Throughout the five days of the Snowball Derby many teams face adversity, and it is how a team deals with that adversity that can determine their performance. Once again Speed51.com powered by JEGS is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Five Star Race Car Bodies Tested Tough Award. Handed out annually to teams who show toughness and perseverance despite hardships, this year’s awards go to Steve Buttrick, Harrison Burton, Christopher Bell and Casey Smith.
The Five Star Tested Tough Award isn’t just for Late Model competitors, in fact it was Sportsman driver Steve Buttrick earning the award for his performance Thursday night. Buttrick had a left front tire go flat while leading the 50-lap Sportsman feature, but that didn’t stop him from finishing.
Despite finishing on the rim of his left front, Buttrick still brought home a seventh-place finish. Like a veteran racer should, he stayed tough through the adversity and recorded a top-10 finish.
The winner of Friday’s award is a young racer and a race team with a never give up attitude.
Harrison Burton made hard contact with the wall in turns three and four during the final Snowball Derby practice on Thursday. Not knowing if their weekend was coming to an end, the Burton crew stayed up all night working on the car at Johanna Long’s shop a few miles down the road in Pensacola.
The team put a new front clip on the No. 12 machine, completed all repairs and pulled into the racetrack Friday morning on no sleep. Burton responded by putting the car in the show and qualifying for his first Snowball Derby.
Saturday’s award went to one of short track racing’s rising stars who had to battle through adversity to make his way into Sunday’s Snowball Derby.
Christopher Bell laid down a blistering lap in time trials on Friday night, breaking the track record and recording the fastest time of the day. However, Bell, who was also on the top of the board for almost every practice, was disqualified in post-qualifying tech. His only shot to make the 48th Annual Snowball Derby was to race his way in through the last chance race, where he would start at the rear of the field. Bell displayed toughness by passing all 25 cars in under 50 laps to not only race his way in, but win the last chance qualifier.
While there were many possible candidates for Sunday’s Hal Goodson Tested Tough Award, it was 2015 Southern Super Series champion Casey Smith proving to be tougher than them all.
Smith failed to qualify his way into the Snowball Derby Friday night and was forced to accept the Southern Super Series provisional, putting him 35th on the grid for Sunday’s race. Starting at the rear of the field, it may have been easy to give up but Smith handled the adversity like a champion.
Throughout the 300-lap race, Smith patiently picked off positions before eventually battling within the top-five. At the end of the race, he was officially scored in the sixth position, giving him a total of 29 positions gained during the race.
Congratulations to all of these drivers who didn’t let a little adversity slow them down and showed that they are “Tested Tough,” just like Five Star Race Car Bodies.