In Gulf Coast racing circles, James Patrick is referred to as “Student Driver.” However, the Mobile, AL driver was the one taking the field to school in the Sportsmen feature event on the opening night of the Snowball Derby.
Patrick took over the lead from Brannon Fowler just past the halfway point and staved off the field on a series of late restarts to score the win over the tight field on Thursday night.
While he played the role of teacher during the 50-lap event, he was sure to credit a fellow Sportsmen competitor for his help building the car in advance of the Snowball Derby.
“I learned from the best. Chad Robinson, that’s my best friend in the world. He let me build this whole car in the shop,” Patrick said on the Speed51.TV broadcast. “No charge, no $5,000 setup fee. We built this car in a two-car garage.”
The multi-disciplined racer made a plea for the Sportsmen division while celebrating in victory lane before announcing his intentions to compete full-time with the class in 2021 at Five Flags.
“We usually have more cars than this but it’s a good show and a good class. Everybody needs to support it and keep it around. I built this car from scratch during the offseason and ran it four or five times this year, so this is its first Snowball on it. It’s a good piece.”
Opening night Sportsmen winner Hunter Lambert wrestled second away from Fowler with eight to go, but couldn’t close the gap to Patrick before the conclusion of the event. Even with late-race contact while racing for the runner-up position, it was still a fun way to end his 2020 season.
“(Fowler) was just pinching me down pretty hard and I was trying to stay in the gas and not wreck anybody. We definitely had a car to win but that was all I had there in the end. It was definitely a fun race.”
Race fans unable to attend the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby can watch the entire weekend’s action on Speed51.TV, including the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby. Click here to order your video ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Snowball Derby Sportsmen Unofficial Results: