PENSACOLA, Fla. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Eddie Richie photo —
Justin South garnered the pole for the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 during pro late model qualifying on Saturday afternoon at Five Flags Speedway.
South rocketed past two-time Snowflake runner-up and reigning Snowball Derby champion John Hunter Nemechek with his lap of 16.554 seconds (106.735 mph) just past the halfway mark in the 57-driver field and held the top spot the rest of the way.
In scoring his second-career Snowflake Pole Award, South dedicated the effort to his late grandfather, who his No. 21 machine is named after.
“What a run for this piece,” South said with a smile. “I’ve got an awesome car owner in Larry (Blount) and he and my crew have given me everything that I need to be able to go out as a driver and go fast. That’s my job and we certainly made that happen today. John Hunter’s a heck of a wheelman, so to outrun him even in qualifying is a cool deal.”
“This one is for my grandfather. We lost him a couple weeks ago and it would mean so much to be able to make it happen tonight for him. It’s almost time to see if we can put the ‘Corruptor III’ in victory lane, so we’ll see where we sit after 100 laps tonight!”
Nemechek’s lap of 16.579 (108.571) was good for the number two position, and he will start alongside South on the front row as he looks to avenge his recent near-misses in the pro late model classic.
“Racing here is all about saving your car and managing your equipment and tires,” Nemechek admitted. “That’s why I lost the past two years; I did exactly the opposite. I think we’ve got a very fast car all weekend, so hopefully we can stay up there tonight and try and get us a victory.”
“The track cools off as it gets later in the day and the sun goes down, so we’re hoping to use that to our advantage by knowing what the car’s going to do once the race starts. I want to come out tonight and not finish second this time around.”
A surprising run for young gun Bobby Knox III (16.607/108.388) left him third on the speed charts, followed by defending race winner Bubba Pollard (16.613/108.349) and Dwayne Buggay (16.616/108.329).
Three-time Snowflake winner and former NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott followed that group with the sixth-fastest lap (16.617/108.323) on the board, a disappointing result in the eyes of the Dawsonville, Ga. native.
“It’s a long race and you can’t win it on the first lap, so our goal is to try and get to lap 100,” Elliott explained. “At the end of the day, wherever we end up we end up. I didn’t feel like I hit my lap where I felt like we needed to, but that’s okay. We’ll just see what we get tonight in the race.”
The top 30 cars made the race on speed, with two disqualifications (Brandon Setzer and Zachary Knowles) outside that group coming for violations of the post-qualifying impound procedure.
R.S. Senter was the last driver to make the show on speed in 30th, while Scott Hantz (31st) and 2014 ARCA Racing Series champion Mason Mitchell (32nd) were the first two drivers below the cut line.
Along with Hantz and Mitchell, other notables who were bounced into the 50-lap Last Chance Showdown included Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Kaz Grala (34th) and former Five Flags Speedway track champion Garrett Jones (42nd), who battled alternator problems throughout the day.
Once that event began, it was Grala charging forward to pick up the victory and transfer onto the main event, ahead of Hantz, former PASS Pro Late Model competitor Chandler Smith and Setzer, who came from the back to barely make the 100-lap finale.
Jones came from the rear along with Setzer following his team changing the alternator before the start of the LCS, but came up one spot shy of moving on in finishing fifth. Mitchell also failed to advance, coming home 12th.
The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 is scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT start time. Bubba Pollard is the defending race winner.
For more information, visit www.5flagsspeedway.com.
RESULTS: Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 Pole Qualifying; Five Flags Speedway; Dec. 5, 2015
- #21S – Justin South, 16.554
- #8 – John Hunter Nemechek, 16.579
- #30 – Bobby Knox Jr., 16.607
- #26 – Bubba Pollard, 16.613
- #45B – Dwayne Buggay, 16.616
- #9 – Chase Elliott, 16.617
- #18 – Hunter Robbins, 16.646
- #14 – Ryan Luza, 16.649
- #04A – Dalton Armstrong, 16.662
- #6W – Josh Williams, 16.703
- #05 – Bayley Currey, 16.712
- #53 – Kyle Ivey, 16.713
- #22 – Josh Bragg, 16.718
- #11 – Johanna Long, 16.720
- #18P – Ryan Paul, 16.724
- #01 – Derek Scott Jr., 16.732
- #39 – Kenzie Ruston, 16.749
- #2H – Bret Holmes, 16.773
- #00 – Anthony Cataldi, 16.776
- #11M – Brad May, 16.779
- #33S – Dustin Smith, 16.791
- #96 – Jake Kruger, 16.794
- #21T – Riley Thornton, 16.802
- #95 – Derrick Griffin, 16.808
- #77 – Zane Smith, 16.817
- #129 – Spencer Davis, 16.819
- #97 – Cole Anderson, 16.823
- #9T – Derek Thorn, 16.836
- #84 – Martin Latulippe, 16.837
- #10S – R.S. Senter, 16.844
- #72 – Scott Hantz, 16.851
- #51 – Mason Mitchell, 16.857
- #26C – Chandler Smith, 16.858
- #51 – Kaz Grala, 16.875
- #10MM – Matt Montineri, 16.886
- #51P – Perry Patino, 16.889
- #23 – Dalton Grindle, 16.943
- #99 – Wayne Niedecken Jr., 16.948
- #89 – Bobby Reuse, 16.955
- #12L – Dan Leeck, 16.972
- #41G – Troy Grisaffi, 16.982
- #1J – Garrett Jones, 17.035
- #13R – John Robicheaux, 17.063
- #55 – Ronnie Osmer, 17.075
- #12S – Justin Steiner, 17.091
- #17G – Kurt Guillot, 17.095
- #28 – Bryce Dulabhan, 17.106
- #30S – Rusty Sanford, 17.153
- #04 – Corey Roper, 17.167
- #00C – Brannon Curren, 17.290
- #8T – Scotty Tomasik, 17.303
- #5 – David Jones, 17.399
- #75K – Collin Crawford-Kraft, 17.418
- #8T – Travis Nelson, 18.008
- #91F – Chris Freeland, 18.766
DQ: #07S – Brandon Setzer (16.971) DQ: #51K – Zachary Knowles (17.052)
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
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