After waiting nine days to run their portion of the Snowball Derby, the Modifieds of Mayhem Tour finally waved the checkered flag on the 2018 season Sunday afternoon at Five Flags Speedway.
Through a race marred by multiple yellow and red flag periods, the front runners shined all race long, with Augie Grill chasing down early dominator Derrick Griffin and holding off Kyle Purvis for his second straight win at the Snowball Derby in a Modified.
The field came up four laps short of the original 75-lap distance, with a late-race crash involving Billy Melvin and Jason Mormon, plus a heavy mist, scratching a final showdown between Grill and Purvis.
“Hate that we couldn’t race there at the end, I think the 13 (Purvis) was about to give me a run for my money there,” Grill told Speed51.com in victory lane. “Wish we could’ve run those last couple of laps green. Kyle got by me on one of the restarts and luckily, we had another caution and I got to redeem myself.
“It just took my car a couple of laps to get going. Once it got going it rolled good, and I could get off the corner good. Those last few laps, you never know, you could miss a gear or whatever.”
The win on Sunday now give Grill a total of seven career wins on Snowball Derby weekend. In addition to his two Modified wins the last two years, he is a two-time Snowball Derby winner and three-time Snowflake 100 winner.
“It’s a pretty cool thing, this will be the seventh time I’ve been down here for the Snowball Derby weekend and won a race,” Grill stated. “I don’t know if anyone else has done that, I’d like to have my name on something nobody else has. Maybe next year I’ll try Outlaw Stock or Trucks, you never know.”
Despite feeling that he had lost an opportunity to go for the win, Purvis was thankful for the opportunity to be able to compete for the victory and appreciative of the sportsmanship Grill had shown him after the race.
“Definitely, it was real fun racing Augie. He’s one of the best in the country and especially here,” Purvis said. “He came over after the race and said, ‘It was going to get interesting because I knew you had something for me,’”.
Once coming oh so close, the Ohio driver is more determined than ever to return to Five Flags Speedway in 2019 to finally get that Derby trophy.
“We’re due for one of these and this is one I definitely one I want to check off my bucket list, and we just can’t get it done for some reason. We’ve won a lot of prestigious races in the Modified at Bristol, Winchester, the Fall Brawl, and this is the one I want to be able to say that I got.”
Doug Moff had charged through the field to make the lead battle a three-car affair, finishing in the third position. However, Moff was stripped of his position after a disqualification in post-race technical inspection.
This promoted Donnie Hamrac to the third-place finish, with Steve Arnold and Jim Walls rounding the top five.
Billy Melvin was assisted from his car after the race-ending accident. Melvin was awake, alert and talking prior to being transported to the hospital for leg injuries. Speed51 will have further updates when they become available.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com