finishes outside of the podium. The 15-year-old’s trip to victory lane has been a popular one so far.
Hettinger started on the outside of Carson Brown, who punched his ticket to Victory Lane earlier in the week. The initial start was called back after Hettinger jumped the gun on Brown. On the next attempt, Brown and Hettinger ran into turn one side-by-side. Brown pushed Hettinger high getting into turn one and took the lead down the backstretch. Brown led the entire race with Hettinger in his tire tracks the entire time.
With less than 10 laps to go, Hettinger took her shot to take the lead when she applied to bumper to Brown at the exit of turn four. Brown was able to gather the car back up and Hettinger slid back into the second spot. Off turn two, Brown got loose giving Hettinger the chance to get back to his inside. At the exit of turn four, Hettinger again got the power down, as Brown got loose, and pulled to his inside officially taking the lead on lap seven. Heading down into turn one, Hettinger and Brown made contact, Hettinger was able to take the lead while Brown gathered back up his Rackley WAR no. 25.
Over the next seven laps, Hettinger pulled away from Brown who eventually lost the second spot to Ryan Luza. Hettinger grabbed the win in the 35-lap feature by 1.086 seconds over Luza. Brown held on for third, Conner Jones fourth and Brent Crews rounded out the top five.
The final Pro Late Model race of the week is next for Hettinger and New Smyrna Speedway with the Hart to Heart 100. Racing begins at 7:30PM and fans can watch live on FloRacing.
Story - Zach Hiser
Photo - NASCAR Roots