In Caution-Plagued 50 Lapper, Winslow Gets Elusive Derby Victory against Talented Field of Outlaw Stocks
By Chuck Corder
When it was finally over, before he got to clutch the checkered flag and winner’s trophy, it seemed like Bubba Winslow forgot how to celebrate.
Either that or Winslow simply didn’t have enough time to get his bearings, as those closest to him created quite the celebratory scene in Victory Lane while Winslow’s helmet stay strapped on.
He barely had a chance to climb out of the car and pump his fists before friends and family mobbed him with warm, emotional embraces. Such is the reaction when a hometown boy wins at the Snowball Derby.
After countless years of trying in numerous classes at Five Flags Speedway, the 27-year-old Winslow scored his first career Derby title Thursday at the famed half-mile asphalt oval. He led nearly every lap of the 50-lap Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks on Night 2 of the 50th annual Snowball Derby.
“Man, this is unreal,” the Cantonment native said. “I don’t know if I could’ve ever dreamed this up. I wasn’t sure if it was ever gonna happen.”
Donald Crocker finished second and Brandon Spreen rounded out the podium.
Winslow outlasted a deep 29-car field and nine cautions, including four yellows in the final seven laps.
He assumed the lead from polesitter Corbitt Moseley on Lap 6 when Moseley pitted to repair an exposed exhaust pipe.
Winslow went unchallenged early on, proving to be exceptional on restarts, which helped him pad his lead between a bevy of cautions.
He dodged a potential disaster with 35 laps completed when Dustin Knowles, a lapped car, spun in front of him between Turn Nos. 1 and 2. Winslow did a masterful job to avoid Knowles and escape the scene unharmed.
“I told my wife (Ashley) earlier this week,” Winslow said, “this was the most nervous I had been because I knew we had a good racecar. I knew if we saved enough, we’d be hard to beat at the end.”
He was, although Wayne Niedecken Jr. and Crocker made Winslow sweat it out.
“Junior” Niedecken ran in the top-five for much of the race and put his No. 31 directly behind Winslow’s No. 92 late in the race. But the son of the Snowball Derby’s inaugural winner, Wayne Niedecken Sr., had his storybook run spoiled when Pace’s Todd Jones spun Junior with five laps remaining.
That incident pushed Crocker to second and when Winslow finally showed a chink in his armor following his lone poor restart Thursday, Crocker attempted to slide underneath Winslow.
But Crocker couldn’t quite stick his nose far enough below Winslow, who recovered in time and pulled away from the Citronelle, Ala., driver.
“I had a thought, ‘Boy, I should move him,’ ” Crocker said. “But I run clean races.”
As Winslow basked in the glory of victory with Ashley and their two kids — seven-year-old daughter Taylor and toddler son Troy — he sought out his car owners, the father-and-son tandem of Ron and Scotty McDonald, who Winslow was grateful to for believing in him.
Amid the chaos and unbeknownst to Winslow, fans posed for selfies. Had he realized what was happening behind and all around him, Winslow might’ve flashed his big grin for them.
Instead, he was still busy trying to soak in that, at long last, he was a Snowball Derby champion.
“It’s gonna be hard to top this one,” Winslow said. “It’s real special.”
Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks
50th Annual Snowball Derby
1. 92 Bubba Winslow
2. 1 Donald Crocker
3. 88 Brandon Spreen
4. 54R Travis Roland
5. 67 Aaron Williamson
6. 40 Todd Jones
7. 1B Roger Blevins
8. 03 George Gorham Jr
9. 9D Brooke Storer
10. 17 Chris Cotto
11. 28 Rick Oertel
12. 31 Wayne Niedecken Jr
13. 69 Mike Pollaro
14. 18 Jeremy Williams
15. 26 Corbitt Mosely
16. 41 Troy Grisafi
17. 32 Stuart Dutton
18. 33 Joe Bethea Jr
19. 00 Blake Williams
20. 6 Okie Mason
21. 14 Wesley King
22. 9 Kody Jett
23. 407 Jason Vail
24. 54 Conner Sutton
25. 92K Dustin Knowles
26. 91 Martin Gunter
27. 96 Rick Pollaro
28. 151 Gary Sutton
29. 60 Henry Wade