Casey Roderick

Photo courtesy 5FlagsSpeedway.com

Stephen Nasse DQ’d, Travis Braden declared Snowball Derby winner

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What was the greatest day of Stephen Nasse’s late model racing career turned into the biggest nightmare just over two hours later.

After roaring through the field from a next-to-last starting position (36th in the 37-driver field) to win the 52nd Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, Nasse and his car were disqualified due to an illegal equipment violation found in post-race inspection.

As a result, original race runner-up Travis Braden was ruled the winner, while 14-year-old Jake Garcia, making his first career Snowball Derby start, moved up from third-place to runner-up.

This marks the third time since 2013 that the Snowball Derby winner has been disqualified for violations: Chase Elliott was DQ’d in 2013, giving the win to Erik Jones; and then in 2015, Christopher Bell was DQ’d, giving the win to Elliott.

Nasse was DQ’d for a titanium violation in the brake system of his car, apparently the first time such equipment has been found in Derby cars. Here’s an interview with chief technical inspector Ricky Brooks, courtesy of AutoWeek.com’s Matt Weaver, explaining Nasse’s disqualification:

Braden, a West Virginia native, told Speed51.com about his victory, “It feels very special. But I know it’s going to feel more special with a little bit of time. It stinks we couldn’t have won the race outright, but I know these guys won the Snowball Derby. We brought a car here capable of winning this race outright.”

Nasse took to Twitter to express his feelings about being disqualified:

Nasse’s car was the only one to fail post-race inspection.

Had Garcia won, he would have been the youngest winner in Derby history (Chase Elliott holds that record at 16 years, 6 days old, in 2011).

Rounding out the top five were Canadian native Cole Butcher in third, Jesse Dutilly in fourth and Preston Peltier in fifth. The race was originally scheduled to be run Sunday, but persistent rain pushed the event to Monday afternoon/evening.

Braden adds his name to a long list of Derby winners including Kyle Busch (2009, 2017), Erik Jones (2012, 2013), John Hunter Nemecheck (2014), Chase Elliott (2011, 2015), Christian Eckes (2016) and Noah Gragson (2018).

Several other notables and their finishing positions included veteran Cup driver David Gilliland (27th), JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry (29th), and NASCAR Cup driver Corey LaJoie, who suffered early problems and finished 31st. Former Roush Fenway Racing Xfinity Series driver Ty Majeski finished 13th, and ARCA Menards Pro Series West (formerly K&N Pro Series West) driver Derek Kraus finished 18th.

Majeski appeared headed to the win with less than two laps to go when he was involved in a multi-car wreck on Lap 317, bringing out a red flag race stoppage.

That opened the door for Nasse, Braden and Garcia — before Nasse was disqualified.

As a result, instead of earning what would have been the 100th late model win of his career, the 25-year-old Majeski, a native of Seymour, Wisconsin, was left with a wrecked race car and finished 13th.

“I’m just extremely frustrated,” Majeski told Speed51.com. “We had a real good car, a car plenty capable of winning. This is a tough one. Man, it sucks.”

Here are the updated results:

52nd Annual Snowball Derby Official Results

Pos. # Driver
1 26b Travis Braden
2 35 Jake Garcia
3 53b Cole Butcher
4 30 Jesse Dutilly
5 48 Preston Peltier
6 51s Chandler Smith
7 22 Casey Roderick
8 18 Hunter Robbins
9 36 Dan Fredrickson
10 53j Boris Jurkovic
11 119 Dalton Zehr
12 12G Derek Griffith
13 91 Ty Majeski
14 9C Jeff Choquette
15 43 Derek Thorn
16 81 Giovanni Bromante
17 7d John DeAngelis
18 2 Derek Kraus
19 54c Matt Craig
20 9m Brad May
21 51a Michael Altwell
22 20m Cole Moore
23 75 Jeremy Doss
24 16 Lucas Jones
25 26p Bubba Pollard
26 10 Kaden Honeycutt
27 54g David Gilliland
28 112 Augie Grill
29 57 Josh Berry
30 14c Connor Okrzesik
31 7 Corey LaJoie
32 21p Jeremy Pate
33 11 David Rogers
34 15 Rodrigo Rejon
35 4 Kyle Plott
36 78 Corey Heim
37 51n Stephen Nasse DQ

 

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Noah Gragson wins Snowball Derby for Kyle Busch Motorsports

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Noah Gragson took the lead from Harrison Burton with a handful of laps remaining in the 51st annual Snowball Derby to give Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) back-to-back wins in the prestigious Super Late Model race.

Last year, Kyle Busch scored the victory. 

Ty Majeski held on to finish second ahead of Jeff Choquette. Conor Okrzesik and Casey Roderick rounded out the top five.

It appeared to be Burton’s race to lose. He chased down Majeski with 25 laps remaining and held the top spot for five laps before a caution waved for Kale Bryant’s spin. Most of the leaders pitted under that caution, but Burton chose to stay out on old tires.

Burton faded to 10th in the final rundown.

With 16 laps remaining, Majeski was instrumental in the final caution. He and Bubba Pollard spun after making contact in Turns 1 and 2. The incident put an end to Pollard’s Snowball Derby bid for the 13th time. Pollard finished 11 laps off the pace in 26th. Last year, he finished third. KBM kept their drivers in contention with fast work in the pits and on the track.

On Lap 90, Noah Gragson came in running third and left with the lead. KBM teammate Raphael Lessard came in fifth and left second.

