Elliott Secures Snowball Derby Pole
PENSACOLA, Fla. – The best was saved for last on Friday night in Snowball Derby qualifying.
Chase Elliott would go out last and lay down a new track record with a time of 16.133 around the half-mile oval en route to his first Snowball Derby pole award. Elliott knocked Bubba Pollard off the top spot. Pollard, who went out a few cars before Elliott, would set a Snowball Derby record with his lap, but it would not stand after Elliott’s lap.
“I didn’t think it would be that fast,” Elliott said. “I knew we could have a good lap, but I never thought it’d be that quick. I’m just proud of the guys for that lap and now we can just focus on Sunday. That’s the main thing. I’m excited about the lap, but it’s just a starting spot.”
Elliott is a former winner of the Snowball Derby back in 2011 when he and D.J. Vanderley raced side by side for the final five laps.
John Hunter Nemechek would also go out late in the session and post a lap good, enough for the third starting spot for Sunday’s race. Daniel Hemric, who was the first car to go out, withstood most of the guys that laid down a lap. In the end, Hemric would end up fourth in Sunday’s 46th Snowball Derby. Augie Grill would round out the top five for Sunday’s race.
Other notables that are locked into the 46th Snowball Derby included 2010 winner Johanna Long. Long will start from the 23rd spot on Sunday. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan will go from the eighth spot, while last year’s winner Erik Jones will roll off 12th.
While the top 30 starters are set for Sunday, 28 drivers are left outside of the 300-lap event. Saturday’s last chance race will set the final seven starting spots. With names like Kyle Grissom, D.J. Shaw, Cale Gale and Dakoda Armstrong still fighting for a spot in the prestigious Snowball Derby, Saturday’s Last Chance race will be a nail biter for some car owners and crew chiefs.
Saturday includes final practice for the Snowball Derby and the 50 lap Last Chance Race Saturday afternoon. The annual Snowflake 100 for pro late models is also scheduled for Saturday.
Snowball Derby Locked In Drivers:
Chase Elliott, Bubba Pollard, John Hunter Nemechek, Daniel Hemric, Augie Grill, Casey Smith, Austin Theriault, David Ragan, Zak Hausler, Grant Enfinger, Ross Kenseth, Erik Jones, Stephen Nasse, Kyle Benjamin, Paul Shafer Jr., Ben Kennedy, Chad Finley, T.J. Reaid, Preston Peltier, Hunter Robbins, Mason Massey, Derek Thorn, Johanna Long, Spencer Davis, Boris Jurkovic, Jeremy Pate, Mike Garvey, Logan Boyett, Landon Cassill, Anderson Bowen.