Pro Late Models hit the track at Five Flags Speedway for the first time for Snowflake 100 practice on Thursday. The day saw many surprises toward the top of the charts, with Virginia driver Mason Diaz ending the day fastest overall.
Thursday started out on the wrong foot for Diaz and his team, when mechanical gremlins set their practice efforts back while the problem was addressed. With the issue resolved, he hovered around the top five in the first two sessions before setting the fastest lap of the day in the final session.
“We had a few issues throughout the day. We thought it was a battery at first, we changed the battery and then we changed the starter and it probably set us back a couple runs from everyone else,” Diaz told Speed51.com. “Overall a really good day, we had really good speed. We tried a few different things, time to go back to the book now and work on race runs and things like that.”
With another day of practice before Saturday’s Snowflake 100, the plan remains the same for Diaz. The main objective is to ensure the speed found today remains through the second day of practice.
“Same thing everyone else is doing, nothing different. Just trying to find more speed and not tune ourselves out in the process,” he said. “We have speed now so we don’t want to tune ourselves out of what we have.”
Carson Hocevar was the driver everybody else was chasing throughout the day after setting fast time in the first two sessions. While the Pro Late Model was one of the best on the property, he worries were with searching for the same speed in the Super.
“Our Pro was pretty good, it’s definitely a lot better than our Super, so we have some work to do with our Super for the Snowball,” Hocevar said. “Our Pro was pretty good for sure, we’re happy with our race run, and to be toward the top it’s pretty good.”
With Snowball Derby qualifying tomorrow night, the team is unsure if they will put any major effort in the Pro on Friday.
“I don’t really know yet, it pretty much depends on what we got for the Snowball car. I doubt we’ll really focus on the Flake car, we really got to get in the show for the Snowball.”
One surprise driver from Pro Late Model practice was 15-year-old Daniel Dye. The New Smyrna Speedway PLM track champion ended the final two practice sessions in the top five in the Ben Kennedy Racing No. 43, even surprising himself in the process.
“We were a lot better than I was expecting. There’s a ton of people here so us being up towards the front. The first session we were eleventh, then we were fifth and fourth, that’s pretty crazy,” Dye said. “I’m having a bunch of fun, I’m just really happy, I didn’t think it was going to go this well at all but these Ben Kennedy guys have really figured this place out over the years and it’s shown. I think we’ll have a pretty good piece for the race.”
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville champion Jackson Boone finished the day in the top ten after spending most of the opening session on top of the board. It was a simple day for the Tennessee driver with Thursday night’s Pro Truck race and Saturday’s Snowflake 100 looming.
“I felt like it went pretty good. We never did any crazy laps or anything like that, we’ve just been working off a baseline all day,” Boone said. “We started off with baseline numbers and tweaked a little bit. We haven’t done anything significant or gone out there and try to set the world on fire, so I’m very happy with where we are right now.”
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-Story by Koty Geyer Speed51 State Editor (IN/MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com