It may be too early to start hanging up the Christmas lights, but now is the time of year that everyone’s attention turns towards December for the biggest short track event of the season: Snowball Derby week.
While the Snowball has always been the premier Super Late Model race to watch on Sunday, its sister Pro Late Model show, the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, has grown in prestige since Gary St. Amant first won the race back in 1999.
If you’re a Southern Pro Late Model driver, there’s no better place to compete at during the regular racing season than Five Flags Speedway (FL) in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model series. Four points races comprise the season at the famous Pensacola half-mile oval and determine an overall champion in September.
The series also offers two starting provisional spots in the Snowflake, which is available (in order) to the top 10 drivers in the points standings. If the original beneficiaries of the provisional spots qualify into the race, the spots go to the next two drivers in points, and so on.
Now that the Allen Turner Pro Late Model season of 2018 is halfway though, we’re taking a look at where drivers stand heading into the penultimate race this Friday at Five Flags.
Points Leader: Looking back at the first half of the Allen Turner Pro Late Model season, it’s been a repeat of the Casey Roderick show that originally aired back in 2017. Roderick has won both of the 100-lap features this season by a considerable margin (during lap 87 of the July race, Roderick led by 4 seconds). Thanks to his dominance in the Ronnie Sanders No. 18 machine, Roderick leads the points standings by 21 digits.
Provisional Spots: Right now, the championship and the first provisional spot belong to Roderick, though it is unlikely he will forgo qualifying for the Snowflake (he’s got a rematch with a fellow Georgian). That leaves Long Island, New York native Giovanni Bromante (second in points) and Chris Davidson of Pearland, Texas (third in points) next in line for the provisional positions.
Possible Players: There may be only two races left to go, but the point standings aren’t set in stone. Other possible recipients of the two provisional spots include seven drivers from three different states. Listed in order of points: Cole Anderson (MN), Derrick Griffin (IN), Dustin Smith (AL), Perry Patino (AL), Connor Okrzesik (AL), Ryan Paul (AL) and Cole Daffron (AL).
Practice Makes Perfect: Neither Perry Patino, nor Connor Okrzesik completed the first Allen Turner Pro Late Model race. Patino went out on lap 73 and 10 laps later, so did Okrzesik. The pair of Alabama young guns drastically improved their performances in the second go-round at Five Flags, both taking home top-five finishes (Patino was only one spot short of a victory to Roderick).
Peculiar Facts: Back in March, Casey Roderick qualified on the pole for the first Allen Turner Pro Late Model race, while Cole Anderson was second fastest. No, this isn’t the peculiar part, keep reading. In the second race of the season, Cole Anderson qualified on the pole, while Roderick was second. Weird coincidence, right? Still not done, though. For both features, giant inflatable dice were rolled to determine the invert. For both features, the dice landed on two. So, for two races in a row, Anderson and Roderick swapped positions (first Roderick relinquishing the pole, then Anderson) on the front row of the starting lineup.
Allen Turner Pro Late Model
Current Points Standings
-Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com