Josh Berry

Photo courtesy 5FlagsSpeedway.com

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

Leave a comment

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

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Corey LaJoie among NASCAR drivers entered in Snowball Derby

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A handful of NASCAR veterans are entered into the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, the Dec. 8 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

An updated entry list for the race has 55 drivers, including the new entry of Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie.

LaJoie, who drove for Go Fas Racing this season, will compete for Jamie Yelton’s Fat Head Racing. It’ll be his first time in the race since 2017.

“I keep saying I’m going to keep going down there until I win one,” LaJoie told Speed51.com. “I keep getting closer each and every time.  I’ve broken a couple of times, and another time we just didn’t have our stuff together.  Hopefully this time, we can get down there and get close.  If I can see the front near the end of that thing, I’m going to make something happen.”

Other entries include 2020 Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton, former Cup driver David Gilliland, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ty Majeski and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson. Derek Kraus, this year’s K&N Pro Series West champion, has also been added to the entry list.

Chandler Smith, the 17-year-old driver who made four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series this year, is also entered.

JR Motorsports’ late model driver Josh Berry is entered as well.

Noah Gragson won the race last year for KBM. Busch himself is a two-time winner of the event.

Other past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott.

and on Facebook

Harrison Burton among NASCAR drivers entered in Snowball Derby

Getty Images
1 Comment

A handful of NASCAR veterans will compete in the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, the Dec. 8 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The early entry list for the race has 53 drivers, including 2020 Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton, former Cup driver David Gilliland, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ty Majeski and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson.

Chandler Smith, the 17-year-old driver who made four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series this year, is also entered.

JR Motorsports late model driver Josh Berry is entered as well.

Noah Gragson won the race last year for KBM. Busch himself is a two-time winner of the event.

Other past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott.

 

JR Motorsports adds Anthony Alfredo to Late Model operation

JR Motorsports
Leave a comment

JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has added 17-year-old Anthony Alfredo as a driver for its Late Model program in 2017.

A native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Alfredo will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in 20 Late Model races throughout the Southeast. He will be a teammate to Josh Berry, who will drive the No. 88.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to drive for JR Motorsports’ Late Model team this year,” Alfredo said in a press release. “I am very excited for the upcoming race season and look forward to furthering my progression as a driver with JRM. Being a teammate with Josh Berry is something that can help me improve a lot as I know I can learn so much from him.”

Alfredo was the 2016 champion in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series Pro Division with Lee Faulk Racing, where he won one race at Greenville Pickens Speedway and earned 15 top fives and 23 top 10s last year.

JR Motorsports is entering its 16th year of Late Model competition. The team has earned 40 victories during the last three seasons and two track championships since 2012.

SunEnergy1 sponsoring JR Motorsports’ No. 88 in five races, Josh Berry in two

(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
2 Comments

Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat in the media center at Richmond International Raceway last September and made his best case for someone to sponsor an Xfinity Series car driven by Josh Berry.  Someone eventually got the message.

That person was Kenny Habul. Habul is the founder and CEO of the solar energy company that will sponsor JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet in five races in 2016, two of them with Berry behind the wheel. Habul, who sponsored and competed in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 in 2015 in three races, will do the same this year.

Berry made his Xfinity Series debut at Richmond in what Earnhardt called a “hail mary” move of placing the late-model driver in the No. 88. A native of Hendersonville, Tennessee, Berry got people’s attention by starting fifth and finishing seventh.

Now the 25-year-old driver will get two more chances in the Xfinity Series, on July 30 at Iowa Speedway and Sept. 24 at Kentucky Speedway.

Josh Berry driving the No. 88 car for JR Motorsports at Richmond in 2015 (Getty Images).
Josh Berry driving the No. 88 car for JR Motorsports at Richmond in 2015 (Getty Images).

“When I first came to JR Motorsports, I never dreamed I’d get the chance to race in the Xfinity Series,” said Berry in a team press release. “It’s through a lot of hard work by numerous people that I have opportunities like this, especially Dale and Kelley (Earnhardt Miller). I can’t wait to get on the track and see what we can do with the SunEnergy1 Chevrolet.”

Berry has earned two track championships for JR Motorsports late-model team and won 10 races in 2015.

Habul, a native of Etobicoke, Ontario, will compete at Watkins Glen International (Aug. 6), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 13) and Road America (Aug. 27). He has 12 Xfinity Series starts over the last four years, making three starts each season.

“We’re happy to welcome Kenny and SunEnergy1 to JR Motorsports,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JRM. “Kenny has a contagious passion for road racing. I know he’ll be a great asset for the team during these events. This is also another great opportunity for Josh. I think everyone saw what he is capable of at Richmond last year. These two races will help showcase his talents even further.”

Habul and Berry join a roster in JR Motorsports “All-Star” car that includes Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Earnhardt, Alex Bowman and Cole Custer.

Elliott will drive the No. 88 in Saturday’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway.