Five Flags Speedway

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208
12/4/2011

12/4/2011

Five Flags Speedway


Grill Flashes His Grill, Wins Second Career Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Amid Caution-Plagued Race

Chuck Corder

Heartbreak was littered across Five Flags Speedway’s high banks Saturday night after the Snowflake 100.

On every inch of asphalt in all four turns. Painted across the inside wall down the front stretch. And inside numerous idle Pro Late Model haulers in the pits.

No evidence of pain, though, could be found across Augie Grill’s face.

“I’m getting cramps,� Grill said as he posed with a toothy smile next to the winner’s trophy in Victory Lane.

He had every reason to grin, becoming the first driver to capture the Snowflake 100 and the Snowball Derby twice in a career.

Grill outlasted nearly 15 cautions that ended the evenings of some accomplished names, leading 90 laps en route to his second ’Flake win in three years. Just 16 of the 36-car field finished the race.

“It’s pretty neat. I’d like to get that third Derby and try to catch Bickle,� Grill said of Rich Bickle Jr.’s record five Derby wins. “I don’t know if that’ll ever happen, though.�

As strong as he is at the famed half-mile asphalt oval, don’t put anything past Grill.

Grill took the lead on Lap 11 and was absolutely magical on restarts to stay out in clean, cool air all night long.

“I hate it that nobody wanted to finish second,� he said. “I hope we put on a good show for the fans.�

Brandon Odom ultimately was tickled pink did finish runner-up to Grill.

“It’s not easy to qualify for a big race like this,� Odom said. “I’m happy and you better believe we’ll take it because it’s pretty beat up.�

Some scintillating runs from some familiar Five Flags faces were spoiled because of hard racing.

Bubba Pollard, owner of 19 late model wins this year, led early and was second for most of the night. His night ended, though, with a violent crash with 93 laps complete into the inside wall down the front stretch where his rear tires got airborne.

“Someone in front of me checked up, I tried to avoid it and I lost it,� Pollard said.

Two-time defending track champion D.J. VanderLey had a top-three car and battled Grill for the lead at one point until getting spun late in the race. He eventually finished eighth.

Two spots ahead of VanderLey was Chase Elliott, last year’s champion. The son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, Chase made a valiant run to the front early on, but a huge 12-car wreck prevented the 15 year old from becoming a legitimate threat.

The story of the night nearly became about a 14 year old. Kyle Benjamin, who won a Pro Late Model race earlier this year, started 28th and climbed all the way to third before a tire rub forced him to a 23rd-place finish.

“I’m just happy I got the car home in one piece,� said third-place finisher Brandon Johnson, who was disqualified in post-race technical inspection. “The car was good on long runs, unfortunately it wasn’t enough at the end.�

Would have it mattered against Grill, though? Probably not.

Equipped with a new transmission, the No. 112 was beastly and its driver knew it.

“That thing was bad to the bone. It was the cat’s meow,� Grill said. “I rode when I needed to and raced when I had to. The car was great.�

His smile said it all.

Snowflake 100 Results—1. Augie Grill, 2. Brandon Odom, 3. Ben Kennedy, 4. Tommy Rollins, 5. Chase Elliott, 6. Daniel Hemric, 7. D.J. VanderLey, 8. Ross Kenseth, 9. Matt Smith, 10. Logan Boyett, 11. Cody Coughlin, 12. Willie Allen, 13. Elliott Massey, 14. Ryan Blaney, 15. Justin South, 16. Brandon Bendele, 17. Bubba Pollard, 18. Andy Loden, 19. Jason Young, 20. Mike Garvey, 21. Korey Ruble, 22. Kyle Benjamin, 23. Chris Davidson, 24. Erik Jones, 25. Brandon Jones, 26. Hunter Robbins, 27. Dwayne Buggay, 28. Kyle Bryant, 29. Spencer Davis, 30. Roger Lee Newton, 31. Jerick Johnson, 32. Jeff Choquette, 33. Stephan McCurley, 34. Dave Mader III, 35. Donnie Hamrac, DQ. Brandon Johnson

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