The 2019 season provided an education for then 13-year-old Grant Thompson in the Pro Truck division at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Thompson got out-dueled and finished third in the Snowball Derby 50-lap truck event one year ago. Then, he lost all his efforts in the tech line and his finish was wiped out when there was a violation with the seals on the motor on his Kurt Britt prepared truck.
Fast forward to 2020 and Thompson was a year older and wiser. His ability in the trucks had come a long way as he won four of the six events this season to claim the Five Flags Speedway track title for the Pro Trucks. He wanted nothing more than to win the Snowball race to complete the season full circle and become the first track champion to win the finale as well.
In the end, it will look like an easy win on the stat sheet after he led flag-to-flag for the win.
“I have dreamt about winning on Snowball Derby weekend since I was a kid,” Thompson said. “To get it done in only my second year makes it all the more special. Running the Late Model in practice today helped me a bit because the restarts were getting to me. The extra season time today did help me keep my cool.”
The win was special because he secured redemption for Truck owner Kurt Britt in his final planned start in the truck division, with intentions to run more Late Models in 2021.
“I am glad we were able to win for Curt Britt Motorsports,” Thompson said. “They do a great job getting these trucks ready for us to race. We won a bunch of races down here this year, but this was the biggest.”
Thompson had a few challenges from John Heil on the restarts, but as the laps clicked off Thompson was able to work away from the field. Thompson’s teammate Gavin Graham was third, a hard charging Bubba Gale was fourth and Brandon Burks rounded out the top five.
It was far less dramatic than the 2019 running of the Pro Trucks race at the Snowball Derby when all of the top three drivers were disqualified, giving Jarrett Parker the win. That made him the first repeat winner in the Pro Truck division that started in 2013.
The 2020 race was slowed five times by cautions, and there were no issues in post-race technical inspection. Unofficially, the win stands as the second youngest in Snowball Derby weekend history, behind only Hunter Robbins Snowflake win in 2005 when he was 14 years and two months old. Thompson is 14 years and 10 months old.
For Thompson, his weekend is not complete as he will be racing the Grand American Race Car house ride for the Augie Grill led Pro Late Model team. Thompson will be running his first Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Saturday.
Watch all of this weekend’s remaining action via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.TV.
Pro Truck 50 Feature Unofficial Results
1 Grant Thompson
2 John Heil
3 Gavin Graham
4 Bubba Gale
5 Brandon Burks
6 Shane Barbara
7 Chris Bayhi
8 Daryl Rudd
9 Anthony Monroe
10 Hunter Johnson
11 Jessie Reid
12 Jake Wright
13 Paul Riels
14 Donnie Hamric
15 Howard Langham
16 Okie Mason
17 Daniel Bradford
18 Alan Carter
19 Logan Boyett
20 Dalton Chipley
21 Cooper Hightower
22 Jason Kimbell