Thursday’s Snowball Derby Outlaw Stock feature was packed with local racers, but many eyes fell on the speedy pair of Derrick Griffin and Stephen Nasse, who battled for the pole during qualifying. However, in a longer formatted race than the division normally runs, it wasn’t about being the fastest as much as it was about getting to the finish.
Derrick Griffin dominated the first half of the 50-lap Outlaw Stock feature after setting a new track record in qualifying. However, following a long red flag to clean up a front stretch accident, Jeremy Pate took the lead away from a suddenly struggling Griffin. Pate was able to stretch out his lead over a fading Stephen Nasse, eventually sealing the Snowball Derby Outlaw Stock feature win over Joe Bethea Jr.
While Pate ran away with the win in the second half of the feature, the two fastest cars struggled and eventually suffered a similar fate. Griffin, after pitting for a right front tire, crashed out of the feature on the following restart. Nasse, who ran second most of the night to Griffin, appeared to run out of rubber and eventually spun on the final lap, just short of the finish line.
Pate was excited to win the race for the local crowd and accidentally nosed his car into the inside wall while trying to do donuts after his victory.
“I’m just a dumb redneck down at the end of the dirt road. Just a homeboy, a local kid. This is as cool as it gets," Pate stated. "I know we had a hot rod; we ran the whole 50 laps in practice just so we could set a pace and know where we were at. I was worried a little bit because we couldn’t get back to that pace, but as soon as we got clean air it was a whole different car.”
Joe Bethea Jr. played the long game for the 50-lap feature, hoping to keep the tires on the car through the finish. While he was happy to finish second, he did not expect Pate to be the one to beat him.
“We played a conservative game there, trying to keep our tires as long as we could,” Bethea Jr. said. “Nasse and Griffin kind of torched their stuff a little bit and set a bit of a pace we didn’t want to run; we’d be alright at the end. I just didn’t think the 22 (Pate) was going to be as good as it was. The best car won tonight.”
Pate’s win at Five Flags Speedway continues a winning streak for local drivers, so far shutting out the large traveling contingent from victory lane.
Action at Five Flags Speedway continues Friday night with one of the most intense qualifying sessions in racing: qualifying for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. Also on tap is the 75-lap Snowball Derby Modifieds of Mayhem feature.
Speed51.com has a live live pay-per-view broadcast available all weekend, which you can learn more about here: https://speed51.com/speed51-tv-51st-snowball-derby-five-flags-speedway-fl/
-Story by: Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com Great Lakes Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Snowball Derby Outlaw Stock Unofficial Results
Five Flags Speedway (FL) - November 30, 2018
|2||33||Joe Bethea Jr|
|12||03||George Gorham Jr|