Derek Thorn Wins 21st Snowflake 100 in Pensacola

Derek Thorn emerges victorious after winning the 21st Snowflake 100. (Ben Kilcrease/PixelatedSPEED)

PENSACOLA, Florida (December 8, 2019) — Saturday night’s 21st running of the Snowflake 100 was a battle fought just shy of the three quarter mark. After passing pole sitter Augie Grill on lap 65, California’s Derek Thorn pulled away and maintained a lead resulting in victory; a perfect primer for the 52nd Snowball Derby pole sitter going into Sunday.

Augie Grill started from the pole and kept the lead, trudging through caution, after caution… and three red flags, until leaving the door open late, giving Thorn his opportunity.

“I just wanted to get going green,” said second place Grill. “I’m sure Derek and Bubba where the same way. I think we had about even cars, I just needed to be in front of him, not behind him.”

“He caught me sleeping on that restart and got under me on the back straightaway,” said Grill. “I was a little surprised and then Bubba got by and then we had another caution and I took too  long to get back by Bubba and just wasn’t able to get back to him.”

Thorn took full advantage of the opportunity afforded by Grill after having a less than stellar car to work with in his eyes.

“I was just winging it, to be honest,” said Thorn. “Augie and Pollard are both phenomenal here, so just try to go to school and learn what you can… ride while they’re ridin’ because obviously they know more than I do.”

“Tried to stay at pace with the two of them, and just kind of save there until the end,” he continued. “Augie left me a hole getting into three, I got a good run on the backstretch and I was able to get underneath them and get him out of the way just a little bit.

“The car was really good at the end,” he added. “It wasn’t really all that good in the mid portion of the race, and I was kind of worried there we wouldn’t have what we needed at the end, but man it was handling well there at the end of the race.”

Sammy Smith emerged from the chaos to take third place, driving for the same team that won this event last year.

“Before the red flag (not sure which one) I thought we were really good,” said Smith. “We struggled with short runs, and everytime we had a restart it was just tight and it took about seven laps to get it going.”

“We just kept fighting until the end, then we had that long green flag run and we were pretty good,” he added.

Of all the yellows that flew on this night, perhaps one was more significant than the others.

On lap 54, Jarrett Parker and Justin Bonnett made heavy contact in turn three after Parker lost his ability to brake. The crash was so hard that Parker’s fuel cell was ripped away from the car, and ruptured.

The area around the incident burst into flames, partially engulfing the Bonnett car in the process. Bonnett received a broken leg and burns from the crash.

A statement released by the Bonnett family reads:

“Justin has sustained a broken leg and burns and is being treated as I type this. Thank you to everyone who helped extinguish the fire and help get him out of the car.”

Although shaken, Parker was unharmed in the crash.

Results – 21st Annual Allen Turner Snowflake 100:

1 43T Derek Thorn

2 112G Augie Grill

3 81 Sammy Smith

4 43S Justin South

5 51S Stephen Nasse

6 26 Bubba Pollard

7 7 Jackson Boone

8 22 Brandon Oakley

9 15 Jake Johnson

10 4P Kyle Plott

11 50 Jett Noland

12 12L Dan Leeck

13 43D Daniel Dye

14 24 Mason Diaz

15 33 Dustin Smith

16 5 Rodrigo Rejon

17 88M Trever McCoy

18 88G Jake Griffin

19 11M Kyle McCallum

20 29H Chris Hacker

21 18 Ryan Paul

22 29K Mason Keller

23 89 Dylan Fetcho

24 14H Carson Hocevar

25 112M Mike Garvey

26 1 Wayne Anderson

27 11W JoJo Wilkinson

28 11C Stacey Crain

29 46 Jarrett Parker

30 12B Justin Bonnett

31 51P Perry Patino

32 00 Brandon Curren

33 14C Connor Okrzesik

34 59 Billy Melvin

35 4M Elliott Massey

36 58 Cody Brake

37 11B Jacob Beasock

– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

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PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been going "Beyond the Headline" since 2018”.