John Hunter Nemechek rallies to win 47th Snowball Derby


It was a long weekend, but well worth it for John Hunter Nemechek, as he emerged the winner of Sunday’s 47th annual Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The victory in the 300-lap event around the half-mile asphalt oval capped off a rather eventful 24 hours for Nemechek, a part-time driver on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series circuit and son of team owner and NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek.

He finished second in the event’s undercard race, the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, which began Saturday night and did not finish until 4 am early Sunday morning due to a lengthy rain delay.

Then came the main event on Sunday. Nemechek qualified third and would go on to lead 68 laps of the 300-lap event, the most of any driver.

Nemechek passed pole-sitter Hunter Robbins to retake the lead on Lap 286 and appeared headed for the win, but a wreck between fellow NASCAR driver Johanna Long and Preston Peltier with less than 10 laps remaining brought out the caution.

With most of the rest of the field pitting, Augie Grill and NASCAR driver Erik Jones grabbed the lead but both spun shortly after the ensuing restart, allowing Nemechek to again regain the point and go on to the victory.

Dalton Sargeant finished second, followed by Derek Thorn, Robbins and ARCA star Grant Enfinger.

Long, who won the 2010 Snowball Derby, is a native of the Pensacola area. She started on the outside pole but finished a disappointing 17th.

Reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champ Chase Elliott was among the favorites in Sunday’s race, but wrecked with Jones on Lap 220 and was forced out of the race shortly afterward due to overheating.

Other notable names and their finishes in the event:

* Erik Jones ultimately finished 27th.

* Corey LaJoie (13th), son of former Busch Series champ Randy LaJoie.

* Ross Kenseth (35th), son of NASCAR star Matt Kenseth.

Here are the unofficial final results, courtesy of


Fin St # Driver Led
1 3 8 John Hunter Nemechek 68
2 25 5 Dalton Sargeant 0
3 11 43 Derek Thorn 0
4 1 18 Hunter Robbins 57
5 29 90 Grant Enfinger 7
6 20 51 Stephen Nasse 0
7 26 99 Casey Smith 0
8 4 112 Augie Grill 11
9 35 29 Anderson Bowen 2
10 18 31 Kyle Grissom 0
11 14 29 Jeff Choquette 0
12 37 2R Clay Rogers 0
13 23 07 Corey LaJoie 0
14 5 83 Scotty Ellis 7
15 30 10 Steve Dorer 0
16 26 9K Mark Kraus 0
17 2 21 Johanna Long 59
18 34 57 Cole Timm 0
19 32 91 Ty Majeski 0
20 21 37 Brian Hoar 0
21 36 11 David Rogers 0
22 19 26 Preston Peltier 0
23 17 2W Donnie Wilson 0
24 8 98 Daniel Hemric 50
25 24 11 Logan Boyett 0
26 31 88 Garrett Jones 0
27 10 51J Erik Jones 18
28 28 42P Dennis Prunty 0
29 12 9 Chase Elliott 44
30 15 26 Bubba Pollard 0
31 13 42 Chad Finley 0
32 22 2 D.J. VanderLey 0
33 33 4 Kyle Plott 0
34 7 95 Derrick Griffin 0
35 5 3 Ross Kenseth 0
36 16 41 T.J. Reaid 0
37 9 1 Mike Garvey 0


Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll


Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.