With an uncertain future ahead of him, Chase Purdy closed out the 2018 season on a positive note, winning a hectic Allen Turner Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
Purdy took the lead from Casey Roderick on lap 28, just before one of several cautions during the first half of an incident-filled affair to close out the year for Pro Late Models. When the race stayed clean and green for the second half, Purdy jumped out to a cushion, running away from Bubba Pollard and Connor Okrzesik to win the event.
The win comes after a tumultuous two weeks for Snowflake entrants, as the race had been originally scheduled for each of the past two Saturdays before finally occurring late Sunday evening due to weather postponements.
“This is all you can do,” Purdy said in victory lane. “You couldn’t ask for a better car from Anthony Campi, and Branden Lines did a great job on top of the roof. All the guys who put all the hard work into this thing. They stayed after the Derby for a whole week and cleaned this bad boy up and got it ready to go.”
The victory also comes at a career crossroads for Purdy. Despite a fourth-place finish in ARCA Racing Series points and a win in the ARCA Midwest Tour’s Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway, Purdy lacks funding for next season. He hopes Sunday’s win opens some doors.
“As far as the future goes, we’re still trying,” Purdy said. “I guess this is one way to prove it.”
The 19-year-old from Meridian, Mississippi showed great patience in surviving the chaotic opening to the race before finding the lead and settling into his rhythm.
“A lot of guys took off early,” Purdy explained. “I let them go and do their own thing for a little bit. Once I got control of the race and was the leader, I controlled the pace and I knew I could keep a faster pace. That’s what I did. With about 20 to go, I just pulled the trigger.”
Purdy took great pride in winning against some of the best Late Model drivers in the country at the Snowflake 100. While the Super Late Model field at the Snowball Derby draws more attention, many top drivers compete in both the Snowball and Snowflake, with several heavy hitters making the return trip for Sunday’s postponed event.
“For me, it’s a really big deal for me as a driver,” Purdy said. “To come out here and outrun some of the best, like Bubba Pollard and Casey Roderick, is a huge deal. I have so much respect for those guys. To get out here and beat them, as tough as they’ve been for years, is really cool.”
Beating Pollard in a Pro Late Model race in 2018 was an accomplishment of its own. After nine consecutive wins in his newest Pro Late Model machine, Purdy ended an undefeated run in the category for Pollard.
Pollard finished second at the conclusion of 100 laps, but still had a smile on his face while holding his daughter on the frontstretch following the runner-up finish.
“This is what it’s all about right here, family,” Pollard said. “What a long two weeks. It’s been crazy, and a crazy race on top of that. Just couldn’t get no rhythm going with everything going on.”
While weather was unfavorable at times on Sunday, with a mist settling over the race track following a rain delay between the Modifieds of Mayhem feature and the Snowflake 100 which canceled qualifying for the Pro Late Model teams, Pollard chalked up the attrition to impatience rather than track conditions.
“The race track really wasn’t that bad,” Pollard said. “Just people not using their heads was the biggest thing.
“We didn’t have a good restart that last restart when we needed to have it,” Pollard added, discussing the final restart just past halfway. “Chase kept us pinched down in the wet stuff coming off four. He did what he needed to do to win the race, and we couldn’t recover after that.”
Race fans who missed the Snowflake 100 can watch every lap of the race on Speed51.com. Click here to watch our on-demand replay of the Snowflake 100, or click here to view our Trackside Now live updates from the race.
Snowflake 100 Unofficial Results
|28||30K||Bobby Knox Jr|
-Story by Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com