The year 2020 has been a tough one for short track racing teams across the country, especially racers whose schedules have been impacted by the refusal of certain states to allow racetracks within their borders to open. It has also had an adverse effect on teams in surrounding states too, who follow a touring schedule.
Such has been the case for Indiana’s Mason Keller, who had planned to break into the Super Late Model ranks in 2020. But with a lack of track time and a rough outing at the All American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds, the No. 29 camp is sticking to the familiar game of Pro Late Model racing during the 53rd Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway.
Putting their focus onto the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Saturday, December 5 for the third straight year, the Champion Racing Association (CRA) competitor is in a better position than ever to come back from Pensacola, Florida with some serious cash and hardware.
“So far, the prep is going pretty good. We’ve been off since Nashville, so timewise we’re not in a time crunch surprisingly, like most seasons,” Keller said. “We’re in pretty good shape, we’re just going to run the Snowflake, our Pro has been sitting around for a while, so it’s pretty much ready to go. It’s just down to checking all the nuts and bolts, plus trying to get our new paint scheme on.”
But, the same pot-marked racing schedule around the Great Lakes has also had a similar impact on Keller’s time in his Pro Late Model in 2020.
“With the Pro, I’d say we got in 10 to 12 races this year. Not as many as we are used to running, but still a good fair share of races,” he explained. “Usually I try to be in the race car just about every weekend, you get into the flow of things. A lot of the races we wanted to hit in Michigan got shut down and then a couple of the races we just couldn’t make it to because some of our guys were sick. It was just a wacky season.”
That, coupled with Keller’s less than stellar luck the past two years in the Snowflake 100, has the young man from Indianapolis, determined to make something of both the race and this year.
“I feel like every time we’ve run the Snowflake, we’ve been pretty fast for what we expected. We even thought we’d struggle to make the show, but both times we’ve been there we qualified inside the Top 10, very surprising. The first year we got caught up in the big wreck in one and two, then last year we just got taken out by a guy that was behind me. Hopefully we avoid all that and third time’s the charm.”
While serving as the right hand to Snowball Derby, the Snowflake 100 has garnered an immense amount of prestige in short track racing during its over two-decade existence. So much so, that the 21-year-old Keller joked that he ought to call it quits should he be the first to the checkers after 100 laps.
“It would be awesome, if I won the Snowflake I think I’d retire honestly. Go out on top, just like that.”
Watch the 22nd running of the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, along with the entire 53rd Annual Snowball Derby on Speed51.TV this December 2-6. Live video tickets for the weekend can be purchased now by clicking here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51