The Allen Turner Snowflake 100 normally runs the night before the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL), but not this year. The green flag flew for the first time over the field of 37 Pro Late Models at close to 4 a.m. ET the morning of the Derby, after two rain delays on Saturday pushed back the entire racing schedule for the night.
But the late start didn’t seem to bother Bubba Pollard as he beat out John Hunter Nemechek to score his first ever Snowflake 100 victory. Pollard took the lead from Nemechek in lapped traffic and was able to drive away from the young driver.
It was clearly a big win for Pollard. It may have been close to sunrise on the east coast, but Pollard was celebrating a win with victory donuts on the frontstretch of the historic half-mile in Florida’s Panhandle.
“I’m just really excited about it,” Pollard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Not only for me, but for my whole team. They put a lot of effort into this whole deal. It’s pretty special for us.”
The first half of the race was dominated by two-time Snowflake 100 winner Augie Grill. Grill started on the pole after setting a track record in qualifying. He then left most of the field to grow smaller in his rear-view mirror. The only driver that was able to hang with Grill for much of the race was Nemechek. Pollard stayed about six car-lengths back, but that was his plan.
“The leaders were running a very fast pace,” he said. “From past experience down there I felt like it was a lot faster pace than what I wanted to run. I was sitting in a good position to watch those guys and see how hard they were running. I was a little bit smarter and saved our stuff.”
Nemechek finally took the lead from Grill on lap 73, and that’s when things went south for Grill. After losing the lead, Grill quickly lost second to Pollard. Then his car started smoking, he was black-flagged and then he parked the car just a few laps later.
Grill was visibly upset and walked right into the cab of his hauler after exiting his race car.
Nemechek led the next 14 laps after passing Grill, but lapped traffic would be his downfall. Pollard was able to get the better of Nemechek as they weaved through traffic and took the lead for the first time on lap 86.
“We were lapping some cars,” he said. “But the traffic really had nothing to do with us winning the race.”
The only downside to this win, for Pollard, was how late the race ended. With the checkered flag falling near 5 a.m. ET, there weren’t many fans left in the stands for a race that is traditionally close to a sell-out.
“I think it would have made for a little more excitement for all the fans to be there,” he said. “For all the fans that stuck around hopefully it was a good show for them and I can’t thank them enough for doing that. Hopefully everyone will be there next time to share the excitement along with us.”
(powered by 51's Third Turn)
| 1||8||26||Bubba Pollard||100||14|
| 2||2||8||John Hunter Nemechek||100||14|
| 3||36||88||Garrett Jones||100||0|
| 4||24||12||Harrison Burton||100||0|
| 5||21||33||Dillon Oliver||100||0|
| 6||14||51||Christopher Bell||100||0|
| 7||35||99||Junior Niedecken||100||0|
| 8||27||10||Steve Dorer||100||0|
| 9||22||11||Johanna Long||100||0|
| 10||15||29||Anderson Bowen||100||0|
| 11||26||13||Hunter Baize||100||0|
| 12||17||05||Bayley Currey||100||0|
| 13||9||5||Bret Holmes||100||0|
| 14||28||5||Dominique Van Wieringen||100||0|
| 15||20||129||Spencer Davis||100||0|
| 16||29||14||Ryan Luza||99||0|
| 17||11||11||Brad May||99||0|
| 18||32||12||Dan Leeck||99||0|
| 19||16||01||Derek Scott, Jr.||99||0|
| 20||23||45||Dwayne Buggay||99||0|
| 21||4||43||Justin South||99||0|
| 22||7||30||Bobby Knox, Jr.||99||0|
| 23||12||42||Rick Crawford||97||0|
| 24||1||112||Augie Grill||77||72|
| 25||10||11||Willie Allen||68||0|
| 26||3||9||William Byron||53||0|
| 27||6||18||Korey Ruble||50||0|
| 28||30||99||J.J. Haley||35||0|
| 29||13||42||Chad Finley||29||0|
| 30||34||7||Kyle Crump||22||0|
| 31||32||28||Grant Quinlan||16||0|
| 32||33||33||Dustin Smith||16||0|
| 33||5||56||Brandon Morris||13||0|
| 34||19||10||R.S. Senter||4||0|
| 35||25||41||Brayton Haws||2||0|
| 36||18||21||Riley Thornton||2||0|
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, CT and NJ) -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Feature Photo Credit: Speed51.com