Tuesday March 5th, 2024 8:09AM

Derek Thorn captures Snowball Derby pole at Five Flags

By Chuck Corder

Defending Snowball Derby winner Derek Thorn got his quest for a second consecutive victory off to a strong start on Friday at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

Thorn posted a fast time of 16.501 seconds to claim his fourth career Snowball Derby pole. That ties him with Eddie Mercer for most poles in event history, as he topped the 50 drivers who took time at the half mile raceway.

“It’s crazy to believe that 12 years ago we blew three motors and flipped during the race,” Thorn said. “This car is special. Tires are gonna be a big thing this week. At the end of the day, we’ll make the most of what we’ve got and play the cars we’re dealt.”

Thirty drivers locked themselves into Sunday’s 300 lap Super Late Model feature on time in qualifying. NASCAR Cup stars William Byron, Erik Jones, and Ryan Preece all made the show and avoided being relegated to Saturday’s last-chance qualifiers. Billy VanMeter and Jett Noland earned the two available Derby provisionals thanks to their top-10 finishes in the regular season for the Blizzard Series and Southern Super Series, respectively.

Two-time Derby champion Augie Grill and Sammy Smith are among the notables forced to battle in the last-chance race for the final four Derby spots. Former Derby polesitter Preston Peltier also got pushed to the last-chance race after his third-fastest time was tossed out after his team made an illegal body modification in post-qualifying technical inspection.

Kole Raz was the last driver that had to sweat out the end of qualifying, barely making it in on the bubble position.

“I tell you one thing, I don’t want to go through that again,” Raz said. “Making our first Derby feels incredible. We’ve got work to do, but we’re going racing on Sunday.”

Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Snowball Derby – December 1, 2023

Friday’s Qualifying Results*

1. Derek Thorn
2. Ty Majeski
3. Noah Gragson
4. Bubba Pollard
5. Luke Fenhaus
6. Michael Hinde
7. Johnny Sauter
8. Stephen Nasse
9. Connor Okrzesik
10. Treyten Lapcevich
11. Jackson Boone
12. Derek Griffith
13. William Byron
14. Matthew Craig
15. Jacob Gomes
16. Jeremy Doss
17. Hunter Robbins
18. Haeden Plybon
19. Caden Kvapil
20. Travis Braden
21. Erik Jones
22. Conner Jones
23. Jake Finch
24. Michael House
25. Jace Hansen
26. William Sawalich
27. Ryan Preece
28. Cole Butcher
29. Kole Raz
30. Gio Ruggiero
31. Jett Noland
32. Sammy Smith
33. Derek Kraus
34. Carson Kvapil
35. Conner Sutton
36. Ryan Moore
37. Johnny Aramendia
38. Augie Grill
39. Timothy Watson
40. Carson Hocevar
41. Dustin Smith
42. John Bolen
43. Jake Garcia
44. Chase Burda
45. Billy VanMeter
46. Stuart Dutton
47. Albert Francis
48. Travis Rodewald
DQ: Preston Peltier

*Top 30 Locked In On Time

  • Associated Categories: NASCAR News, Other Motorsports
  • Associated Tags: motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Short Track, Asphalt, Late Model, Snowball Derby
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