Saturday November 17th, 2018 8:07AM

Grill takes Modified win, Peltier on Snowball Derby pole

By Chuck Corder
  Contact Editor

Even legends want their picture taken with Augie Grill.

In the joyous aftermath of Grill’s dominant performance to capture the 75-lap Modified division’s portion of the Snowball Derby on Friday night at Florida’s Five Flags Speedway, “Alabama Gang” founding member Red Farmer waded through a sea of happy humanity on the front stretch to congratulate Grill.

Then, as if he was meeting one of his heroes, the 85-year-old Farmer sidled up next to the 41-year-old Grill and the two posed for photos as digital cameras and smart phones snapped feverishly.

Who could blame the NASCAR legend? When Grill puts on a show like the one he completed Friday at the famed Pensacola, Florida half-mile asphalt oval, you want to preserve the memory.

Grill couldn’t have asked for a better start to his Derby weekend. The Hayden, Alabama, driver had a great run during Derby qualifying and will start third in the golden edition of short-track’s most prestigious race Sunday.

Then, Grill followed that up by leading all but 15 of the 75 laps in the Modified feauture, as he became the first driver to win Derby crowns in three separate classifications in, at least, the last 30 years.

“That’s pretty cool,” Grill said when informed of the history he made Friday.

Grill has now won six Derby titles in his iconic career. He add this latest victory to his stuffed war chest that includes three Allen Turner Pro Late Model Snowflake 100 crowns and his back-to-back Derby victories (2007-2008).

Grill would not be denied Friday despite a hefty field of 31 other cars and a dense fog hanging above the speedway.

He took the lead from polesitter Jeff Letson on lap 5, yielded it to Cody Stickler on lap 11 momentarily before reclaiming it for good on lap 22.

“The goal is always to try and save because the right rear wants to go quick on these things,” Grill said. “After the 99 (Stickler) passed me, I ran him pretty hard. Then, they started to stack up behind me, and I didn’t wanna be behind a few cars at the end, so I decided it was time to go. I was able to maintain the lead and make it happen.”

There was little anyone could do about it. Doug Moff used lapped traffic to his advantage a few times to close the gap on Grill, but eventually settled for a runner-up finish. Kyle Purvis rounded out the podium.

The fog rolled in about 10 minutes before the green flag dropped and lingered for the race’s entirety. Unfortunately, for the field, the haze didn’t create any visibility issues for Grill and his No. 112 Modified, which was festive with illustrations of Derby mascot Snowball, a Santa hat and Rudolph sprinkled all over the car.

Earlier in the day, Preston Peltier turned in fast time in qualifying for Sunday’s Snowball Derby Super Late Model feature. Senoia, Georgia’s Bubba Pollard qualified on the outside of the front row, with Augie Grill third, Mason Mingus fourth and Jeremy Doss in fifth.

Chase Purdy, Chris Davidson, Ty Majeski, Cole Butcher and Jeff Choquette rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

The top 30 qualifiers are locked into Sunday’s race, with 23 drivers left to vie for the remaining starting positions in Saturday’s last chance race.

Also on tap for Saturday is a 50 lap race for the Truck division, and the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 for the Pro Late Models.

On Sunday, the attention will move to the Super Late Models for the Snowball Derby.

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5 Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Snowball Derby – Dec. 1, 2017

1. 112 Augie Grill
2. 46 Doug Moff
3. 13P Kyle Purvis
4. 66 Korey Ruble
5. 51 Zachary Knowles
6. 71 William Skaggs
7. 0 Dillon Spreen
8. 72 Johnny Walker
9. 131 Jeff Letson
10. 8 Donnie Hamrac
11. 47 John Thomas
12. 81H Christopher Hogan
13. 45 Gregg Korn
14. 77 Kevin Doran
15. 33M Jason Morman
16. 07 Blake Ferguson
17. 99S Cody Stickler
18. 101 Cameron Berry
19. 9C Jeff Choquette
20. 91 Jim Wall
21. 13 Ian Webster
22. 26 Bob Slezinsky
23. 66R Ryan Redmon
24. 88H Larry Hughes
25. 74 Tony Gray
26. 16 Billy Melvin
27. 17 Chris Cotto
28. 31 Parker Pugh
29. 64 Adam Crawford
30. 4J Dustin Jackson
31. 18S Gary Sanford, Jr.
32. 7W Josh Ware

Snowball Derby Qualifying Results
1. Preston Peltier
2. Bubba Pollard
3. Augie Grill
4. Mason Mingus
5. Jeremy Doss
6. Chase Purdy
7. Chris Davidson
8. Ty Majeski
9. Cole Butcher
10. Jeff Choquette
11. Spencer Davis
12. Casey Roderick
13. Connor Okrzesik
14. Dan Fredrickson
15. Kyle Busch
16. Kyle Plott
17. Chandler Smith
18. Raphael Lessard
19. Logan Boyett
20. Noah Gragson
21. Brandon McReynolds
22. Harrison Burton
23. Cole Rouse
24. Anthony Cataldi
25. Boris Jurkovic
26. Corey LaJoie
27. Kason Plott
28. Jake Crum
29. Cassius Clark
30. Stephen Nasse
31. Donnie Wilson
32. Christian Eckes
33. Derek Kraus
34. Tyler Dippel
35. Brandon Oakley
36. Tate Fogleman
37. Garrett Jones
38. Dustin Smith
39. John DeAngelis
40. David Rogers
41. Kyle Bryant
42. Jeremy Pate
43. Donald Crocker
44. Joe Aramendia
45. Steven Davis
46. Rich Bickle
47. Jerry Artuso
48. John Coffman
49. Dennis Schoenfeld
50. Ben Rowe
51. Garrett Evans
52. Stuart Dutton
53. Jeff Firestine

  • Associated Categories: NASCAR News, Other Motorsports
  • Associated Tags: motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Short Track, Asphalt, Late Model, Snowball Derby
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