In recent Decembers, Justin South has been as close as anyone to winning the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway without actually doing it.
Despite running against the likes of Bubba Pollard, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott, the former full-time ARCA regular has been right in the mix. He’s captured two poles and led 112 laps and admits he probably should have won over the span.
But racing has a way of humbling even the most prepared on the biggest stages.
“I feel like I’ve led so many big races that I didn’t win that it’s kind of become a joke,” South said. “The joke is that, if this is a 50-lap race, you’re picking Justin South to win every time. And I really don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.
“I’m always thinking about Lap 100 or Lap 200. We’ve lost this race every way possible so I’m thinking we might be due for good luck.”
The closest he came was in 2013 when he led 53 laps but was passed late by Chase Elliott and John Hunter Nemechek. He’s bounced around the past few seasons, driving his personal No. 43 car and then the No. 21 for Larry Blount.
But a mutual parting of the two left South scrambling. He could have returned to his old faithful car but he got a call from car owner Josh McCoy. They’ve essentially agreed on a one-race deal, for now, and have just one goal in mind.
Win the Snowflake 100.
“I like racing with Josh because he wants to win as much as me,” South said. “I feel like we have a good shot. This is a really nice car. It’s probably the best car I’ve ever been in, but I still feel like we’re an underdog. I’m not a big name driver and there’s no big name crew chief.”
Indeed, South will again take what’s a stout blue collor effort for McCoy Racing Technology against the likes of Nemechek, Pollard and ARCA regular Travis Braden. They have the names, but South has the results, at Pensacola and elsewhere. He’s just as likely a contender as anyone else.
He’s won at Montgomery in the Show me the Money Series and in the South Alabama Pro Viper Series. He’s contended in the Speedfest Pro Late Model race. Essentially, he’s been Justin South, consistently stour Pro Late Model driver.
But he’s ready to take that next step.
“I’ve been a survivor in this deal,” South said. “You’re never dead until you’re dead. I looked like I was dead when I was done in ARCA but Josh Hamner convinced me to get back after it. I’m grateful to him for that. I’m thankful to Larry for what we were able to do together.
“I won’t give up and I feel good about what we’ve got this weekend. I’m going to keep trying to win races and stay relevant and see where that gets me.”