It was surely the most chaotic Snowball Derby Last Chance Race of all-time and it ended with Dan Frederickson, Brad May, Rodrigo Rijon and Boris Jurkovic transferring into the Super Bowl of Short Track Racing.
But only Frederick enjoyed smooth sailing into the biggest race of the year as the other three spots were controversially decided.
It appeared as if Rich Bickle, Harrison Burton and Carson Hocevar had done enough to qualify for the 300 lap Super Late Model classic on Sunday afternoon but each of them crashed in Turn 1 of the final lap – all residing in a transfer spot at the time.
Hocevar connected with Bickle and turned the five-time Derby race winner left, directly into the path of Burton – destroying the latter two cars. Hocevar was sent to the rear by race control for aggressive driving.
But that wasn’t the last of the theatrics as Michael House was beat to the line on the next attempt at a green-white-checkered by Jurkovic to claim the final transfer spot.
Burton, who led 111 laps from the pole last season, concedes that he shouldn’t have been in the
“He just slipped up a lot and I felt safe taking the inside, because I thought i couldn’t get wrecked from the inside,” Burton said with a laugh. “And I guess (Hocevar) and (Bickle) got together. I had a hard hit actually. It was one o those hits where you had a long time to think about it and it was a hard lick and it sucked.
“I’m just proud of my guys for keeping fighting the way they did. We fought so hard. We were terrible all weekend. That last hour of practice, we make it better than we had made it all week. We had the best car of the race and never could show it. And that’s what happens sometimes when you get stuck in the B show.”
Hocevar accepted responsibility for the incident and suggested that transfer drivers just got caught up in racing each other too hard.
“I don’t want to wreck anybody,” Hocevar said. “I got used up there and I had to get going. He slowed up in front of me and you can’t just stop these things on a dime. He was already sideways, I was throttled up, and it was already over at that point. That’s just part of it. It’s the Snowball Derby. It’s one lap left and everyone was trying way too hard.”
Hocevar knew the entire group was inside a transfer spot and he couldn’t understand why everyone was racing that hard.
“That was my thinking,” Hocevar said. “So, I just said okay, it’s going to be that way. And then we took the white flag and you don’t care what spot you’re in, I guess.”
Immediately after the crash, Bickle got out of the car and vented at Burton, believing the NASCAR youngster was at fault.
“I thought the 12 got into me,” Bickle told Speed51.com. “I chewed his ass pretty good. I realized it wasn’t him and told him I was sorry. I told Jeff Burton, his dad, I was sorry. Me and Jeff raced a lot of years together because we raced. That’s the problem nowadays. These kids don’t race.
“Their daddy pays for every goddamn thing. All you do is get your shit torn up for fucking stupidity. I’m sick of it. I’ve got eight race cars sitting there. I’m going to start building race cars just to show up and tear their shit up and see how they like it.”
And through it all was Frederickson, leading the field ahead of much of that, turning a terrible week of practice into an unexpected appearance in the Snowball Derby.
“We should have qualified in to be honest,” Frederick said. “I’m not sure what happened. But I’m actually glad we didn’t time our way in. This thing was just not good. We made every change. We probably would have packed up and sold the last spot if we backed our way in.
“We made some great adjustments today. I was full throttle every lap here, not too bad for a 50 lap race. It was fun. The car drove nice. I’m sorry there were so many cautions. I guess it was a good deal for the fans at home if they’re paying for hour.”
The results of the last chance race can be found below.
- Dan Fredrickson
- Brad May
- Rodrigo Rejon
- Boris Jurkovic
- Michael House
- Jett Noland
- Carson Hocevar
- Kyle Bryant
- David Rogers
- Rich Bickle
- Harrison Burton
- Johnny VanDoorn
- Trey Bayne
- Chris Davidson
- Jerry Artuso
- Colten Nelson
- Jordan Anderson
- Casey Smith
- Austin Nason
- Jack Dossey III
- AJ Wernette