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 over the half-mile asphalt oval in his rearview.

Paul Jean finally made Reid sweat, pulling up to the eventual winner’s bumper by Lap 30. But Jean ran into the back of a lapped car shortly after, which brought out the final caution of the night.

On the restart, Reid pulled away from Jean and it was smooth sailing the rest of the night.

“We lost four-tenths of a second when we ran into the lapped car,” said Jean, whose second-place finish was wiped away when he was disqualified during post-race inspection. “We were right there. I just thank the Lord we finished this year. We were one of the few.”

The field began to scatter from the start. Five cars were involved in a nasty crash between Laps 1 and 2 just after the opening green flag dropped.

After a 15-minute delay, the race finally got under way. Not for long, though, as a pair of cautions came out on Laps 7 and 8.

The fourth, a few laps later was Five Flags version of the “big one,” infamous at the super speedways such as Talladega. It involved eight cars and created a wild scene in the pits with fans rushing to the accident.

An ambulance was brought out, but was not needed.

The night was not memorable for John Shuffler. The Crestview driver made a valiant return to Five Flags after suffering three strokes last August.

He was dragging a shock during warm-ups and came to the pits. Shuffler did finish 15th, but as so many Super Stocks experienced, saw the Derby bite back Friday.

“You have to wait 364 more days to do it again, so everybody’s jacked up,” Jean said. “It’s the Derby. What more can you say?”

Indeed.

Super Stocks results � 1. Jessie Reid; 2. Stuart Dunn; 3. Howard Langham; 4. Shannon Jackson; 5. Charlie Skipper Jr.; 6. Regan Baker; 7. Earl Polk; 8. Eddie Hamac; 9. Dennis Thomas; 10. Bubba Winslow; 11. Scott Wicker; 12. Darin Matthews; 13. Randy Thompson; 14. John Shuffler; 15. Darryl Rudd; 16. Mike Murphy; 17. Corbitt Moseley; 18. Matt Taylor; 19. Michael Ledlow; 20. Chris Cotto; 21. Mike Moore; 22. David Jenkins; DQ. Paul Jean

Modifieds

Mark Chrudimsky capped a wild and wacky night by defending his division Derby win.

The Austin, Texas, native made a nifty move pass leader Billy Melvin late in the 50-lap race and sailed into Victory Lane.

“We always look forward to the Derby,” Chrudimsky said. “Patience paid off tonight. To come back and defend it, we had the car to win tonight.”

Augie Grill appeared to have the car to beat early in Friday’s race.

Grill met his demise courtesy of lapped traffic on Lap 16. It spelled doom for the Five Flags fan favorite and two-time Derby winner, who was looking for a rare sweep of the Modifieds and Super Late Models.

Leading the race, Grill attempted to pass Kevin Chase and Kevin Peel. Chase got loose and the Gulf Breeze driver collected Grill.

Chase’s black No. 2 caught fire. He immediately sprang into action, climbed out of the car and put the extinguished the fire himself.

Grill’s sour end paved the way for Korey Ruble, who sat on the pole after posting a new track record (17.455 seconds) during qualifying. The Headland, Ala., assumed the top spot once again.

It appeared as though Grill’s misfortunes would result in victory for Ruble. Chrudimsky and Melvin had other ideas.

Melvin got passed Ruble on Lap 37 as the pair went two-by-two into Turn 3 and stayed that way coming out of Turn 4. Chrudimsky took advantage of Ruble, too, in the same sequence.

Melvin’s lead short-lived as Chrudimsky came charging two laps later. The pair, in addition to a lapped car, went three-wide in Turn 3. Chrudimsky came away with the lead just before caution came out and he never had to check his mirrors again.

Modified results � 1. Mark Chrudimsky; 2. Billy Melvin; 3. John Sappralcone; 4. Korey Ruble; 5. Todd Jackson; 6. Gerald Wilkerson; 7. Brandon Howell; 8. Nathan Ingersoll; 9. Jason Morman; 10. Donnie Hamrac; 11. Mike Maddox; 12. Chris Cotto; 13. Nathan Davis; 14. Trevor Edwards; 15. Todd Jones; 16. Jeff Letson; 17. Brandon Curren; 18. Stephan McCurley; 19. Tim Martin; 20. Kevyn Terry; 21. Kevin Peel; 22. Scooter Grice; 23. Bradley Riethmeyer; 24. Augie Grill; 25. Kevin Chase; 26. John Schultz; 27. Tuffy Hudson; 28. Bubba Gale; 29. James Patrick; 30. Michael House; 31. Don Livingston; 32. A.J. Winstead