SOUTHEAST: Justin South Tops Snowflake 100 Qualifying; Wins Pro Late Model Pole in Pensacola

Jacob Seelman MidSouth, Other Late Models, Southeast, Stock Cars 0 Comments

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.

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RESULTS: Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 Pole Qualifying; Five Flags Speedway; Dec. 5, 2015

  1. #21S – Justin South, 16.554
  2. #8 – John Hunter Nemechek, 16.579
  3. #30 – Bobby Knox Jr., 16.607
  4. #26 – Bubba Pollard, 16.613
  5. #45B – Dwayne Buggay, 16.616
  6. #9 – Chase Elliott, 16.617
  7. #18 – Hunter Robbins, 16.646
  8. #14 – Ryan Luza, 16.649
  9. #04A – Dalton Armstrong, 16.662
  10. #6W – Josh Williams, 16.703
  11. #05 – Bayley Currey, 16.712
  12. #53 – Kyle Ivey, 16.713
  13. #22 – Josh Bragg, 16.718
  14. #11 – Johanna Long, 16.720
  15. #18P – Ryan Paul, 16.724
  16. #01 – Derek Scott Jr., 16.732
  17. #39 – Kenzie Ruston, 16.749
  18. #2H – Bret Holmes, 16.773
  19. #00 – Anthony Cataldi, 16.776
  20. #11M – Brad May, 16.779
  21. #33S – Dustin Smith, 16.791
  22. #96 – Jake Kruger, 16.794
  23. #21T – Riley Thornton, 16.802
  24. #95 – Derrick Griffin, 16.808
  25. #77 – Zane Smith, 16.817
  26. #129 – Spencer Davis, 16.819
  27. #97 – Cole Anderson, 16.823
  28. #9T – Derek Thorn, 16.836
  29. #84 – Martin Latulippe, 16.837
  30. #10S – R.S. Senter, 16.844
  31. #72 – Scott Hantz, 16.851
  32. #51 – Mason Mitchell, 16.857
  33. #26C – Chandler Smith, 16.858
  34. #51 – Kaz Grala, 16.875
  35. #10MM – Matt Montineri, 16.886
  36. #51P – Perry Patino, 16.889
  37. #23 – Dalton Grindle, 16.943
  38. #99 – Wayne Niedecken Jr., 16.948
  39. #89 – Bobby Reuse, 16.955
  40. #12L – Dan Leeck, 16.972
  41. #41G – Troy Grisaffi, 16.982
  42. #1J – Garrett Jones, 17.035
  43. #13R – John Robicheaux, 17.063
  44. #55 – Ronnie Osmer, 17.075
  45. #12S – Justin Steiner, 17.091
  46. #17G – Kurt Guillot, 17.095
  47. #28 – Bryce Dulabhan, 17.106
  48. #30S – Rusty Sanford, 17.153
  49. #04 – Corey Roper, 17.167
  50. #00C – Brannon Curren, 17.290
  51. #8T – Scotty Tomasik, 17.303
  52. #5 – David Jones, 17.399
  53. #75K – Collin Crawford-Kraft, 17.418
  54. #8T – Travis Nelson, 18.008
  55. #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.

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