Even though in recent weeks there was a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series championship up for grabs, the 50th Annual Snowball Derby was near the top of Kyle Busch’s wish list.

Busch poured over notes before arriving at Five Flags Speedway on Friday, fresh off the NASCAR Banquet in Las Vegas. He hopped in the car for practice and immediately liked the piece he had.

A few small tweaks later, and a winning car was born, allowing the 2009 race winner to capitalize late and earn the coveted Tom Dawson Trophy.


300x250 51 Network 2017(2)“I didn’t think we had it there for about 280 laps, and then that final 20 she came to life,” Busch admitted to Speed51.com powered by JEGS.


Busch was not the dominant car at all throughout the course of the grueling event, but remained within striking distance.  Bubba Pollard, who led the speed charts on numerous occasions during the week, led the most circuits  – 155 in total – along with his Snowflake 100 challenger from the night before, Jeff Choquette, most of the way.


A long green flag run allowed Busch to reel in both experienced short track racers and eventually find his way by Pollard first and later Choquette with only 16 laps remaining.


“Just tried to persevere, save and work my way to those guys and finally be able to get my way around them,” Busch explained.  “I wasn’t sure once I got there I’d have enough to be able to get by them, but they just kind of kept falling off and I just plateaued and kind of stayed.”


Although Busch has continued his winning ways at the premier level of American motorsport, he had not visited the Derby as a driver since an intense battle to the finish with Erik Jones in 2012. During that time his eyes have continued to be on Super Late Model racing.


“Fun to come out and race in these cars and have great competitors that ran me really clean all day long, so congrats to those guys,” Busch continued.  “I hated being in that spot when Jones beat me, but we had just enough here today in order to get it done.  I’m real proud of my guys.”


Choquette and Pollard held on to round out the podium finishers.  Young Harrison Burton finished fourth and Maine’s Cassius Clark rallied to complete the top five.


Fast qualifier Preston Peltier was a contender early and led laps, but was caught up in a multiple car wreck following the first round of pit stops.


Ty Majeski was running faster laps than leaders over the closing laps, but was caught two laps down when a different pit strategy backfired during a long green flag run over the first half of the race.

Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage by clicking here.


-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

Snowball Derby Unofficial Results

1             51          Kyle Busch          300

2             9C          Jeff Choquette 300

3             26          Bubba Pollard   300

4             12          Harrison Burton 300

5             13          Cassius Clark      300

6             18          Casey Roderick 300

7             26S        Chandler Smith 300

8             81          Chase Purdy      300

9             99          Raphael Lessard       300

10          20          Brandon McReynolds 300

11          32D       Tyler Dippel       300

12          18G       Noah Gragson  299

13          75          Jeremy Doss      299

14          53J         Boris Jurkovic    299

15          53B        Cole Butcher     299

16          00          Anthony Cataldi 299

17          91          Ty Majeski         298

18          4             Kyle Plott            298

19          15          Christian Eckes 297

20          36          Dan Fredrickson        296

21          19          Kason Plott        295

22          5             Jerry Artuso       253

23          55          Spencer Davis   239

24          07          Corey LaJoie      218

25          46          Cole Rouse        218

26          11R        David Rogers    212

27          14          Chris Davidson 190

28          01          Jake Crum          178

29          112        Augie Grill           163

30          14C        Connor Okrzesik      100

31          5M        Mason Mingus 94

32          48          Preston Peltier 94

33          9K          Derek Kraus       94

34          2W        Donnie Wilson  93

35          11B        Logan Boyett    93

36          51n        Stephen Nasse 93

37          88          Garrett Jones    55

Busch Scores a Golden Victory at the Snowball Derby