Purdy Wins Snowflake 100

Purdy Wins Snowflake 100

So ‘Purty’ for Purdy: Nineteen-Year-Old Driver Outlasts Weather, Field to Win Snowflake 100

By Chuck Corder

The unrelenting mist and bitter cold were no match for the fire in Chase Purdy’s belly.

The 19-year-old Mississippi native, who now calls North Carolina home, etched his name in short-track racing lore by winning the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 on Sunday at Five Flags Speedway, as the 51st annual Snowball Derby came to a close one week later than expected.

A race that was postponed on Dec. 1 because of thunderstorms and flooding, the 2018 running of the Snowflake 100 will go down as one of the more memorable editions of Pro Late Model’s biggest race.

After nine cautions, a slew of red flags and only 12 of the 34 cars, which started the race, left on Pensacola’s high banks, Purdy withstood weather and aggressive drivers to lead the final 72 laps.

“It was as eventful a drive as I’ve ever had,” Purdy said of the long delays and efforts to dry the track under caution. “It was nerve-wracking. But, I couldn’t have asked for a better car. This was a big win for me, outracing some of the best drivers, like Bubba Pollard.”

Pollard, who won his second career Snowflake 100 last season, had to fight tooth-and-nail with Connor Okrzesik to claim runner-up honors with Okrzesik rounding out the podium.

At just 16, Okrzesik sat on the pole with Pollard to his outside of Row 1 after track officials chose to skip qualifying because of the inclement weather and set the order based on who was fastest in practice.

Pollard blew by Okrzesik on the opening lap before the youngster from Grand Bay, Ala., reclaimed the lead from the veteran from Senoia, Ga., a few laps later.

Casey Roderick took P1 from Okrzesik on Lap 6 and the lead see-sawed between Roderick, Pollard and Purdy until Purdy found clean air for good on Lap 28.

“Man, what a long two weeks,” Pollard said. “And this was a crazy race on top of that. We couldn’t get any rhythm going.

“The racetrack wasn’t that bad. People just weren’t using their heads. Chase did what he needed to do to win the race.”

Cars began dropping like flies early on as a four-car wreck with six laps completed brought out the first red flag so track officials could clear the scene.

A lap later, with the mist falling harder onto the asphalt and the cars’ windshields, five cars were involved in an accident. And just one lap after that incident, a huge crash down in Turn No. 1 brought out yet another red flag for cleanup.

Through it all, Purdy stay focused on the ultimate prize.

“With so many cautions, so many red flags, it gets difficult,” he admitted. “Once we got control of the race, though, I controlled the pace.”

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