BARBERVILLE, Fla. — School was in session for the 604 Late Models at the inaugural Battle in Barberville, Saturday night.
The teacher was Derike Bennett, who led every lap of the 30-lap feature to capture the $3,000 purse.
“Once the race began, I needed to get to the lead and set my own pace,” Bennett said. “That long green flag run started to become worn on me a little bit. But other than that, the race went great, and all went as planned.”
Bennett, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, had a commanding night — winning heat two and drawing the Pole position for the feature.
“The only adjustments I needed to make was a little tune right before the Feature to get the car to turn better,” Bennett said. “The traction was in the track, and getting the car to turn was what helped get to where I needed to be. I want to thank my family and Extreme Racing Engines. I can’t do this alone for sure.”
Dustin Carter came home second after a night of dueling with the competition around him. The No. 5 Action Graphix Late Model won Heat 1 and stayed inside the top three the entire Feature. The Decatur, Ga., driver battled the car the entire night, but he smiled on a podium finish to end the 2022 season.
Closing out the podium, 2022 604 Late Model track champion Joe Kump has a lot to be happy about with how the season played out.
“We had a lot of good consistency this year,” Kump said. “It’s been a long year, a lot of crazy things in the year to make it exciting, maybe we can try to do it again next year.”
The Lake Helen, Fla., driver ran second in heat one and started fourth after the redraw. Once the race began, he quickly jumped to third and kept it safe to round out the podium.
“I was kinda concerned on the start because I was on the outside,” Kump said. “But, once we got to lap three, it was follow the leader and focused on hitting my marks.”
Wrapping up the top five in the Feature was Garret Stewart and Clay Bedenbaugh. Stewart earned the Action Graphix Hard Charger Award after charging up three spots from his starting position.
Big Block Modified star Demetrios Drellos finished seventh, completing his first weekend in a 604 Late Model.