Five Flags Speedway

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Jake Johnson, from 31st to win Snowflake, after Nasse is penalized.  In Outlaws, Jay Jay Day.
198
12/6/2020

12/6/2020

Five Flags Speedway


Jake Johnson, from 31st to win Snowflake, after Nasse is penalized. In Outlaws, Jay Jay Day.

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Massachusetts Teenager Captures Snowflake 100 After Nasse’s Victory Wiped Away for ‘Avoidable Contact’ 

 

By Chuck Corder 

Jake Johnson’s smile will be plastered across his face all the way home to Rehoboth, Mass. 

Nothing like winning the biggest Pro Late Model race in the country at the 53rd annual Snowball Derby to make a 21-hour drive seem like a trip to your neighborhood pharmacy. 

Johnson, all of 17, was declared the winner of the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 on Saturday at Five Flags Speedway when race officials negated Stephen Nasse’s unofficial victory for “avoidable contact.â€? Nasse got into the back of then-leader Bubba Pollard between Turn Nos. 3 and 4 on the final lap as the pair raced for the checkered flag. 

“This feels pretty good,â€? said a stunned Johnson, who started 31st and only got into the ’Flake courtesy of winning the last-chance race earlier Saturday afternoon. “I don’t know what to say. Luckily, I had a bad fast racecar and we were able to bring this thing to Victory Lane.â€? 

Nasse was still in Victory Lane, celebrating with his Jett Motorsports teammates and wrapping up his on-track interview, when the announcement came over the public address system. A year after having his apparent Snowball Derby win stripped from him because of an equipment infraction, Nasse was numb and speechless after hearing the ruling. 

The controversial decision was met with a mixture of cheers and jeers from the sold-out crowd, but race director Nicholas Rogers explained to Speed51 that rules must be enforced despite the stage of the race. 

“Anytime there’s contact causing a caution condition,â€? Rogers said, “even though it was coming to the checkered, anyone in it creating the caution goes to the tail. Coming to the checkered is no different than a caution coming out. 

“(Nasse) was DQ’d and sent to the rear of the lead lap cars.â€? 

Florida Panhandle teenager Jake Finch finished runner-up and Jarrett Butcher came home third officially. 

Nasse ended up 22nd, but not without an appeal. His team flooded the technical inspection area and positioned his No. 51 behind the scales as they called for Rogers’ call to be thrown out and their man to be re-crowned the ’Flake winner. 

Following the conclusion of the Outlaws Derby, Nasse privately spoke with Rogers and race officials in the tech shed. Rogers stood firm with his call, though, leaving Nasse and his loyal legion of fans without the satisfaction they thought they were owed. 

“(Nasse) got into the leader of the event, spinning him out in the end,â€? Rogers continued with Speed51. â€œDue to that, we had to move to the tail. If not, you’d just have people running through people with no recourse. You’d never have the initial winner down the backstraightaway win a race if they are within five car-lengths going into three. That’s just not good short track racing.â€? 

It soured what had been an exceptional ’Flake. Polesitter Derek Thorn, also on the pole for today’s Derby moved up to 1 p.m. to stay ahead of anticipated showers, was as smooth as silk for the first half of the race. 

Things began percolating following a restart with 66 laps in the books. Nasse took the long way around in attempting to pass Thorn, but the California driver fought back. They swapped paint for the next five laps, trading nose-length leads with the distance between the two cars paper thin. 

Nasse finally took the lead from Thorn on Lap 80 in Turn No. 2, but it was short-lived. Pollard flexed his muscles two laps later and passed Nasse on the high side following another restart. 

Just when it appeared that Pollard was in the wind, building a two-tenths lead, Nasse was charging again with five laps remaining. The rivals took the white flag and the stage was set for fireworks. 

Nasse executed his gameplan to perfection. He showed the nose in Turn No. 3 and got Pollard out of shape. As the pair came off Turn No. 4, Pollard slightly slid up the racetrack and couldn’t get back into the side of Nasse before the Pinellas Park native sped off to the flagstand and crossed the start-finish line first. 

“What a finish,â€? Nasse said before the decision was made. “We were racing hard at the end. I hope it was a good show for the fans.  

“When I was able to run good in the corners, we were able to get out front. What a ride. It’s unbelievable. I do it for all my guys.â€? 

Meanwhile, Johnson stampeded through the field from his starting position near the tail end. Despite the Nasse-Pollard debate, Johnson’s march through the field cannot be ignored. 

He was set for a podium finish in third before things got wacky and the win fell in his lap. 

“I was focused on hitting my marks and keeping it wide open,â€? Johnson said. 

Nasse didn’t speak to the media after he departed the tech shed. Still visibly upset with the final decision, he plopped down in a golf cart and rode back to his hauler dejected.  

After a few minutes, Nasse appeared once again, but still didn’t talk. His hands tucked into the pockets of his fire suit, Nasse got into a white Super Duty Ford truck in need of an escape from the famed half-mile asphalt oval. 

Twenty yards away, the winner was still smiling as he carried bags and equipment back to his pit area. 

Underneath a hoodie slung over his head, Johnson’s face had not changed since he hoisted the ’Flake title a couple hours prior. 

That smile and Johnson were bringing a championship back to New England.

 

 

Official order of finish of top 10:

1   Jake Johnson

2 Jake Finch

3 Jarrett Butcher

4 Derek Thorn

5 Matt Craig

6 Dylan Fetcho

7 Chris Davidson

8 Dakota Stroup

9 Connor Okrzesik

10 Justin Bonnett

Outlaws

Another Mobile Winner in Local Division Racing

 

Day Dominates Huge Field to Win Outlaws Snowball Derby 

 

By Chuck Corder 

If it has wheels, Jay Jay Day has raced it at Five Flags Speedway. 

The Theodore, Ala., product and veteran of Pensacola’s high banks is a certified wheelman and has created a hauler-full of memories. 

Nothing, though, will ever compare to the heights Day soared to at the 53rd annual Snowball Derby on Saturday. He qualified on the pole and turned in a near-flawless performance despite the demolition derby that occurred behind him for 50 laps. 

Day won the Outlaws Snowball Derby in commanding fashion, getting the better of past Derby winner Bubba Winslow on restart after restart following the eight cautions that flew Saturday. 

An understandably exhausted Day pulled himself out of the driver’s side window of the Pressler Motorsports No. 42 and gave a lethargic fist pump in celebration. 

“Mobile! Stand up!â€? Day said, catching his breath and shouting out his hometown. “I can’t believe it. Beside the birth of my two kids and marrying my wonderful wife, this is the best moment in my life. Snowball freakin’ Derby!â€?  

Winslow, the Faith Chapel Outlaws track champion at Five Flags this season, settled for runner-up honors and Cameron Henderson rounded out the podium. 

Winslow was Day’s only real threat all night. The Cantonment driver started sixth but had climbed to second in less than 20 laps. 

And, for a moment on Lap 24, Winslow stole the lead when Day spun his tires on a restart. But the caution flag flew before the 35-car field completed one lap. Rules dictate when that happens a complete restart occurs, and drivers get their spots back. 

It was, perhaps, Day’s only flub Saturday. 

“Man, we were fast,â€? he said. “I can’t believe how good we were. The car was easy to drive.â€? 

 

Here are the top 10 finishers:

 

  • Jay Jay Day
  • Bubba Winslow
  • Cameron Henderson
  • John Heil
  • Jason Welch
  • Chase Oliver
  • Alan Carter
  • Logan Boyett
  • Jason Loveday
  • Brooke Storer
A full story later.

 

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