NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie of the year William Byron showed his muscle in a Super Late Model on Friday evening, claiming the pole for the 49th Annual Snowball Derby.
Byron, qualifying for his second career Snowball Derby, went out early in the session and his fast time of 16.201 seconds held up as the remaining of the 55 cars went out.
“These guys worked real hard so it feels good to get a pole,” Byron told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “This race is so tough as it is to make the race. Luckily so far we’ve done that so we should be fine.”
In his swan song with Kyle Busch Motorsports before heading to JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, a win at Five Flags Speedway on Sunday would be a major accomplishment.
“It would be great just for this team and for myself,” Byron said. “This is a huge race. If I could get a Snowball Derby victory on my resume it would be incredible for me. We really want to work towards that on Sunday and hopefully get our car driving good tomorrow in practice.”
Last year’s pole winner Ty Majeski came up one spot short in second. Making up the second row on Sunday will be Spencer Davis, who rebounded from problems under the hood in practice, and Byron’s teammate Christopher Bell.
Rounding out the top five was perhaps an unexpected name, Kyle Plott. The Georgia driver qualified solidly for his third Derby, and thought that it could have even gone better.
“It’s always a surprise when you qualify in the top five at the Derby, but I know we had a good car all weekend,” Plott commented. “I left a bunch out there and I think we should have been even higher up than that. We’ll work on race runs a little bit more and see how we stack up in the race.”
Some particular drivers can officially call themselves Snowball Derby starters for the first time. Former NASCAR K&N Pro Series West regular Brandon McReynolds and crew fought hard to make improvements and were locked in during the session with a 16th place qualifying run.
“It’s really relieving,” McReynolds noted. “I was pretty nervous about our car in practice. We just didn’t have the speed. I think I did alright. Maybe backed off the throttle a little off of two a little bit, but it felt good and just happy we got our car in the show and we get to work on her all day tomorrow.”
As for many, the agenda on Saturday for McReynolds will be getting the car race ready for Sunday afternoon.
“Just looking forward to digging in tomorrow and really getting down to the roots of our car,” McReynolds continued. “That’s the fun stuff, when you get out there and see what you’ve got for the long run.”
The final driver to make it in on Friday was Derek Scott Jr., another driver making their Derby debut.
“It’s quite a big stress reliever right there,” the Texas youngster said. “It really was not the best expectations. We’ve struggled with it all weekend. It’s a brand new car. We did test the weekend before and were faster, but we’re in the race and we’re going to try to do what we can.”
Fans who purchased a live ticket and were not able to watch qualifying live can watch an on-demand broadcast at http://speed51.com/watch-snowball-qualifying-2016/.
The Pro Late Models take center stage on Saturday, December 3 for the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. The 50-lap Last Chance Qualifier for the Snowball Derby and a 50-lap feature for the Beef O’Brady’s Pro Truck division will also run on Saturday night.
Then on Sunday, December 4 the green flag will fly over the 49th Annual Snowball Derby. The 300-lap race will begin at 2 p.m. CT.
For more information on the 49th Annual Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway, visit www.snowballderby.com.
Race fans unable to make their way to Pensacola, Florida during Snowball Derby week will be able to watch all of the racing action live on Speed51.com. Visit Speed51.com today for more information.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
49th Annual Snowball Derby Qualifying Results
Presented by Racecar Engineering
|20||8||John Hunter Nemechek||16.442|
|30||01||Derek Scott Jr||16.496|