NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell’s victory in the 48th annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida lasted less than 30 minutes.
After taking the checkered flag, Bell, 21, was subsequently disqualified after post-race technical inspection at Five Flags Speedway found his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota over the limit of left-side weight.
As a result, runner-up Chase Elliott – who will replace Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016 – was awarded the victory in the 300-lap Super Late Model race on the ½-mile asphalt track. It was Elliott’s second Snowball triumph, having also won there in 2011.
Zane Smith finished second, followed by Ty Majewski, Dalton Sargeant and Bubba Pollard.
According to Speed51.com, the left-side weight ratio is capped at 58 percent. Bell’s car was weighed at 58.3 percent.
“I have no idea, I really don’t,” Bell told Speed51.com. “KBM built a great race car and it was fast. I crossed the finish line first.”
Bell’s crew chief Chris Gabehart subsequently told Speed51.com that the build up on the left side tires from the victory lap possibly contributed to the weight issue.
It is the fourth time in the last 10 years that the Derby winner has subsequently been disqualified.
Elliott can probably feel for Bell, as he went through a similar situation in the 2013 Derby. Elliott was initially declared the winner, only to be disqualified in post-race inspection.
The win that year then went to Kyle Busch Motorsports driver and 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ Erik Jones, who also won the 2012 Derby.
Obviously, team owner and 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Kyle Busch was not happy with the turn of events, tweeting:
Added Ricky Stenhouse Jr.,
It was the second disqualification of the weekend for Bell, who competed in seven Truck races for Kyle Busch Motorsports this past season, including winning at Eldora Speedway.
Bell, 21, had his top qualifying effort on Friday disqualified in post-race technical inspection. He had to start Saturday’s 50-lap “last-chance” qualifying race to regain a spot in the Derby, and did it in convincing fashion. Starting from the back of the 27-car pack, he went on to win the race and move on to Sunday’s main event.
Prior to being disqualified, Bell dominated Sunday’s race, leading an event-high 91 laps, taking the lead the first time on Lap 201 (through 275), and then regained it from defending Snowball Derby champ John Hunter Nemechek on Lap 283, holding on for the final 17 laps to take the checkered flag.
Nemechek, who captured Saturday night’s Snowflake 100, had a good chance to repeat in Sunday’s event. But with 25 laps to go, Nemechek’s Chevrolet began to show smoke from what appeared to be a tire rub that eventually led to a flat right front.
He brought his car to pit road with five laps remaining – spinning in the process – only to see his car erupt into flames. Nemechek scrambled from the burning ride and was uninjured. Nemechek finished a disappointing 21st in the 37-car field.
OFFICIAL Snowball Derby Results
Presented by Racecar Engineering (courtesy of Speed51.com and TheThirdTurn.com)
|21||37||8||John Hunter Nemechek||294||0||fire|