Friday, June 9, 2023

Chandler Smith Moves Derek Thorn on Final Restart, Wins 54th Annual Snowball Derby (Pending Inspection)

PC: Racing America | Twitter

UPDATE – Sunday, December 5th @ 8:27pm / ET

Four hours and 12 minutes after the completion of the 2021 Snowball Derby, Chandler Smith’s No. 26s Toyota has officially been declared the winner, clearing post-race technical inspection.

Pending technical inspection, 2021 NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of The Year Chandler Smith is the winner of the 54th Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway, after making a late-race move around Derek Thorn, who dominated the event for the second year in a row.

The 19-year-old made an optimistic move entering turn three on the final restart of the event with about 15 to go, moving Thorn up the track and relegating him back into the pack of hungry drivers looking for the Tom Dawson trophy.

While Thorn attempted to recover from getting the chrome horn entering turn three, Smith was able to put together some fantastic lap times, stretching his lead to a maintainable three-second margin over the final 10 laps of the race.

After losing the race in devastating fashion for the second year in a row, Thorn approached Smith’s passenger side window to give him his thoughts on the move that cost him the victory. was able to catch the short-lived discussions between the two parties, as well as the crowd’s reaction to Smith climbing from his car, as the winner of the event.

For the second year in a row, Derek Thorn – setting the record for the most laps led in a Snowball Derby at 287 — finished in second place, with Cole Butcher boasting an impressive third-place run.

2020 NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece brought his No. 6 Morton Buildings entry home in fourth-place, with 2020 ARCA Menards Series East Champion and Winchester 400 winner Sammy Smith rounding out the top-five.

Hunter Robbins, Carson Hocevar, Stephen Nasse, Corey Heim, and Erik Jones unofficially rounded out the top-10.

The race featured a pair of natural cautions, both of which came within the first 50 laps of the event. Mike Garvey ran into mechanical issues to bring out the first, while the restart thereafter caused a nine-car pileup including Daniel Dye, Jett Noland, and Jesse Love.

However, there were an additional three ‘controlled cautions’ thrown throughout the event, allowing teams to change their tires after a green flag run had lasted 75 consecutive laps. The third and final ‘controlled caution’ set up the final restart of the race, in which Smith was able to capitalize on his close proximity to Derek Thorn.

Rich Bickle, making the final start of his racing career, faced some mechanical gremlins through the middle portion of the event, and retired after 131 of 300 laps, with a 31st-place finish.

Full Race Results (Pending Post-Race Inspection):

  1. No. 26s – Chandler Smith
  2. No. 43t – Derek Thorn (-3.093 seconds)
  3. No. 53b – Cole Butcher (-3.924 seconds)
  4. No. 6 – Ryan Preece (-4.266 seconds)
  5. No. 22s – Sammy Smith (-4.779 seconds)
  6. No. 18.- Hunter Robbins (-5.030 seconds)
  7. No. 14 – Carson Hocevar (-6.174 seconds)
  8. No. 51n – Stephen Nasse (-6.350 seconds)
  9. No. 78 – Corey Heim (-6.480 seconds)
  10. No. 4j – Erik Jones (-7.026 seconds)
  11. No. 91 – Ty Majeski (-7.221 seconds)
  12. No. 5 – Casey Johnson (-8.551 seconds)
  13. No. 26p – Bubba Pollard (-11.185 seconds)
  14. No. 9w – Brandon Watson (-11.963 seconds)
  15. No. 25 – Casey Roderick (-1 Lap)
  16. No. 08 – Jace Hensen (-2 Laps)
  17. No. 12 – Derek Griffith (-2 Laps)
  18. No. 51f – Jake Finch (-2 Laps)
  19. No. 32 – Grant Enfinger (-2 Laps)
  20. No. 21k – Derek Kraus (-3 Laps)
  21. No. 45c – Kodie Conner (-3 Laps)
  22. No. 4f – Luke Fenhaus (-3 Laps)
  23. No. 96 – Kaden Honeycutt (-3 Laps)
  24. No. 25s – Jeff Storm (-5 Laps)
  25. No. 24 – Mason Diaz (-25 Laps)
  26. No. 54 – Matt Craig (-26 Laps)
  27. No. 44 – Jeremy Doss (-92 Laps)
  28. No. 48 – Preston Peltier (-106 Laps)
  29. No. 35 – Jake Garcia (-134 Laps)
  30. No. 36 – Dan Fredrickson (-144 Laps)
  31. No. 45b – Rich Bickle (-169 Laps)
  32. No. 43d – Daniel Dye (-202 Laps)
  33. No. 22g – Mike Garvey (-232 Laps)
  34. No. 21L – Jesse Love (-273 Laps)
  35. No. 81 – Jett Noland (-274 Laps)
  36. No. 21c – Jeff Choquette (-274 Laps)
  37. No. 4p – Kyle Plott (-296 Laps)
Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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