No Long-shot, Johanna Long Wins 43rd Derby

Debris littered the half-mile oval one final time Sunday atFive Flags Speedway. This time, though, no crew was about to clean it up. Pensacola teenager Johanna Long shed tears of joy after hoistingthe Tom Dawson trophy to celebrate an historic victory in the 43rd annualSnowball Derby. Long became the youngest, and just the second, woman to winthe Derby in one of the wildest finishes short-track racing’s most prestigious eventhas seen. She joins Eddie Mercer (2005), Dickie Davis (1971,’73) andWayne Niedecken Sr. (’68) as hometown heroes to find Victory Lane at the Derby. “It’s absolutely amazing,” Long, 18, said. “I can’t believeI did it. We worked so hard on this.” Long shifted into another gear late when several of Sunday’s16 cautions began to wave as the Derby neared its completion and drivers got antsy. Fresh tires allowed her to pass Landon Cassill on Lap 316for a lead she never relinquished, but not before Cassill went for a [...]

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Chase Elliot – Chases.. Chatches… and WINS Allen Turnber Snowflake 100

Watch closely. Chase Elliott is ready to amaze at any moment. A teenage sensation in every sense of the word, Elliott has only been racing for seven of his 15 years. But each time he climbs into one of his trademark No. 9 cars, the improbable seems likely for the son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott. It happened again in the Snowflake 100 on Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway. Elliott started 31st out of 36 cars. When it was over, he wildly swung the checkered flag above his head as water, Red Bull and the crowd’s roar washed over him. “It really shows how hard we worked for this,” said Elliott, who assumed the lead on Lap 86. “To have as many problems today … and to comeback, I’m just thankful.” Elliott started near the tail end of the field after winning one of two last-chance qualifiers earlier Saturday. That was only necessary after [...]

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Final Four Punch Tickets into Snowflake 100

The last two spots in tonight’s Snowflake 100 (7 p.m.) were hot commodities at Five Flags Speedway. Three cautions in four of the 25-lap race took out five of the nine-car field, including a nasty crash that saw one Pro Late Model take flight. John Bolen, who caused the last of the wrecks, and Erik Jones grabbed the transfer positions that were up for grabs. Not that many fans were taking about the results. The stands were all abuzz about the drama. Much of the field was nose to tail as they came to the start-finish line at the end of Lap 1 when the first fracas unfolded. Ferguson in the No. 07 car got loose along the front straightaway and collided with Tyler Miles. Miles’ No. 40 went airborne and rolled over both Ferguson and Dakota Stroup before the trio came to a screeching halt along next to the inside wall “Blake got loose [...]

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Oh Canada! Artuso Holds on to Qualify for Derby

Jerry Artuso’s hopes to qualify for the 43rd annual Snowball Derby looked bleak. The Canadian driver made an early move for track position and it appeared costly. Somehow, someway, though, Artuso kept his No. 5 in the top four in Saturday’s last-chance race to punch his Derby ticket. Scott Hantz got the victory, leading wire to wire in the 50-lap event, but the story was Artuso. Starting on the outside of Row 2, he shot to second by Lap 4. Shortly after, Artuso paid the price for driving the tires hard as he began to fall off the pace. Ryan Sieg took over second and Johnny VanDoorn very slowly began to reel in Artuso for third. By Lap 40, Artuso was desperately holding his spot a vicious nose-to-tail battle with VanDoorn and Stephan McCurley. Instead of practicing patience, McCurley forced his way up to third by Lap 46, jostling VanDoorn in the process. It was [...]

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Chrudimsky Defends Reid Dominates

It was the race that didn’t want to end. Jessie Reid was glad it did. Sitting on the pole proved invaluable for Reid during the Super Stocks edition of the Snowball Derby on Friday at Five Flags Speedway. Reid led all 50 laps, outlasted eight cautions and a race that spanned nearly two hours to capture his first Derby. The Modified division feature, which also was marred by several early cautions, was not over at press time. “I knew the car was good (in qualifying), so I didn’t wanna touch it,” Reid said. “(His crew) kept me telling me to stay up front and outta trouble. I’ve been trying to win this race for almost 10 years.” “This feels great.” He was, perhaps, the only driver of the 23-car field to enjoy Friday. Only eight cars actually finished the race. Reid was out front comfortable for most of the night, watching the big-top fall down all [...]

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Gale Makes Sweet Music with Track Record, Snowball Pole

The only thing sweeter than Cale Gale’s sing-song name was his driving Friday. Gale not only drove his No. 83 to the pole for the 43rd annual Snowball Derby on Sunday, but he also set a new track record at Five Flags Speedway and tied the all-time Derby mark. Gale’s lightning-quick 16.335 seconds equaled Gary Balough’s mark set at the 1980 Derby. "It means a lot," Gale said. "That's a record that hasn't changed in a lot of years, and the Snowball Derby is the most prestigious short-track race in America, so to break a track record has a lot of meaning to me." In all, the previous Super Late Model record of 16.440 seconds fell three times Friday. Unheralded John Bolen (16.417) initially broke it before Ryan Lawler (16.403) topped him a few cars later.Gale ultimately owned them all. The Mobile, Ala., native has raced for Kevin Harvick Inc. on the NASCAR’s [...]

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Goraum scores on 2nd chance at win

During the final laps of the Snowball Derby Bomber feature race, Mike Goraum started to have d�j� vu. "I was thinking, 'Oh, no, not again,' " said Goraum, a Cantonment resident, from Victory Lane at Five Flags Speedway late Thursday night. "I can't let this lapped car get me." A lapped car got in Goraum's way in last year's Derby Bomber race, catching one of his tires and ending his chance at a victory. But not this year. Goraum led the final 19 laps of the 30-lap race, making a tricky pass around a lapped car and holding off a challenge from 16-year-old Courtney Rodrigues to end his final racing season with another notable victory. Goraum won the points championship at Five Flags in September. "This feels fantastic," Goraum said. "We ran well the whole season and won the championship, it's a great way to go out." "It took a lot of luck and attrition," [...]

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14-Year-Old Erik Jones Gets Ready for Snowflake 100

The 2010 Rookie of the Year title as well as a Third Place Overall Finish in the Northern Late Model Series (Formerly ASA Late Model Northern Series) during the 2010 racing season would have any driver and team celebrating their accomplishments and focusing their efforts on the following year.   Not 14-year-old, Erik Jones, as the Byron, Michigan teenage sensation who started his 2010 campaign in the Sunshine State of Florida during Speedweeks, will end the year in the very same state. He and his Paragon Racing Team will make the long haul from the Great Lakes State to the famed  1/2  (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.   Jones will partake in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, which highlights the Saturday portion of the 43rd annual Snowball Derby weekend, which is set for December 1st-5th. The driver of the #4 Paragon Corvette Reproductions Chevrolet Impala [...]

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Nostalgia Racer Dennis Schoenfeld Gears Up For the

For many drivers, the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL) is the end to a season of chasing points and following a tour schedule.  Drivers who raced in the track's own Blizzard Series, on the ASA Midwest Tour, in the CRA Super Series, on the PASS South tour, in the Ken-Ten Series or on the Sunoco National Tour for a full or limited schedule in 2010 are all expected at this year's event that takes place in Pensacola, Florida from December 1st-5th.   Dennis Schoenfeld, on the other hand, has not run enough regular races this year to even call his schedule a limited one.  He has no loyalty to a particular series or tour.  Points are a foreign concept to him these days.  But when it comes to entering the biggest races in the Super Late Model world, Schoenfeld is there - and they don't get any bigger than [...]

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