Last year, Kyle Bryant owned one of the true storybook moments of the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. After trying for five years to make the biggest race in Super Late Model racing in front of his hometown fans, Bryant earned a spot in the 36-car field.
For 2019, Bryant is hungry to make an even bigger statement. After entering last year’s race through a hard-earned provisional from the Southern Super Series, he hopes this year to be one of the 30 fastest drivers during qualifying for the race.
Bryant is much more confident entering this year’s race, able to use last year’s Derby as a chance to learn more about the race and what it took to survive 300 laps against the best Super Late Model racers in the country.
“I feel a little bit better,” Bryant told Speed51. “Last year, even though we got in on a provisional, we learned a little bit more of what to expect, especially on race day.
“Last year, not getting race day practice really hurt us, because we didn’t have anything to go off of. Now we’ve got a little notebook on that and we’re getting our Grand American Race Car some two-lap speed so we can make Friday go a whole lot easier.”
Bryant admits he didn’t hope to get in the Snowball Derby for the first time by relying on a provisional, but had worked all season following the Southern Super Series to earn that possibility. Now he hopes to take it one step further by earning one of the top 30 starting spots.
“Nobody comes to this race hoping to get in on a provisional. I certainly didn’t want my first race to go that way, but we raced all year to get that opportunity. To get into the show on time, that’s what we’re coming for.”
The Snowball Derby is the biggest race in Super Late Model racing, but for Bryant it carries even more meaning. Kyle’s father Randy is a former racer himself and Kyle’s uncle, Tim Bryant, is General Manager of Five Flags Speedway and competed in the Derby several times as a racer before entering his current role at the Speedway.
Thus, the race is part of Kyle Bryant’s DNA, more important than any race around the world.
“Growing up around it my whole life, this race means more than the Daytona 500 or the Indy 500 to me because it’s the best of the best in Late Model racing.”
With more speed on display this year, Bryant hopes he can put the package together and be one of the top drivers in qualifying on Friday, December 6. He has no expectation of winning the crown jewel race, but he does hope to once again represent the underdogs of the Super Late Model world in the field.
“We’ve shown some promise this year here and there. We’ve had some luck, some things that didn’t fall our way. To leave here with a top-15 finish is realistic. I don’t think a win is in the cards, but if it did, that would be the highlight of my career. I’d never be able to top that.”
Race fans interested in taking part in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club can visit 5flagsspeedway.com for ticket information.
Those unable to make the trip to Five Flags Speedway for the event can tune in live to Speed51’s broadcast of the race. Now is the perfect time to order your video ticket and take advantage of early-bird savings.
To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com