Ryan Crane Just Makes It And Claims Snowflake Victory
Contact: Chris Ragle Tex Motorsports Marketing Story By: Elgin Traylor Photo By: Speed 51
Winning the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 is all about rolling with the punches. After the time trials earlier in the day, Ryan Crane was behind the eight ball with a slim chance of even racing in the big show. But the Panama City, Florida driver won his last chance race and stormed to the front in the feature to put his name in the record books as a Snowflake 100 winner. He also did it in dramatic fashion, taking the lead with only four laps to go.
“That was a blast,” said Crane. “I didn’t think that we were going to be able to come up through the field like that. We had a good car and a great pit crew. We needed to buy another set of tires after the qualifier. I guess we can afford that extra set now.”
After working his way to the front, Crane hounded leader Augie Grill for several laps riding right in his tire tracks. He finally got his chance and rode the bottom groove off the second turn to take the lead with only four circuits remaining.
“He (Grill) was better on short runs,” explained Crane. “I knew if we could ever get a long run we could get to him. But when the yellow came out with 11 laps to go I thought we were in trouble. But his car gave up enough for me to get to him.”
It would have been the finishing touches on a perfect Snowflake run for Augie Grill who had led most of the early part of the event. When the yellow flew with 34 laps to go, most of the leaders hit pit road for their two-tire stops. Crane beat Grill off the pit lane only to lose the advantage on the restart when the leaders stacked up in the third turn. Grill took the lead from Zach Stroupe two laps later with Ryan Crane right on his heels.
“I had to get what I could when I could,” admitted Grill. “I knew he (Crane) was going to be strong at the end. I held him off as long as I could. I just burned up my right rear too early. This place is a lot of fun though and I had a blast.”
Even though Crane appeared to be on the ropes, coming from behind seemed to be the theme of his day. Crane clocked in 33rd fastest among the 68 drivers that made attempts to qualify bumping him to the last-chance qualifier race. Crane won that race to put his #10 in the Snowflake field. He also used the 25-lapper as a test session for the main event and it paid off.
“We just missed it in qualifying, but we used the qualifying race as a chance to get our car to where we needed it tonight for the race,” said Crane. “We just did everything we could do and it paid off for us.” Grill faded in the closing laps and fell back to third as Michael Pope got past him when the popsicle sticks went up in the air, indicating two laps to go. Pope, just like Crane, had issues during time trials. The Dublin, Georgia driver drove his tail off moving his #44 from a 23rd place starting spot to take the runner-up honors.
“We had a really good car on old tires,” said a happy Pope. “We weren’t that great on new tires, but the car just came to us. We used Hunter Robbins’ pit crew and they did an awesome job to get us out third. That was the key.”
Grill ended up third while followed across the line by Taylor Satterfield and Jason Young. Brandon Carlson, pole sitter DJ Vanderley, Joey Senter, Jimmy Lang III and Brian Campbell rounded out the top ten.