The Snowball Derby started during the day time and ended under the lights for the first time in its history.

When the lights came on about the Lap 175 mark with Choquette, Lessard, Gragson, Pollard, Majeski and Burton were in the top six and they remained in contention until the final laps.

On Lap 213, Majeski took the lead from Choquette just before Stephen Nasse backed hard into the wall. Nasse had charged from the back to challenge for the top 10 by lap 100, but a mistake in the pits cost him a chance at victory.

After the incident, Nasse confronted his pit crew for leaving two tires loose on the last pit stop.

NASCAR Truck series driver Stewart Friesen started 14th, but sustained right front damage on a caution following an early restart. He retired in 34th on Lap 58.

The 2018 K&N East champion Tyler Ankrum started 24th and finished eighth.

Steven Wallace, son of Rusty Wallace, suffered a mechanical failure and stalled on the pace laps of the last chance qualifier. He was unable to continue.

Dalton Sargeant out at GMS Racing, Spencer Gallagher to fill-in ‘until the issue is resolved’

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Citing an “unfortunate circumstance” with Sargeant Motorsports, GMS Racing President Mike Beam announced Wednesday that Dalton Sargeant would not drive the team’s No. 25 Chevrolet for the rest of the season and that Spencer Gallagher will take his place “until the issue is resolved.”

Gallagher will take over the No. 25 beginning Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

“Due to a(n) unfortunate circumstance with Sargeant Motorsports, Dalton Sargeant will no longer compete with GMS Racing full-time in the Truck Series for the remainder of the 2018 season. Until the issue is resolved, Spencer (Gallagher) will serve as the fill-in driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet entry beginning this weekend in Canada. We hope a solution can be agreed upon and to see Dalton back racing GMS equipment in the near future.”

The move comes with seven races left in the season and the series beginning its playoff this weekend. Sargeant is not one of the eight playoff drivers.

Sargeant, 20, is in his first full-time season in the Truck Series. He ended the regular season 10th in the standings after earning one top five and four top 10s.

Sargeant released the following statement on Twitter, but did not add any details regarding the “unfortunate circumstance.”

Sunday’s race will be Gallagher’s first Truck start since the 2017 season opener at Daytona.

This is the second significant driver shakeup for GMS Racing this season. The first involved Gallagher in the Xfinity Series when he was placed on indefinite suspension on May 2 for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. 

Gallagher was reinstated on July 4 after completing the Road to Recovery program. Gallagher has only made two Xfinity starts since the reinstatement.

His No. 23 Chevrolet has been driven by Johnny Sauter, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, A.J. Allmendinger and Casey Roderick. Hall of Famer Bill Elliott will pilot it Saturday at Road America (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Xfinity practice report at Iowa

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FINAL PRACTICE

Making his first Xfinity start since 2012, Casey Roderick posted the fastest single lap in final practice for the U.S Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway  with a speed of 131.617 mph.

He beat Justin Allgaier (131.464 mph) by .025 seconds.

Elliott Sadler (131.173), Shane Lee (131.070) and Kyle Benjamin (130.857) rounded out the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek spun off turn four early in practice without doing any significant damage, but he flattened three tires and needed to be taken off the track on a roll back.

Allgaier had the quickest 10-lap average of 129.936 mph. Benjamin, Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick and Brandon Jones rounded out the top five.

Making his first start in the Xfinity series, Max Tullman posted the most laps (27). He had the 17th fastest single lap of 129.635 mph, but was 19th among 20 drivers on the 10-lap chart (125.746).

Click here for complete results

FIRST PRACTICE

Sadler posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the U.S Cellular 250 with a speed of 130.999 mph.

He narrowly edged Christopher Bell (130.993 mph) by .001 seconds.

Reddick (130.662), Hemric (130.646) and Allgaier (130.635) rounded out the top five.

Roderick (130.208) landed sixth on the chart.

With less than a minute remaining in this session, Reddick spun off turn four. He did minimal damage to his front splitter when he spun through the grass and back onto the pavement.

Austin Cindric (128.995) was the quickest among five drivers who ran 10 or more consecutive laps.

Click here for complete results

Preliminary entry lists for Pocono, Iowa

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Cup and Camping World Truck teams will be in action this weekend at Pocono Raceway, while NASCAR Xfinity teams will be at Iowa Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each event:

Cup – Gander Outdoors 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered for the race at Pocono Raceway.

Reed Sorenson is listed in the No. 7. Ross Chastain is listed in the No. 15. JJ Yeley is listed in the No. 23. BJ McLeod is listed in the No. 51. Timmy Hill is listed in the No. 66. Corey LaJoie is listed in the No. 72. Kyle Weatherman is listed in the No. 99.

Click here for Cup entry list

Xfinity – U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by The Rasmussen Group (5:20 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Forty cars are entered for the Xfinity Series’ second visit of the year to Iowa Speedway.

Casey Roderick will make his first Xfinity start since 2012, driving the No. 23 car for GMS Racing. Max Tullman will drive the No. 26 for Tullman-Walker Racing, a new team seeking to make its first series start.

With Cup in Pocono, the only driver entered there and at Iowa is Ross Chastain.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

Camping World Truck – Gander Outdoors 150 (1 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

Thirty-two Trucks are entered for this event at Pocono Raceway.

Kyle Busch is the only Cup driver entered. He’ll drive the No. 51.

Click here for Truck entry list