You can’t keep a NASCAR driver away from the track for too long. The NASCAR off-season is short for some drivers who will be participating in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida this weekend. It’s an event that features the best-of-the-best in short track racing.
David Ragan, Erik Jones and Daniel Hemric are preparing their Super Late Model machines to skid around the track in the Snowball Derby 300 in between NASCAR seasons.
David Ragan, who normally drives the No. 34 for Front Row Motorsports stock car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be driving the No. 77 SkuttleTight/Fine Solutions Ford in the Snowball Derby. In fact, it’s the same car he raced with last year in this event. He led 31 laps but suffered a tire issue and finished eighth. He will have his pit crew from the big league series to help him get the car ready to race.
Last year’s Snowball Derby winner, 17-year-old Erik Jones, will race last year’s winning car in this event. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, who got his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season and who was the youngest driver to do so, is driving the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Super Late Model for owner James Finch. In last year’s event, Jones was able to race his boss, Kyle Busch, side-by-side in the last few laps and edge him out for the win. It was after this win when Busch signed Jones to a five-race schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he finished in the top-10 in every race, including his first win at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, Nov. 8.
Sharp-Gallaher Racing’s Daniel Hemric will compete in the Snowball Derby as well as the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway. Hemric has the No. 54 Jack Link’s/Valvoline Chevrolet for Sharp-Gallaher Racing in Saturday’s Snowflake 100 and the No. 98 Super Late Model for Carswell Motorsports for Sunday’s Snowball Derby. He’ll be the one to beat as he was a winner at the speedway earlier this season in the 2013 Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series track championship. Hemric has also finished fourth or better in every event he’s entered there this season. He is guaranteed a starting position in the Snowball Derby as he won the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series title and he was the champion in the Southern Super Series. In last year’s event, 22-year-old Hemric crashed on lap 125 and was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
Qualifying for the Snowball Derby is set for Friday, Dec. 6 where 30 cars will be locked in for the event. A last-chance race will be on Saturday with the main event on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.