Two top young drivers eyeing their first career Snowball Derby start suffered set backs Thursday afternoon as a result of vicious hits during practice.


graphic 51 tv snowball derby ppv115-year-old recent Super Late Model upstart Christian Eckes was fastest during an hour long session in the morning, but luck turned in a completely different direction after lunchtime.


The Middletown, New York driver made contact with the wall out of turn four, resulting in major damage to the rear of his No. 15 LFR Chassis.


“There was a little bit of oil in turn four,” Eckes told powered by JEGS. “We were running a mock run and the track was pretty cold so the car got free. Got up in that oil and spun out into the wall. It’s just unfortunate because we had such a fast car. Luckily, it’s not hurt too much, mostly cosmetics and a little bit of suspension, but we will be back ready tomorrow and hopefully make the race now.”


Eckes’ LFR Chassis crew told 51 that they are in fact trying to fix the aftermath. The work will be lengthy, but with the prestigious nature of the event they are not giving up by any means.


Another top teenage competitor on the short track racing scene was even less fortunate. Harrison Burton, who did not make the Derby field a year ago, put in a vast amount of testing for this year’s event in order to make this year’s field.


All of the preparation came to a sudden disastrous end late in the afternoon when his No. 12 creamed the outside wall.


“I drove into three and went to turn in and nothing was there,” Burton recapped. “Looks like we had something break, maybe a steering arm, but I really hate it for the guys. We have put a lot of effort into this car.”


Much like Eckes, Burton’s team did not have a backup car for the weekend, but despite the extensive damage crew chief Chris Wimmer and team will look to fix it thanks to the gracious offer from Johanna Long’s team to work in their shop up the road.


“I can’t thank them enough for that,” Burton said. “We’ll go over there and spend all night trying to fix it. If we can it will be great and I’m sure it will come back fast if not faster than before, but if we can’t so be it and we’ll come back next year.”


The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 4 during WXBM 102.7 Pole Night at Five Flags. The Five Flags Faith Chapel Super Stocks and Modifieds will also battle in their Snowball Derby features after Super Late Model qualifying.


The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 takes center stage on Saturday, December 5 as the top Pro Late Model racers in the country qualify and battle for 100 laps at Five Flags. In addition, Saturday’s action features the final 50-lap qualifying event for Snowball Derby drivers to make one last effort to qualify for the 300-lap Super Late Model race. The Better Built Tool Box Pro Trucks will also have a 50-lap feature on Snowball Derby Saturday.


Then on Sunday, December 6, the green flag will drop on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at 2 p.m. CT at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.


Fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida for the Snowball Derby can watch all of the action through a live online TV style pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 TV. A four-day video ticket can be purchased now for $59.99 allowing fans to watch all of the action from Five Flags Speedway. Single-day video tickets are also available. Visit for more information.


-By Aaron Creed, Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed

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Vicious Hits During Practice Set Back Derby Contenders