Unnamed (18)
Cole Butcher (28) and Gio Ruggiero race side by side at SpeedFest. (Ultimate Lap photo)

Butcher, Ruggiero Among Early Entries For Clyde Hart Memorial 200

ASA STARS National Tour front runners Cole Butcher and Gio Ruggiero are among the early entries for the Clyde Hart Memorial 200 event at New Smyrna Speedway. 

The two Wilson Motorsports Teammates are part of the Toyota Racing Development program for pavement super late models, led by veteran short track team manager Bond Suss. Butcher finished runner-up to Ty Majeski in the final ASA STARS National Tour point standings, with Ruggiero placing third.

Butcher, who won last year’s ASA STARS national event — The Redbud 400 — at Anderson Speedway last July, is entered for the Clyde Hart Memorial 200 in Donnie Wilson’s No. 28 Camry.

Butcher passed his teammate, Ruggiero with 93 laps reaming at Anderson last summer, and then drove away for his first win with Wilson Motorsports. The Nova Scotia, Canada, native has had his share of success in recent years, including a win in the Oxford 250 in each of the last two years, but will be attempting to make his first-ever start at the venerable Florida half-mile in February.

Ruggiero, on the other hand, has plenty of experience at New Smyrna.

The now 16-year old from Seekonk, Maine, won a pro late model race at the track back in 2022 and ran all six World Series of Asphalt series races last spring, finishing in the top five in five of those races. He flashed into the national spotlight in May of 2023, winning the ASA STARS National Tour Tar Heel 250 at Hickory Motor Speedway.  

Ruggiero passed NASCAR Cup Series star William Byron in the last corner of the last lap, and beat him back to the checkers by just .036 for his first-ever super late model win. Ruggerio would win the Winchester 400 in October, in route to claiming both the ASA CRA Super Series championship and the ASA Southern Super Series title — the first driver to win both championships in the same year.

The Clyde Hart Memorial 200 will feature the debut of the ASA brand to New Smyrna Speedway, as the 2024 season opening event for the ASA STARS National Tour. The original ASA National Tour never raced at New Smyrna Speedway. 

The Clyde Hart Memorial 200 is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, at New Smyrna Speedway.