Friday June 21st, 2024 11:00PM

Thorn dominates for Snowflake 100 win at Five Flags

By Chuck Corder

Derek Thorn has been on another planet than everyone else this weekend at the 54th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The Bakersfield, California driver led flag-to-flag Saturday night and topped the 35-car Pro Late Model field to capture the Allen Turner Snowflake 100.

It’s his second event win in three years. It also marked his second consecutive pole, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished. Thorn achieved the same history in Derby qualifying Friday night by winning the pole in back-to-back years. On Sunday, he looks to become the first driver to sweep the weekend in winning both the Snowflake and the Derby.

“Fifteen years ago, this was a figment of my imagination,” Thorn said. “The car was phenomenal. Every time we come here, we try to get a little better. To have this car tonight, it’s unbelievable.”

He had competition for most of the race from Monroe, Georgia’s Jake Garcia, but the Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series track champion and Southern Super Series champion for Super Late Models settled for second. Colin Allman was steady all night, staying in the top-five, and finishing third.

Thorn earned quite the payday. An anonymous donor earlier Saturday threw in $3,000 to move the winner’s purse from $7,000 to $10,000.

“We were doing everything we could to stay out front,” Thorn said. “(Garcia) was keeping us honest. Track positioning is big here. And I was doing my best to save tires and keep them in one piece.”

There were six cautions and Thorn was perfect on each one. Each time he approached lapped traffic, Thorn deftly maneuvered through the cars in the back.

Johanna Robbins was enjoying a top-five performance at her home track before Noah Gragson started a chain reaction crash on lap 82 that deposited Robbins into the wall on no fault of her own.

Okrzesik Steamrolls Way To Faith Chapel Outlaws Snowball Derby Title

Connor Okrzesik, who already has four Snowball Derby starts in his young career, had prior school commitments that prevented him from appearing in Sunday’s race. The 32-car field in the Faith Chapel Outlaws Snowball Derby wishes Okrzesik stuck with the books Saturday instead of showing up at Five Flags Speedway.

Okrzesik led 47 of the 50 laps and was dominant en route to his first career Derby title.

“We just won the Derby, boys!” Okrzesik wailed. “It kills me we couldn’t run (the Derby), but I wasn’t gonna miss this race.”

Piloting the red George Bragg No. 22 out of Mississippi, the Grand Bay, Alabama native started second. Okrzesik got to the inside of polesitter Bubba Winslow on lap 3 and quickly shot off like a cannon. Timothy Watson challenged Okrzesik on late restarts, but he was up to the task each time and maintained his lead. Watson finished as runner-up, with Outlaws season track champion Jake Finch rounded out the podium.

“Timothy had a really fast car there at the end,” Okrzesik said. “He put a lotta pressure on us.”

Not enough to stop Okrzesik from capturing the checkered flag and celebrating by doing donuts in turn 1. Or, at least, trying to do donuts.

“I’m not good at donuts. I guess I don’t win that much,” Okrzesik said.

Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Snowflake 100 – December 4, 2021

1. Derek Thorn
2. Jake Garcia
3. Colin Alman
4. John DeAngelis
5. John Bolen
6. Stephen Nasse
7. Mike Hopkins
8. Jarrett Butcher
9. Jett Noland
10. Michael Hinde
11. Noah Gragson
12. Jim Wall
13. Chase Spradlin
14. Treyten Lapcevich
15. Blaine Rocha
16. Wes Griffith, Jr.
17. Cole Williams
18. Ryan Luza
19. Johanna Long Robbins
20. Derek Griffith
21. Mason Keller
22. Austin MacDonald
23. Trevor Christiani
24. William Sawalich
25. Augie Grill
26. Justin Bonnet
27. Dakota Stroupe
28. Dylan Fetcho
29. Preton Peltier
30. Hudson Halder
31. Dustin Smith
32. Derrick Griffin
33. Mike Garvey
34. Casey Johnson
35. Brandon Oakley
36. Steve Dorer

Outlaw Late Models
1. Connor Okrzesik
2. Tim Watson
3. Jake Finch
4. Bubba Winslow
5. Conner Sutton
6. Jason Vail
7. Cameron Henderson
8. Kraig Hall
9. Todd Jones
10. Robert Barker
11. Steve Campbell
12. Adam Salter
13. Jonatham Langham
14. Paul Jean
15. Jason Loveday
16. Mike Pollaro
17. Logan Boyett
18. Jr. Niedecken
19. Jason Welch
20. Allen Carter
21. Robbie Elledge
22. Nathan Ingersoll
23. Chris Cotto
24. Brandon Gaither
25. Chad Chaffin
26. Jay Jay Day
27. Daniel Webster
28. Stuart Dutton
29. Bill Tutchtone
30. Gary Goodwin
31. Jerry Bohlman
32. Jody Henderson

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