One year ago Racing America did a story about the Snowball Derby winning car that came out of Donnie Wilson Motorsports fleet.
Bond Suss, the Wilson Motorsports Competition Director, built the Hamke Car after he asked and confirmed that it was chassis number 74 to come out of the Hamke shop. It was special to Suss who has been a long-time partner and customer with Hamke Race Cars.
74 was the number that Robert Hamke drove and the number his house car used when he was running a team out of his shop. Suss admitted he wanted the 74 chassis to be special and took some extra steps when preparing the car.
Hamke passed away in 2020 and never got to see chassis 74 run at the Derby.
Chandler Smith took the ride to victory lane at the 2021 Snowball Derby. Seeking more success, Smith brought it back to a Blizzard race where it was involved in a crash and taken out of commission for the summer.
Suss was not going to allow the car to end up like that, immediately making plans for it to return to the Snowball Derby.
“We nursed it back to health after the crash,” said Suss. “As we were putting it back together we decided to keep it out till the Snowball Derby. Sammy Smith will have the honor of running the car and hopefully he can bring home the Tom Dawson Trophy.”
Smith will have a good hot rod underneath him, but he’s the not only former winning car in the field as Hunter Robbins is in an old Kyle Busch Motorsports Derby-winning car.
Recent back-to-back winner Erik Jones also won the race with two separate race cars. Chase Elliott’s wins also came in separate rides as he won the race a few years apart.
We have confirmed with Augie Grill that his two Snowball Derby wins in 2007 and 2008 came in different race cars.
You have to go back to the Rich Bickle days to find a race car that went to victory lane more than once. Bickle won five times at the Snowball Derby and he went back-to-back twice.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America