PENSACOLA, Fla. – Longtime veteran Augie Grill dominated Friday night’s Modifieds of Mayhem 75 as part of the 50th annual Snowball Derby, writing his own page of history at Five Flags Speedway in the process.
Grill led a race high 62 laps en route to the win, his first in the open-wheel modified class during Snowball Derby weekend, making him the first driver in event history to record victories in the super late model, pro late model and modified divisions.
The 41-year-old Hayden, Alabama native is a two-time Derby champion (2007-2008) and a three-time winner of the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 (2009, 2011, 2016).
Grill started second, but wrested the lead away from polesitter Jeff Letson on lap four with an outside pass in turn two and wasn’t seriously challenged again until the 12th round, when Cody Stickler charged from fourth on the grid to take the lead away.
Undeterred, Grill rallied back on lap 22 to resume command for good, pulling away by as much as a second at times and then holding off Doug Moff and Kyle Purvis in a delicate dance through traffic during the middle stages of the race.
Grill ultimately took the checkered flag .664 of a second in front of Moff after a 19-lap run to the finish.
“It’s pretty cool to do this and make a little history,” said Grill. “I thought we could have done it a little earlier than this, because we’ve had good cars quite a few times in this modified race, but we’d just never been able to capitalize on it at the end until tonight. We were finally able to put it together tonight, though. This car is three-for-four now this year, so we feel pretty good.”
Though it’s two completely different styles of racing, Grill added that his Friday night win does give him confidence for the rest of the weekend, especially after qualifying third for Sunday’s Snowball Derby.
“A win’s a win. Heck, if we had a foot race here, I’d be enjoying that if I won,” Grill joked. “Any win is a confidence booster. I feel like I’ve got really good cars for both Saturday and Sunday. We put our super third, which is the best I’ve done in a long time here, so I think things are finally looking up.”
Moff trailed Grill across the line in second, with Purvis completing the podium in third.
Korey Ruble and Zach Knowles finished fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by William Skaggs, Dillon Spreen, Johnny Walker, Letson and Donnie Hamrac.
The race was punctuated by two big crashes at laps 13 and 56 that eliminated numerous cars from contention.
The lap 13 incident saw Adam Crawford, Gary Sanford Jr, Parker Pugh, Christopher Hogan, Troy Gray, and Dustin Jackson all taken out in turns three and four after contact in the mid-pack led to a grinding incident.
Meanwhile, the crash with 19 to go occurred after Moff spun his tires on the restart and caused an accordion effect that took out the likes of Jeff Choquette, Jim Walls, Bob Slezinsky, and Ian Webster.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…