Immediately when drivers think that things are going their way, Five Flags Speedway (FL) can always turn things in the reverse direction.

 

That is exactly what happened to 2014 SRL Southwest Tour champion Derek Thorn, owner Byron Campbell, and team. The group travelled from California with a competitive Super Late Model, driven last year by Mason Massey, to Pensacola, Florida for a test on Sunday and Monday that left them optimistic. From the time they went out for their first practice run on Thursday morning it all initially went downhill.

 

“We fired off and picked up a really bad vibration and at first I didn’t make a lap,” Thorn told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We pulled the drive shaft out, we checked it out, looked at things, and went back out. We didn’t even get up to speed and it shot the front yoke and the front U-joint broke off, and when it did that it tore up the interior, broke the transmission, broke the bell housing. We got it all fixed and these guys thrashed.”

 

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The team made it back out following the lunch break, in which they worked straight through. Unfortunately, something still was not right.

 

“Went back out there; same vibration,” said Thorn. “Found it in the front side of the rear end. Went back out there and it was fixed. After that it was game on.”

 

From there, Thorn went on to post the fastest time in the final half hour in the six hour timeframe, and ended up sixth overall. Although the momentum is now on their side going into Friday practice and qualifying he knows from past events, such as a wild tumble in 2011’s Snowball Derby, that things can take a turn at any moment.

 

“I’ve been here enough times to know that everything can change 180 degrees,” mentioned Thorn. “I feel I have the best chance than I have ever had. I cannot thank these guys enough at Campbell Motorsports for giving me the chance and the opportunity. Hopefully the weather stays pretty true to what it is today. I feel like we belong where we are at.”

 

Additional Super Late Model drivers had to overcome various issues as well. T.J. Reaid had to perform an engine swap while Dennis Schoenfeld and crew thrashed after a wreck. Mason Mingus switched to a backup car after hard impact into the wall following a run in with a piece of lead. Rattler 250 and World Crown 300 winner Casey Roderick has been forced to pack up for the weekend after suffering a mechanical failure that caused an engine issue.

 

Overall, the fastest three teams were all from Georgia with Anderson Bowen leading Daniel Hemric and Chase Elliott. Ross Kenseth and Donnie Wilson rounded out the top five.

 

In Snowflake 100 practice, fastest driver Willie Allen was very excited about his Pro Late Model’s performance.

 

“This may be the best car we’ve ever had here times 10,” said Allen. “We’re really really happy with the balance, but this is a crazy track. I’m just really thankful that we have a good shot.”

 

On Friday, December 5, it is NASH 102.7 Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday’s 300-lap feature. More practice for the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 cars will take place, as well as a full card of Super Stock and Modified action.

 

Then on Saturday, December 6, it’s the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 time trials, qualifying races and the 100-lap feature, plus final practice for the Snowball Derby cars, a 50-lap Pro Trucks feature and a 50-lap last-chance qualifying race to lock the final cars into the Snowball Derby.

 

Finally, the 47th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m. ET at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.

 

The full 47th Annual Snowball Derby weekend schedule is available at www.snowballderby.com.

 

Tickets and reserved camping spots are still available, but going fast. To order tickets or to reserve a camping spot, call the Five Flags Speedway box office at (850) 944-8400.

 

For more information about Five Flags Speedway and the 47th Annual Snowball Derby weekend, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com, www.snowballderby.com or contact the track by calling (850) 944-8400.

 

-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed

 

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

Overall Snowball Derby Super Late Model Practice Times
1 29 Anderson Bowen 16.481
2 98 Daniel Hemric 16.514
3 9 Chase Elliott 16.569
4 3 Ross Kenseth 16.580
5 2w Donnie Wilson 16.582
6 43 Derek Thorn 16.599
7 83 Scotty Ellis 16.627
8 29 Jeff Choquette 16.641
9 51 Erik Jones 16.644
10 5 Jerry Artuso 16.645
11 8 John Hunter Nemechek 16.652
12 12 Harrison Burton 16.662
13 88 Garrett   Jones 16.667
14 99 Casey Smith 16.671
15 O7 Corey LaJoie 16.680
16 42 Dennis Prunty 16.688
17 26 Bubba Pollard 16.689
18 5S Dalton Sargeant 16.698
19 2 D J Vanderley 16.712
20 26 Preston Peltier 16.712
21 16 Jacob Gomes 16.715
22 31 Kyle Grissom 16.717
23 42 Chad Finley 16.719
24 129 Spencer Davis 16.723
25 95 Derrick Griffin 16.724
26 112 Augie Grill 16.739
27 51 Stephen Nasse 16.744
28 11 David Rogers 16.749
29 90 Grant Enfinger 16.766
30 91 Ty Majeski 16.766
31 71 Johnny VanDoorn 16.785
32 2 Clay Rogers 16.786
33 7 Paul Shafer Jr. 16.786
34 98 Mason Mingus 16.787
35 1 Mike Garvey 16.791
36 22 Jeremy Pate 16.794
37 9 Mark Kraus 16.801
38 67 Clay Jones 16.817
39 O5 Bayley Currey 16.818
40 21 Johanna Long 16.843
41 18 Hunter Robbins 16.852
42 O1 Travis Braden 16.854
43 41 TJ Reaid 16.862
44 4 Kyle Plott 16.866
45 37 Brian Hoar 16.871
46 57 Austin Theriault 16.873
47 57 Cole Timm 16.886
48 99 J J Haley 16.900
49 47 Jordan Sims 16.931
50 45 Dwayne Buggay 16.941
51 147 Daniel Webster 16.952
52 56 Gus Dean 16.956
53 79 Kyle Bryant 16.969
54 10 Steve Dorer 16.988
55 47 Chris Fontaine 17.014
56 88 Roger Reuse 17.016
57 5G Will Gallaher 17.024
58 22 Josh Bragg 17.032
59 7 Casey Roderick 17.042
60 43 Dennis Schoenfeld 17.085
61 11 Logan Boyett 17.114
62 12 Garrett Campbell 17.187
63 2 Spencer Gallagher 17.194
64 1 Tim Martin 17.438

 

Overall Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model Practice Times
1 11 Willie Allen 16.780
2 12 Dan Leeck 16.857
3 11 Brad May 16.910
4 51 Zachary Knowles 16.913
5 12 Harrison Burton 16.921
6 9 William Byron 16.949
7 10 R.S. Senter 16.950
8 28 Grant Quinlan 16.959
9 33 Dillion Oliver 16.961
10 8 John Hunter Nemechek 16.974
11 11 Johanna Long 16.980
12 18 Korey Ruble 16.980
13 41 Brayton Haws 16.997
14 5 Bret Holmes 17.001
15 5 Dominique Van Wieringen 17.010
16 51 Christopher Bell 17.022
17 20 Cole Rouse 17.023
18 129 Spencer Davis 17.024
19 112 Augie Grill 17.031
20 88 Garrett   Jones 17.034
21 29 Caleb Adrian 17.038
22 14 Ryan Luza 17.042
23 42 Chad Finley 17.042
24 O5 Bayley Currey 17.072
25 33 Dustin Mitchell Smith 17.074
26 51 Perry Patino 17.075
27 26 Bubba Pollard 17.110
28 9 Kurt Jett 17.120
29 23 Dalton Grindle 17.130
30 98 Russell Fleeman 17.133
31 13 Hunter Baize 17.141
32 97 Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. 17.146
33 56 Brandon Morris 17.158
34 99 J J Haley 17.159
35 7 Kyle Crump 17.164
36 43 Justin South 17.173
37 30 Bobby Knox, Jr. 17.179
38 10 Steve Dorer 17.199
39 21 Riley Thornton 17.201
40 5 Scooter   Grice 17.230
41 21 Larry Blount 17.231
42 71 Corey Deuser 17.251
43 97 Cole Anderson 17.254
44 6 Lee Langford 17.266
45 30 Rusty Sanford 17.276
46 68 John Robicheaux 17.285
47 O4 Corey Roper 17.297
48 42 Rick Crawford 17.311
49 O1 Derek Scott Jr. 17.313
50 5 Justin Wakefield 17.330
51 45 Dwayne Buggay 17.378
52 99 Wayne Niedecken 17.379
53 22 Josh Bragg 17.386
54 17 Chuck Tuck 17.390
55 84 Dylon Wilson 17.394
56 3 Brennon Willard 17.425
57 89 Bobby Reuse 17.432
58 4 Elliott Massey 17.491
59 55R Ronnie Osmer 17.493
60 25 J T Schild 17.495
61 3 Jordon McCallum 17.498
62 29 Anderson Bowen 17.528
63 53 Kyle Ivey 17.623
64 82 Dana Bowers 17.662
65 84 Jake Moore 17.714

 

Snowball Derby Practice Day Filled with Ups and Downs