The last time Daniel Keene Jr. turned a wheel at Desoto Speedway six years ago, he found himself sitting in victory lane.
That layoff proved not to be a detriment to Keene, who led all 75 laps of Saturday night's Turner Tree & Landscape Super Late Model feature event at the three-eighths mile oval.
A 12-car inversion put Keene and Brian Blum on the front row, with fast qualifier Jesse Dutilly of Bradenton and Sarasota's Anthony Campi being forced to start 12th and 11th respectively. Keene jumped out to the lead on the start and began pulling away until the caution flew for Dusty Cornelius' spin on lap 10.
Dutilly moved up to seventh by the 15-lap mark. On a lap 22 restart, Dutilly was sixth with Campi directly behind in seventh. Campi and Dutilly were fighting side by side for fifth when a spin by Bradenton's Dennis Colletti brought out the yellow flag.
Campi would get by Dutilly for third with 15 laps left in the race and began running down Keene and Chris Fontaine, who had moved into second place at the halfway point of the race. With seven laps to go, Fontaine got to Keene's rear bumper coming out of turn four.
The two made contact going down the main straightaway, but Keene was able to maintain his lead as the cars made their way down the back stretch.
"I caught him at a spot where I knew I was faster," Fontaine said. "He messed up and I got a little advantage. I knew I was going to have to touch him a little bit but I definitely didn't mean to get into him that hard. I'm glad he saved it."
The contact allowed Campi to close on Fontaine's rear bumper and all three cars were nose-to-tail over the final five laps. Fontaine made one last effort to grab the lead going into turn three on the final lap, but Keene would hold on and collect a wire-to-wire win.
"This car was great tonight," Keene said in victory lane. "The last time we were here was in 2008, and we also won that night. It's nice to come back again and back that night up."
Fontaine held off Campi's last-second charge for second.
I wore the car out running him (Keene) down," Fontaine said. "I wore myself out trying to catch him and I had nothing left when I got there. We'll definitely take second tonight."
Campi said he was trying to run clean all night and had the race been 100 laps, the result may have been a little different. "We had a long-run setup and we just ran out of time," Campi said.
Dutilly finished fourth, while Jake Perkins rounded out the top five.
In other action Saturday night, Bradneton's Dennis Wilson, Jr. won the 30-lap Street Stock feature; Darren Bass won the Dwarf Car feature; Ronnie Robinson took the win in the Pro 4 division; and Zach Rogers took the win in the Rookie 4 division.
Desoto Speedway returns to action next Saturday night with the opening race of the Joey Coulter Florida Pro Truck Series opening race. The series is named for current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter. Pure Stocks, Modified Minis, Dwarf Cars, Legends, Open Wheel Modifieds and Mini Stocks will all also be in action.
DESOTO SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS
Super Late Model
1. 5k Daniel Keene Jr. Weekiwachee
2. 47 Chris Fontaine Lakeland
3. 81 Anthony Campi Sarasota
4. 30 Jesse Dutilly Bradenton
5. 59 Jake Perkins Ocala
6. 20 Anthony Sergi Geneva
7. 51x Steven Nasse Pinellas Park
8. 5 Joe Boyd Riverview
9. 82 Brian Blum Margate
10. 09 Scott Grosenbacher San Ontonio
11. 51 Michael Atwell Naples
12. 5x Steve Gill Sarasota
13. 56 Brian Richardson Cape Coral
14. 77x Tuffy Hester Lakeland
15. 151 Nick Neri Palmetto
16. 4 Dennis Colletti Bradenton
17. 128 Dylan Bigley Naples
18. 28 Billy Bigley Naples
19. 77 Scot Walters Naples
20. 33 Chris Loney Naples
21. 7 Daryl Shelnut Lake City
22. 29 Zach Rudd Naples
23. 22 Dusty Cornelius Cocoa
24. 79 Dakota Stevens Tampa