Jake Johnson celebrated in victory lane after the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, but several hours passed before the New Englander could leave with the trophy due to a controversial finish.
On the final lap of the 100-lap Pro Late Model event at Five Flags Speedway, Bubba Pollard spun after contact with Stephen Nasse. Nasse crossed the finish line and reported to victory lane, but he was penalized for avoidable contact and stripped of the victory.
Following the finish, Stephen Nasse and his team reported to the technical inspection area and discussed the outcome with officials. Nasse’s car went through the inspection process while they appealed race control’s decision. However, after consultation and a closed-door meeting, the decision to penalize Nasse stood and Johnson was declared the winner.
Nicholas Rogers, race director at Five Flags Speedway, explained the ruling.
“The decision was made to disqualify due to the contact and what created the event for Bubba to spin off the nose of the Nasse car, due to contact coming to the checkered flag,” said Rogers. He was DQ’d and sent to the rear of the lead lap cars.“
Rogers felt it was important to enforce the rules of penalizing cars responsible for contact even on the final lap to prevent no-holds-barred racing coming to the checkered flag.
“Any time there’s contact causing a caution condition, even though it was coming to the checkered, anyone in it creating the caution goes to the tail. Coming to the checkered is no different than a caution coming out.
“He got into the leader of the event, spinning him out in the end. Due to that, we had to move to the tail. If not, you’d just have people running through people with no recourse. You’d never have the initial winner down the backstraightaway win a race if they are within five car-lengths going into three. That’s just not good short track racing.”
As for the contact itself, Pollard chalked it up to the nature of racing with Nasse.
“It’s typical. All you’ve got to do is watch the replay. It’s nothing new. It’s the same old s—, different day. It’s part of racing, I guess.”
Pollard does not expect Saturday’s incident to spill over to Sunday’s Snowball Derby.
“We’ll probably fight before we retaliate.”
Nasse declined comment following the review and final decision from Five Flags Speedway officials.
Last year, Stephen Nasse took the checkered flag in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, but was disqualified due to a violation in the brake system of his No. 51 Super Late Model during post-race technical inspection.
Race fans can watch the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby Sunday on Speed51.TV. Click here to order your pay-per-view ticket for the broadcast presented by Hooters.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo