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Snowflake Practice Was a Thorn in the Side of Many

November 29, 2018 • App, Archives, Late Models, Region - National, Snowball Derby

Pro Late Models hit the pavement at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida for three practice sessions on Thursday morning and afternoon. When the final checkered flag fell, the driver with the longest trip to the Panhandle was sitting atop the overall leaderboard.

 

California’s Derek Thorn led the way on Thursday with a fast lap of 16.858 seconds. His time bested the fast lap set by Michigan’s Carson Hocevar by just four one-hundredths of a second. Alabama’s Connor Okzresik was third overall with a lap of 16.976 seconds.

 

Thorn said he wasn’t at all surprised by his speed, but did mention that his fast lap was a mock qualifying run in preparation for Saturday afternoon’s Snowflake 100 qualifying session.

 

“I don’t think too many other guys stickered up is the problem. You just don’t know where everyone is at,” Thorn explained. “I felt like we looked really good today. But it’s hard to tell where everybody is at, whether they’re on stickers, how many laps they’ve been out there and all that good stuff.”

 

Even though Thorn is a former Pro Late Model winner at Five Flags Speedway in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series, Thorn doesn’t get to race at Five Flags too frequently considering where he lives. However, Thorn did come to Five Flags back in September in preparation for the Snowflake 100 and finished third behind Bubba Pollard and Jeff Choquette.

 

Derek Thorn led the way in overall Snowflake practice times on Thursday. (Speed51.com photo)

“I feel like we had a pretty good car in September,” Thorn said. “I think it’s a little bit different and a little bit better than we were there. We’re just trying to roll with the punches. It’s good to know that we have the speed, but at the same time in the back of your mind speed isn’t going to win you the race. You have to be consistent. We’re just hoping the consistency is there as well as the speed.”

 

Hocevar turned in a lap of 16.895 seconds overall and said on Thursday evening that he feels pretty good about his chances for a Snowflake 100 win on Saturday night.

 

“We’re just fine-tuning stuff. I don’t even think we’re going to unload it tomorrow,” Hocevar said.

 

Hocevar isn’t the only one that said he may not make a lap in the Pro Late Model on Friday. Other double-duty drivers like Thorn and Mason Diaz said they’re most likely going to limit their track time on Friday as they prepare for Snowball Derby qualifying on Friday night.

 

Mason Diaz rolls through the corner in practice on Thursday. (Speed51.com photo)

“If we get the Super dialed in, then yes,” Diaz said when asked if he’ll practice his Pro Late Model on Friday. “But tomorrow is a big day for the Super, so me jumping back and forth between the Pro and the Super probably isn’t the smartest thing. If we go out there in the first practice and go to the top of the board in the Super then we might go out. We have the Pro pretty decent right now for Saturday so we’re not going to focus too much on it. I’m sure pretty much everyone down the line is saying the same thing. We’re here to make the Super race and the Pro race. But with the Pro I know we can make it in the show.”

 

Two-time JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model champion from Indiana, Jack Dossey III, is another driver pulling double-duty this weekend, but this is his first time ever to Five Flags Speedway. One would think that he’d want as many laps on track as possible, but Dossey said that isn’t their plan for Friday.

 

“Probably first thing we’ll go out in the Pro Late and then we’ll probably put it on jack stands for the rest of the day and focus on the Derby car,” said Dossey.

 

Mason Keller is one driver who is solely focused on Saturday’s Snowflake 100. He ended the day 11th overall.

 

“We’re pretty solid, overall. It had a good natural feeling and a good vibe coming from the car,” Keller said. “All these guys bolt on sticker after sticker. You really don’t know where you’re at until that last session when everyone puts on stickers at the same time. We waited all day and got a good feeling on old tires. We put on stickers and went out there and it really came to life. Hopefully the car stays that way and we’ll continue on.”

 

Ryan Worsham took on some damage after a crash in Thursday's first practice session. (Speed51.com photo)

For many drivers, the day went mostly well, but for a few drivers it was an awful first day on track.

 

One of those drivers who had an awful day was Georgia’s Christopher Tullis. Tullis blew an engine going into turn one, spun out in his own fluid and crashed hard in turn two. Tullis is planning on continuing his weekend in a car provided by Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville regular Dylan Fetcho.

 

Another driver who had trouble on Thursday was Florida’s Ryan Worsham who backed into the frontstretch wall in the first session of the day.

 

The Pro Late Models will be back on track for practice on Friday ahead of Saturday’s race day action.

 

For more in-depth coverage, head to our Trackside Now coverage here.

 

Race fans can watch all of the Pro Late Model action all week long by purchasing a live video ticket on Speed51.com. Click here to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast.

 

-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

 

Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Overall Practice Results

Pos # Driver Time
1 43T Derek Thorn 16.858
2 14CH Carson Hocevar 16.895
3 14CO Connor Okrzesik 16.976
4 81P Chase Purdy 17.008
5 24D Mason Diaz 17.048
6 29D Spencer Davis 17.065
7 89F Dylan Fetcho 17.096
8 21P Ryan Paul 17.098
9 1 Michael House 17.101
10 18R Casey Roderick 17.121
11 29K Mason Keller 17.131
12 9C Jeff Choquette 17.169
13 51N Stephen Nasse 17.171
14 00 Brandon Curren 17.174
15 26P Bubba Pollard 17.207
16 97 Cole Anderson 17.208
17 20D Jack Dossey III 17.225
18 5W Justin Wakefield 17.227
19 112G Augie Grill 17.244
20 15J Jake Johnson 17.258
21 46P Jarrett Parker 17.273
22 78H Corey Heim 17.282
23 26B Travis Braden 17.302
24 7B Jackson Boone 17.307
25 55 Brandon Oakley 17.311
26 114 Justin South 17.320
27 11C Stacey Crain 17.329
28 15 Colt James 17.330
29 33D Dillon Oliver 17.358
30 10 Johanna Long-Robbins 17.371
31 35 Jake Garcia 17.374
32 53K Kyle Ivey 17.412
33 51P Perry Patino 17.415
34 30K Bobby Knox Jr 17.417
35 17F Kevin Folan 17.465
36 24T Christopher Tullis 17.471
37 11W JoJo Wilkinson 17.602
38 2 John Bolen 17.603
39 37H Kaden Honeycutt 17.609
40 11A Randall Young 17.611
41 4M Elliott Massey 17.622
42 145 Billy Melvin 17.699
43 44 Dylan Smith 17.711
44 14P Tyler Porter 17.758
45 05 Kyle McCallum 17.988
46 88M Trever McCoy 18.124
47 R7 Ryan Worsham 19.072

 

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