Chase Elliott won the 2011 Snowball Derby by .229 of a second over DJ VanderLey — the closest finish in race history. Photo Credit: Matt Weaver
Kyle Busch is returning to the Super Bowl of short track Late Model racing.The entry list for the 45th Annual Snowball Derby has been updated today displaying a fantastic mix of NASCAR and Super Late Model talents.
Busch will return to the race for the first time since winning the event in 2009 and brings with him two prior Super Late Model victories this season, winning Speedfest at Watermelon Capital and the Rowdy 251 at Berlin.
No Super Late Model season is complete without a Snowball Derby victory and Busch will always make room on his trophy case for a second Tom Dawson Memorial trophy.
“We are very excited to get back to Pensacola to run the Snowball Derby,” Busch told Speed 51. “The last time we were down there it was special. I am a big fan of short track racing and the Snowball Derby is the best of the best in Super Late Model racing.”
He is joined by fellow NASCAR superstars David Ragan, Aric Almirola, Steve Wallace, Erik Darnell and Landon Cassill.
You could include Nationwide Series breakout superstar Johanna Long on that list but she’s a Super Late Model veteran, having won this race in 2010 and cutting her teeth at Pensacola Five Flags Speedway, her home track.
“I will always consider myself a late model driver because it’s where I started,” Long told Racing Observer Online. “It’s my roots. I love racing late models during my off weekends, and I plan on going back home to Pensacola to race in the Snowball Derby for many years to come.
“There’s no other race like it. It’s intense short track racing at its finest. It truly is one of the best Late Model races in the country.”
She’s joined by the best of the discipline in Bubba Pollard, the 2011 Winningest Driver in Super Late Model Racing, according to Speed51. The list also contains some of their staunchest rivals, including Mike Garvey, Chase Elliott, Ross Kenseth, DJ VanderLey, Augie Grill and Kyle Benjamin.
Benjamin dominated The World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks and again won races at Lucas Oil Raceway and the ARCA/CRA Watermelon 100. Point is, Benjamin is racing amongst the elite and he’s slowly becoming one of them.
“Having all the best our sport has to offer in one place is what makes the Snowball Derby great,” Benjamin said. “I’m excited to see how we stack up. It takes a lot of luck just to finish the race, but with some on our side, I feel like we have as good a shot as anyone.
The current entry list contains 59 of the best stock car drivers in the country. More than 40 entries have also been completed for the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race, the top such race of the crate engine division. Races in the bombers, sportsman, super stock and modified divisions will also be held during the week.
The 45th Annual Snowball Derby kicks off on Wednesday, November 28th with the Green Flag Party. The first on-track activity comes on Thursday, as practice for the Super and Pro Late Models commences. Later that evening, qualifying and feature action for the Five Flags Speedway Bomber and Sportsmen divisions will take place.
On Friday, November 30th, it’s WXBM Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday’s 300-lap feature. Saturday, December 1st brings Snowflake 100 time trials, qualifying races and the 100-lap feature, plus final practice for the Snowball Derby cars alongside a 50-lap last-chance qualifying race for the Derby.
Finally, the 45th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 2nd at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
Racing Observer Online will be trackside for the entire event’s schedule, providing extensive and exclusive content throughout the week. The complete entry list, and the list of former winners, can be found after the jump. View full article »