Jeff Letson wanted to put a stamp on an impressive 2015 season. Augie Grill was gunning for Snowball Derby history.  But when the checkers waved, it was Donnie Hamrac in victory lane for the Modified portion of Snowball Derby weekend for a third consecutive year.


Hamrac benefitted from a late-race tangle between Letson and Grill, who were battling for the lead. Grill got the jump on a restart with five laps to go, but got hooked by Letson in turn three.


Race officials sent Letson to the rear for causing the incident, thus handing the lead over to Hamrac.


“To win a big race like the Snowball Derby once is just awesome,” Hamrac said. “Twice is unbelievable and to win it three times…you just can’t put it in to words. The just kept taking each other out up front, and luckily I had a hole to get through it.”


The 50-lap race was marred by seven cautions and two red flag periods, and during the final laps Hamrac was hoping another incident wouldn’t occur.


“I made sure to clean my tires really well for that last restart, and was able to get out front,” Hamrac said. “I was just wanting to see the checkered flag, and we finally got to it.”


Hamrac’s win is his third straight triumph during Snowball Derby Week.


Somewhat lost in the Hamrac-Letson-Grill saga was Korey Ruble’s impressive drive from 30th starting position to a runner-up finish.


Ruble was highly disappointed in his time trial effort, but couldn’t help but smile after the 50-lap main.


“We had a really good car, but just never could get it to qualify this weekend,” Ruble said. “We qualified almost dead last, and that is what ended up costing us the race. We just have a little bit more to learn, but, we will get there.”


Rounding out the podium was Ohio-based wheelman Kyle Purvis.


Like Ruble, Purvis started deep in the field and picked his way through the wrecks to bring home a solid third place run. Purvis finished third in the 2014 Snowball Modified race as well.


“We had a really, really good run, but just started a little too deep in the field,” said Purvis. “We kept the car in one piece and was able to come out of here with a good finish. If we had a little more forward drive, we might have contended more in the last 10 laps.”


Frankie Martin was involved is a scary incident early in the event due to a reported stuck throttle. Martin’s car slammed the wall in turn one before sliding to halt in turn two, eventually becoming engulfed in flames.


Thankfully, Martin left the accident scene awake and alert.


-Ryan McCollough, Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @RyanlMcCollough

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Letson, Grill Tangle Late; Hamrac Wins Third Straight at Derby