Snowball Derby 2013: Chase Elliott conserves his way to Snowflake 100 victory

Chris Owens

Chase Elliott blistered the track record, but it was not a dominant performance in the Snowflake 100 for Pro Late Models Saturday night. Nevertheless, in the end it was another success for the accomplished teenager.

Pensacola, Fla. -- Dawsonville, Georgia's Chase Elliott collected another victory at the end of Saturday night, becoming the first driver to win two-straight and a third career Snowflake 100.

Elliott set the track record in qualifying for the second night in a row and jumped out to the early lead; however, it was 2012 fast qualifier Justin South that completed passes and powered by Elliott on the outside on lap ten.

On lap 14, a nine-car crash in turn two involving drivers like Jared Fryar, Ben Kennedy, and Johanna Long brought out a red flag.  During this stoppage, Elliott reported a loss of oil pressure since the moment he was passed for the lead.  Although he fell as far back as sixth, it evidently turned out to be a non-issue and was most likely just the temperature.

When the race restarted it would remain under green conditions for the entire remaining distance.  South would enjoy a comfortable lead until John Hunter Nemechek, in his first Pro Late Model start, moved into second and closed in.

The top five positions remained the same through halfway, but about ten laps later Nemechek worked his way into the lead.  At this point, Elliott had moved back up to third.

In the closing laps, Elliott bolted by South and set his sights on Nemechek.  With six laps left the two ran side-by-side with Elliott finally clearing Nemechek.

While Chase was happy with the win, the focus remains on Sunday where he could become the first driver to sweep the Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby in the same weekend.

"I'm proud of tonight, but at the same time we've still got a big race tomorrow," noted Elliott.  "Our goal was to try to get both of these things.  I'm confident.  I definitely think we can get the job done."

Despite being satisfied with the runner-up finish, Nemechek reevaluated his performance in the race.

"I made my move a little bit too early and used up my stuff," Nemechek explained.  "(Elliott) saved a little bit more and that's what the key factor was.  There's definitely some stuff that I learned tonight that we can take into (the Snowball Derby)"

For the second straight year, it was a dominant run that faded away for the comparatively underfunded Justin South.

"We just didn't have enough to go a hundred laps tonight," said third place finisher South.  "We conserved as much as we could, but we couldn't do anymore.  It would have definitely played a little better for us to get a bunch of cautions.  We'll just keep working at it."

Rounding out the top five were Hunter Robbins and Dwayne Buggay.

Earlier in the evening, the Pro Truck division ran their inaugural Snowball Derby weekend race.  This 50-lap feature also saw some lead changes with Georgia's Riley Thornton winning over Eric Wallace, and Colt James.

The 46th Annual Snowball Derby is set to kick off 300 laps of racing with the green flag flying at 2p.m. CT.

Post-race video with the Snowflake 100 podium finishers can be found below with the full results at the end of the post.

1.       Chase Elliott

2.       John Hunter Nemechek

3.       Justin South

4.       Hunter Robbins

5.       Dwayne Buggay

6.       Mike Garvey

7.       Anderson Bowen

8.       Augie Grill

9.       Steven Davis

10.   Korey Ruble

11.   DJ Shaw

12.   Russell Fleeman

13.   Brad May

14.   Bubba Pollard

15.   Johanna Long

16.   Harrison Burton

17.   Garrett Jones

18.   Daniel Keene Jr.

19.   John DeAngelis

20.   Spencer Davis

21.   J.J. Haley

22.   Jerrod Foley

23.   Jake Griffin

24.   R.S. Senter

25.   Brandon Odom

26.   Mark Day

27.   John Bolen

28.   Kyle Plott

29.   Daniel Hemric

30.   Junior Niedecken

31.   Jared Fryar

32.   Bayley Currey

33.   Ben Kennedy

34.   Jeremy Pate

35.   Ryan Luza

36.   Corey Deuser

Continuing coverage of the Snowball Derby can be found on the Ranting and Raving short track blog. Visit our Facebook page for all the updates and links to our stories leading up to the Super Bowl of Short Track Racing.

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