Drivers from all over the country are set to converge on Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida this week for the biggest asphalt Super Late Model race of the year.
The high banked half-mile track is set to host the 51st annual Snowball Derby on Sunday, with racing action each day leading up to the big event.
Two Peach State speedsters are among the favorites to win the coveted Tom Dawson trophy on Sunday. Leading the contingent is Senoia, Georgia’s Bubba Pollard, who is a perennial favorite in the Snowball, despite having yet to score a win in the event.
Pollard comes into the weekend off of a very successful 2018 season, having scored 12 wins in 29 starts on the year. The victory total is topped by a $38,000 win in Canada at Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ontario. Pollard has also scored wins at Five Flags Speedway, Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia, South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway, South Alabama Speedway in Opp, Alabama, Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run, Michigan and Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway, among others.
In 10 starts in the Derby, Pollard has recorded three top 5s, three top 10s and one pole in 2011. One year ago, Pollard started second and finished in third behind winner Kyle Busch and second-place Jeff Choquette.
Another Peach State favorite on Sunday will be Lawrenceville, Georgia’s Casey Roderick. Driving for Georgia Racing Hall of Famer Ronnie Sanders, Roderick has scored four wins on the season and took home the Pro Late Model championship at Five Flags.
Roderick comes into this year’s Derby having finished in sixth place the year before. He has four starts in the event under his belt, with a pair of sixth place finishes topping his results.
Dawsonville, Georgia’s Spencer Davis hopes to end his season on a high note. The 19-year-old (who will turn 20 on Thursday) started 2018 behind the wheel of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Daytona. In a five-race stint, Davis recorded a pair of top 10 finishes. He also competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East division and the NASCAR Modified Tour.
In four previous Derby starts, Davis has a best result of 15th back in 2016.
Other Georgia drivers hoping to make the Derby field include Chandler Smith of Jasper, Kason Plott of Marietta, Kyle Plott of Marietta, Corey Heim of Marietta.
While the Peach State contingent is strong, they will face a lot of talent from around the country. One of the favorites going in has to be Jeff Choquette of West Palm Beach, Florida. Choquette finished second in last year’s Derby and comes into the weekend fresh off a win in the Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna Speedway.
Second generation driver Harrison Burton, son of former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, is at the top of a lot of short lists to contend for the win. Burton scored an ARCA Series victory at Pocono Raceway this year, a Southern Super Series win in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway and scored three World Series of Asphalt wins in February at New Smyrna. He also competed in eight NASCAR Truck Series races, recording three top fives on the year.
Other drivers to watch will include two-time Derby winner Augie Grill, last year’s pole sitter Preston Peltier, 2004 winner Steven Wallace and reigning Southern Super Series champion Stephen Nasse.
While defending winner Kyle Busch will not be competing in this year’s Derby, a host of NASCAR drivers will be looking to make the field, including Truck Series competitors Noah Gragson, Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Timothy Peters and David Gilliland.
Action begins on Wednesday, as with action on the track from the Pure Stock division, along with the qualifying draw for the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models.
On Thursday, the Sportsman and Outlaw Stock divisions compete in a pair of 50 lap features, while the Late Models get their first crack at the track of the week with several practice sessions.
On Friday, drivers will compete for the pole for Sunday’s race with qualifying for the Snowball Derby. The Modifieds will also be on track for their 50 lap feature.
On Saturday, the Pro Late Model drivers take center stage for the Snowflake 100. Also, the final qualifying spots for Sunday’s Derby will be set with a 50 lap last chance qualifying race, along with a 50 lap feature for the Pro Truck division.
That all leads up to Sunday’s 51st running of the Snowball Derby, set to take the green flag at 2 pm CST.
For more information on the Snowball Derby, visit 5FlagsSpeedway.com.
2018 Snowball Derby Entries
CAR # DRIVER NAME HOMETOWN
11 David Rogers Orlando, FL
11 Logan Boyett Pensacola, FL
112 Augie Grill Hayden, AL
112 Stewart Friesen Sprakers, NY
12g Derek Griffith Hudson, NH
12 Grant Enfinger Kannapolis, NC
12 Harrison Burton Huntersville, NC
12 Timothy Peters Danville, VA
14 Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
14 Carson Hocevar Portage, MI
14 Chris Davidson Pearland, TX
14 Connor Okrzesik Grand Bay, AL
18 Casey Roderick Lawrenceville, GA
18 Noah Gragson Las Vegas, NV
19 Kason Plott Marietta, GA
20 Jack Dossey III Indianapolis, IN
24 Mason Diaz Manasses, VA
25 Blaine Perkins Bakersfield, CA
26 Bubba Pollard Senoia, GA
26 Chandler Smith Jasper, GA
29 Spencer Davis Dahlonega, GA
2w Donnie Wilson Oklahoma City, OK
30 Jesse Dutilly Bradenton, FL
33 Dustin Smith Mobile, AL
37 Kaden Honeycutt Willow Park, TX
4 Kyle Plott Marietta, GA
42 Dennis Prunty Knowles, WI
43 Derek Thorn Bakersfield, CA
48 Preston Peltier Brighton, CO
5 Jerry Artuso Sault Ste. Marie, ONT, Can.
51 Raphael Lessard St. Joseph de Beauce, Que, Can.
51 Stephen Nasse Pinellas Park, FL
51 Michael Atwell Naples, FL
53 Boris Jurkovic Manhattan, IL
53 Cole Butcher Porters Lake, NS, Canada
54 Tyler Ankrum San Bernadino, CA
5m Mason Mingus Nashville, TN
64 Jan Evans East Wenatchee, WA
66 Steve Wallace Mooresville, NC
7 John DeAngelis Hubertus, WI
7 Paul Shafer, Jr. Portage, IN
75 Jeremy Doss Upper Lake, CA
78 Corey Heim Marietta, GA
79 Joe Aramendia Sequin, TX
79 Kyle Bryant Navarre, FL
81 Chase Purdy Meridian, MS
88 Garrett Jones West Palm Beach, FL
89 Perry Patino Montgomery, AL
9 Derek Kraus Stratford, WI
9 Jeff Choquette West Palm Beach, FL
91 Ty Majeski Seymour, WI
91 Patrick Laperle St. Dennis, QC, Canada
99 Casey Smith Austin, TX