SNOWBALL DERBY: RAIN, SPORTSMAN & BOMBERS KICK OFF FIRST NIGHT by Dan Butler
Mother Nature Does Her Best to Steal the Show
FLOWERS TAKES THE CAKE IN SPORTSMAN FEATURE
"I had a great car all night,” said Flowers. “I was just riding around in sixth or seventh most of the race, just saving the car. The #1 car (Ryan Paul) just used his car up at the end and I got underneath him in one. It's that last lap that counts."
Ryan Paul, who started on the pole after Randy Thompson and Bo Resmondo failed post qualifying tech, led most of the race, but ended up third on the last lap as Flowers and Thompson got around him on the inside. Thompson, the night's fast qualifyer with a lap of 21.425, had to earn his way into the feature by virtue of the last chance race.
Sportsman winner Jimmy Flowers. (51 Photos)
Cody White is hearing bells this morning, but they are not holiday bells. White, just 15 years old, was trying to get a transfer spot for the Bomber feature Thursday night, when his race abruptly ended with a scary crash in turn two. White got tagged by another car, over corrected and hit the outside wall nearly head on and sent his car into a wild roll. White's car ended up on it's lid, but the car wasn't finished yet. As safety crews worked to upright the car, the tow cable gave way and the car rolled down the turn two banking and slammed the inside wall hard just in front of two Escambia County police officers.
Luckily for White, who will be eligible for a driver's permit next year, the officers said they wouldn't hold the incident against him.
EVEN SAFETY VEHICLES HAVE A TOUGH DAY
Just before the sportsman feature was to get underway, a brief but hard rain shower moved over the track for no more than five minutes. High humidity in Pensacola all day long made drying the track a nightmare. For more than an hour, tow trucks, safety trucks, and race cars circled the track trying to build up heat to dry the track surface. Unfortunately for one safety truck, a left rear tire shredded and there was no choice but to pull it behind the wall. Like they always say, "Five Flags Speedway is all about the tires."
Even the track vehicle had difficulties on Thursday night.
The track crew removes White's machine from the track.
We've all heard it before - "it's not how many laps you lead in a race, as long as it's the last one." After crossing the line first in the 75-lap Sportsman Division feature Thursday night, a jubilant Jimmy Flowers quoted it perfectly.
...AND THE BOMBER WINNER IS....TO BE ANNOUNCED
After a brief downpour, 30-green flag laps, many caution laps and nearly 10 hours after the checkered flag flew in the bomber division feature, the race still doesn't have a winner.
Robert Balkum, in his first ever asphalt race, crossed the line first in the 30-lap feature. After a long tech inspection, the word went out that Balkum had failed. Next up was Wesley King, who crossed the line second. After another long inspection, Wesley got the boot. After nearly a half hour, tech inspectors called the tower again the ask who crossed the line third, then the calls kept coming.
This morning, the track office still didn't have an official winner and aren't expecting a call on it until "sometime after lunch."