Five Flags Speedway

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12/2/2012

12/2/2012

Five Flags Speedway


Elliott Elevates Resume, Wins 2nd Snowflake 100, Eyes Derby Repeat and First-Ever Sweep

By Chuck Corder

Someone dust off the trophy case at the Elliott household. Add another shelf. Knock down a wall.Chase Elliott’s collection of hardware, a vast majority boasting Pensacola roots, got heavier with another Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 win Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway.

“This means a lot to me,� said the Dawsonvile, Ga., native and son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott. “My guys work hard year after year.�

The recently-turned 17 year old and his team are a machine built for winning, seemingly stronger than their No. 9 Pro Late Model that revs under Elliott.

Elliott captured his second ’Flake in three years, easily beating runner-up Mike Garvey and third-place Kyle Benjamin to the checkered flag. Johanna Long finished seventh while daddy Donald Long’s troubles placed him 31st in the 36-car field.

It marks Elliott’s third trip to Victory Lane in three years at Pensacola’s high banks after his historic win at last year’s Snowball Derby.

Elliott hopes to add another page in his bursting record book at 2 p.m. Sunday when 36 Super Late Models line up for the 45th running of the Snowball Derby.

No driver has swept the ’Flake and short-track racing’s most prestigious race in the same year.

“I know we’ve got a team capable of winning tomorrow,� Elliott said.

That seems to be short-track racing’s most prestigious understatement.

Elliott led twice Saturday for a total of 52 laps, including the final 47. Justin South, who sat on the pole (16.905 seconds) after qualifying ahead of Elliott and Benjamin’s dual 16.978, was the only other leader.

Elliott is so proficient in all phases of his game, but his restarts proved to be once again a major advantage Saturday.

It was a vital part of his repertoire down the stretch, as the race saw eight total cautions, five coming in the last 10 laps.

“It’s pretty much a fact, anytime we’re out front, the cautions are gonna come out,� Elliott said. “We were fortunate to stay out front.�

Time after time, he owned the unsuspecting victim on the outside groove, most notably Benjamin. Class was in session for the 15 year old, who is homeschooled back in South Carolina.

“I learned a lot,� Benjamin admitted. “(Elliott) kind of caught me off guard. It’s good to race against somebody like Chase and learn a few things.�

Elliott steered the bus Saturday on the entire field. He deftly maneuvered through lapped traffic, avoiding looming pitfalls with an effortless turn of the wheel.

Elliott’s experience belies his youth. He navigates the famed half-mile asphalt oval as if he has been driving on it since his first Big Wheel.

“I don’t know about being a veteran,� Elliott said. “I’ve still got a lot to learn.�

Tell that to his counterparts. They’ll need some convincing to swallow that bit of honey.

“Chase was fast,� Garvey said. “We were biding our time and all of a sudden the car was tight. But that’s no excuse. Chase was better.�

What else is new? It has become one of life’s certainties.

Death, taxes and Chase Elliott leaving Pensacola with hardware on Snowball Derby weekend.

And the weekend isn’t over.

 

ALLEN TURNER HYUNDAI SNOWFLAKE 100

OFFICIAL RESULTS

1 9 Chase Elliott 100
2 1 Mike Garvey 100
3 71 Kyle Benjamin 100
4 29 T Austin Theriault 100
5 4 J Erik Jones 100
6 12 Brandon McReynolds 100
7 11 Johanna Long 100
8 41 Chris Davidson 100
9 6 L Austin Luedtke 100
10 22 Augie Grill 100
11 1 C Cody Coughlin 100
12 29 Anderson Bowen 100
13 4P Kyle Plott 100
14 83 Scotty Ellis 100
15 112 Kenzie Ruston 100
16 29 Spencer Davis 100
17 43 Justin South 100
18 5 Chase Miller 100
19 33 Weston Griffith Jr 100
20 91 Zachary Hausler 100
21 14 Corey Deuser 99
22 3 Brandon Kelley 99
23 88 Garrett Jones 99
24 66 Korey Ruble 94
25 81 Brandon Odom 94
26 77 Bryan Silas 92
27 96 Benjamin Kennedy 91
28 99 Wayne Niedecken Jr. 91
29 45 Dwayne Buggay 91
30 36 B Rodney Benefield 82
31 4 L Donald Long 66
32 98 Russell Fleeman 24
33 2 Matt Smith 23
34 54 Daniel Hemric 23
35 121 Joseph Meyers 23
36 64 David Jones 19
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