PENSACOLA, Florida (December 5, 2020) — Saturday is a very busy day at the 53rd Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. From practice in morning, to qualifying and last chance racing in the afternoon, and the 22nd running of the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race, Saturday is a jam packed day of excitement and chaos.
To catch you up on how we got here, after showing an abundance of speed through practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, California’s Derek Thorn rose to the occasion on Friday night, scoring his second straight Snowball Derby pole position. Kaden Honyecutt showed his speed was no fluke, taking second, and current track record holder Ty Majeski timed into the third spot.
Controversy plagued the pole night qualifying session, as the first driver to take a timed lap, Chandler Smith, ran afoul of a long standing rule prohibiting cell phones on or near drivers and their cars in the impound area. That has resulted in Smith’s time being disallowed.
Another Smith, Sammy Smith, was the center of another dramatic moment after he was accidentally given the checkered flag after his first timed lap. This resulted in track officials allowing the Kyle Busch Motorsports team to cool down the car and give Smith another try. It didn’t help much, as Smith too failed to crack the top 30, and will have to race his way in.
Speaking of racing into the show, the list of drivers that will make up the Last Chance Qualifier is a who’s who of motorsports.
Two-time Derby winner Augie Grill will start that race from the pole after being the first driver outside of the top 30 in Friday’s time trials.
Another two-time winner, Chase Elliott, will join Grill in the LCQ, along with 2018 winner Noah Gragson.
Redbud 400, and Winchester 400 winner Carson Hocevar finds himself on the outside looking in, along with the 2020 Blizzard Series Champion Bubba Pollard.
Speaking of Pollard, he and Jeremy Pate can breathe a sigh of relief today, as they will have provisionals to fall back on, locking them into Sunday’s race. Pollard’s provisional comes from his 2020 track championship, while Pate’s is from being the second place driver in the 2020 Southern Super Series points standings (Champion Stephen Nasse having qualified in 5th on Friday makes this possible).
For those still wondering, PixelatedSPEED verified with track officials that the past winner’s provisional will not be in play this year as it is only for the previous year’s winner. Since Travis Braden timed his way into the Snowball Derby, past winners Noah Gragson, Chase Elliott, and Augie Grill MUST race their way in.
The day kicks off with Happy Hour for the Snowflake 100 and the Snowball Derby, plus tonight’s featured local division, the Outlaw Stocks.
Qualifying takes place in the middle of the day for both the Outlaws and Snowflake 100 cars.
Then, two 50 lap Last Chance Qualifiers will decide the final starting grids for both the Snowflake 100 and the Snowball Derby. The top four drivers in those events transfer on.
The main event, the 22nd Snowflake 100, is set to kick off at 7:00 PM Central tonight, with a 50 lap Outlaw Stock feature closing out the night.
This can all be seen live on Speed51.TV and of course, updates and stories can be found here on PixelatedSPEED and on social media.
Then tomorrow, all eyes will focus on the 36 drivers that will go to battle in the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby.
Here is the starting field for the Snowball Derby Last Chance Qualifier:
|1.||112 – Augie Grill|
|2.||5 – Casey Johnson|
|3.||45 – Kodie Conner|
|4.||14 – Austin Nason|
|5.||51 – Noah Gragson|
|6.||14 – Carson Hocevar|
|7.||71 – Bubba Pollard|
|8.||12 – Derek Griffith|
|9.||15 – Gabe Sommers|
|10.||119 – Dalton Zehr|
|11.||9 – Hudson Halder|
|12.||9 – Chase Elliott|
|13.||14 – Connor Okrzesik|
|14.||51 – Sammy Smith|
|15.||21 – Jeremy Pate|
|16.||4 – Kyle McCallum|
|17.||19 – Kason Plott|
|18.||88 – Perry Patino|
|19.||44 – Justin Johnson|
|20.||10 – Ryan Crane|
|21.||79 – Kyle Bryant|
|22.||8 – Colton Nelson|
|23.||26 – Chandler Smith|
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website in its 2nd full season, covering all things racing and has been going “Beyond the Headline” Since 2018. If you’ve made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. PixelatedSPEED is a part of the Gravel Media Network. Copyright – 2018 – 2020