Snowball Derby week officially started on Tuesday night at the new Beef ‘O’ Brady’s location just down the road from Five Flags Speedway, as fans, drivers, and teams gathered for the Snowball Derby Kickoff Party. Many top drivers were on hand, and it was a party only fit for the biggest Super Late Model race in North America.
The highlight of the night was perhaps Bubba Pollard, which at one point saw him assume the role of reporter to talk to Dylan “Mamba” Smith. They went on to talk about the first time they had met each other, and Smith was admittedly taken aback at the first meeting.
“I thought Bubba Pollard was going to be this slender professional. He told me he was Bubba Pollard and I said, ‘No, you’re not’” Smith said on the show. “I made him show me his ID.”
Pollard gave Smith advice on how to approach Saturday night’s Snowflake 100 before making a declaration.
“If Mamba wins, we’re throwing a hell of a party Saturday.”
Smith then issued a challenge to Pollard with the help of sponsor Truly Seltzer.
“They sent me down here with about 12 cases to give away. It’s alcohol, bro. I bet you can’t drink eight of them, and you’ll be upside down.”
“He doesn’t know who he’s talking to.”
That wasn’t the first appearance on the Snowball Derby Kickoff Show for the reigning Blizzard Series champion. Fellow VanDoorn Racing driver Carson Hocevar was asked to give his best Robbie Harvey impression of announcing Bubba Pollard during pre-race introductions, which led to a harsh review and a little trash talk from the Georgia driver.
“He was terrible. He did that worse than he drove go-karts earlier today at Fast Eddies. It was pretty bad,” Pollard joked. “He tried to hit baseballs in the batting cage, and I told him it was a good thing he’s a race car driver.”
Pollard sees himself in a new situation this weekend as he makes his first appearance with TK Racing and in a VanDoorn Racing Development Super Late Model. He will have a pseudo-teammate in Carson Hocevar, who is coming off a career year that has included wins in the Redbud 400 and Winchester 400.
“The race car has a different feel to it. It drives differently. There is a lot of information, so I’m going to lean on him a lot this weekend. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve driven race cars, but it is two totally different feels. I can see where they’ve had success in recent years, at race tracks I’ve struggled.”
For Hocevar, he is heading into his third appearance at the Snowball Derby. His two previous appearances has seen him struggle, finishing 35th in his first start back in 2018 and failing to make the show last season. With a driver like Pollard in the same stable, he feels like he can learn from him as well throughout the week.
“It’s been fun to learn from Bubba, the little things we could have done different or I could have done different. He said it in his interview, that he could learn stuff from me on these VanDoorn cars,” Hocevar said. “I have an idea what these cars like, and I think VanDoorn and I can learn from him, because we obviously have struggled here.”
The Michigan driver’s misfortune over the previous two years has caused him to call for a reset heading into this weekend.
“I can’t tell you what I learned. You mentioned the last two Snowball Derbies, let’s forget about those. It’s my Snowball Derby debut. We’re going to stop there. We had a good 2020.”
Watch a replay of the Snowball Derby Kickoff Party on Speed51.TV by clicking here.
Race fans unable to attend this year’s Snowball Derby on December 2-6 at Five Flags Speedway will be able to watch live on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo