For the 15th consecutive year, Speed51.com will serve as the Official News Site for the 48th Annual Snowball Derby. With the addition of the live Speed51 TV broadcast for the second year in a row, as well as on-demand videos for the Speed51 Network, Speed51.com is bringing a record number of team members to this year’s event at Five Flags Speedway.
Many of those 51’ers have elected to join a yearly tradition here on Speed51.com powered by JEGS by making their picks for Saturday night’s Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race.
Which staff members will have bragging rights heading into next year’s running of the Snowflake? Take a look below at the picks and follow along throughout the week on Speed51.com and Speed51 TV to find out.
Order your Speed51 TV video package for the Snowball Derby by clicking here.
Aaron Creed (Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor) – Twitter: @aaron_creed
John Hunter Nemechek – He was on top of the world with the Snowball Derby victory a year ago, but after two consecutive runner-up finishes in the Snowflake 100 Nemechek has proven capable to win in any car he competes in. He has only competed in a handful of Pro Late Model events in 2015, but two of them resulted in victories and number three will come on Saturday night.
Adam Mackey (Speed 51 TV Color Commentator)
John Hunter Nemechek – Two years in-a-row John Hunter Nemechek has taken runner-up finishes in the Snowflake 100. While it’s hard to go against those winners, Chase Elliott and Bubba Pollard, Nemechek will be the man on Saturday night this year. Something in the back of my mind, though, tells me a surprise winner may take the Snowflake this year.
Zane Smith – The kid is flat out good. He’s an aggressive and smooth race car driver at the same time, and that’s what it takes to win the Snowflake 100. He’s go that West Coast pizzazz, so his interview in victory lane will be pretty good as well.
Brandon Paul (Speed51.com Editor) – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
Augie Grill – They always say that losing one makes a driver more hungry to win one. While Grill is a two-time Snowflake winner, he lost one just one year ago after starting from the pole and dominating the first 72 laps of the Snowflake 100. He has been relatively quiet so far in 2015, but he was able to pick up a few wins in the Pro Late Model division against some stiff competition at Montgomery Motor Speedway. He’s hungry for another big time win and it could certainly come Saturday night.
Bruce Nuttleman (Speed51.com Photographer) – Twitter: @BruceNuttleman
Chase Elliott – Chase is running both, right? Why wouldn’t he win what will possibly be one of his last Pro Late Model races ever?
Connor Sullivan (Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
Spencer Davis – Despite the many veterans entered, the Snowflake 100 has been a place for breakthrough moments for drivers. Davis has run a multitude of tracks, mostly in Late Model competition, while also making an impressive debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with three top-five finishes in his first four starts. Davis has had success in Pro Late Models at New Smyrna during Speedweeks and has shown the speed and poise in 2015 to get a big win to end the season.
Elgin Traylor (Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent) – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
Derek Thorn – Derek Thorn has been strong in his Pro Late Model showings this year at Five Flags. I think this is the year of unexpected and the local standouts are not going to be able to contend with how hungry this driver is to win again at Five Flags Speedway. Look for Thorn to be in the mix and surge late for a big win in the Snowflake 100.
Jana Wimmer (Speed51.com Director of Business) – Twitter: @JWimm22
Bubba Pollard – Bubba doubles down and wins the Snowflake for the second year in a row. He’s proven to be very good at Pensacola and I think he gets it done two years in a row.
Mark Keeler (Speed51.com Operations Manager) – Twitter: @MarkKeeler975
Bubba Pollard – No driver has ever completed the Flake/Derby sweep in the same year. I believe Pollard could be just the guy to do it. Being the defending winner doesn’t hurt either.
Matt Kentfield (Speed51.com Executive Director) – Twitter: @mattkentfield
Spencer Davis – Even though a win was recently taken away from him due to a rocker arm infraction in the final Pro Late Model race of the season in Nashville, I believe that showed that Davis and his family-operated team are back on top of their Late Model game. Last season, the strength of his Late Model program was curtailed a bit with his foray into the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. But between his strong runs in PASS Super Late Models and with his No. 129 Pro Late Models, plus some strong runs in his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts this season, Davis is in prime position to score a Snowflake victory.
Patrick Hahe (Speed51.com In-Car Camera Specialist) – Twitter: @NEORacingNews
Johanna Long – Look for Johanna Long to take the Snowflake. She has plenty of experience at Five Flags and knows how to win during the biggest week of the year at her home track.
Rob Blount (Speed51.com Southeast Editor) – Twitter: @RobBlount
Garrett Jones – Young Garrett Jones finished fourth in Southern Super Series points behind the wheel of a Super Late Model. He’s piloting Mike Garvey’s Pro Late Model in the Snowflake. Everyone knows that Garvey’s car is always strong, and Jones has proven that he can hang in there with the toughest SLM drivers. He can win the Snowflake for sure.
Ryan McCollough (Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent) – Twitter: @RyanLMcCollough
Chase Elliott – When making my Snowball Derby pick, I said I like to think outside of the box, but even I can’t go against Chase Elliott in the Snowflake. I believe the last time he lost a Pro Late Model race Roosevelt was in the White House…Teddy that is. Another year, another Chase Elliott Snowflake win.
Spencer Lewis (Speed51 TV Pit Reporter) – Twitter: @itsspencerlewis
Derek Thorn – Derek Thorn and Kurt Jett have proven to be a more than formidable driver-owner combination this season. Jett has provided the California native with equipment capable of running at the front of the field virtually anywhere the team points their hauler. Thorn has experience at 5 Flags and is no stranger to a Derby weekend podium. Expect Thorn to dwell on both that experience and top shelf equipment to bring the Snowflake 100 hardware back to the ‘Fresh Coast’.
Tim Quievryn (Speed51.com’s The Third Turn) – Twitter: @TheThirdTurn
Derek Thorn – One of the best West Coast Late Model racers in recent seasons has had plenty of success at Five Flags in the Super machines, leading laps and challenging for wins the last few Derbys. He’s running double-duty this year and is running the Snowflake for the first time with the popular Jett Motorsports team. He may be a bit outgunned in the Super show, but after a Pensacola PLM victory in the summer for the team, there is no reason to think he can’t finally break through for the first time during Snowball weekend with a Snowflake win.
-Speed51.com Staff Story