Decals or no decals. Full fenders or open wheel. Pro or Super. It just didn’t matter.
Jeff Choquette topped the charts in three different divisions and four different cars during Saturday’s Snowball Derby Preview at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
Choquette showed the way in Modifieds, Pro Late Models and Super Late Models – pacing the final two rounds of Super Late Model practice in different machines. The trio of fast times pocketed Choquette and the Jett Racing team a cool $1,000.
“Today was a really great test day for the whole Jett Concrete crew, Choquette said. “We found some stuff that will help us at the Snowball, and that is the most important thing. We got to come play with the Modified as well, and make some laps in the Pro. It was good to get out here and shake everything down prior to Derby week.”
Choquette’s modified turned in a time of 17.346, topped the Pro Late Model time sheet with a lap of 16.759 and bested the Super Late Model competitors with a 16.551 lap.
Choquette, a native Loxahatchee, Fla., is fresh off a strong run at the Florida Governor’s Cup 200 In New Smyrna and is confident he can keep the good times rolling at the 49th Snowball Derby in two weeks.
“We are very confident we can win the Snowball Derby if things go our way,” Choquette said. “Everyone on this team busts their butt and works as hard as they can. You have to have a little luck on your side to win this thing. Our main focus has to be making sure everything is good for the second half of the race to take it home.”
Rick Pollaro topped the Pro Truck Run for the Money by lapping the Florida half mile in 18.548.
“John Hall, my crew chief, made the call to put tires on it in the first round, and it turned out to be the best decision. “The money will go towards tires. New tires here is like Superman putting on his cape.
In Super Stock action, Gary Sutton set fast time with a lap of 18.317. However, Sutton’s quick lap in session two wasn’t your average trip around Five Flags Speedway.
The fast time was set just two laps after he backed the car in the outside wall in turn four.
“We had cold tires on it, and it just swapped ends on me,” said Sutton. “The only damage was to the body, so I just kept digging on it. We had been fast all day, and we are really excited about coming back here in a couple of weeks.”
Local ace Steve Buttrick topped Sportsmen practice for the day. He rounded Five Flags Speedway in 20.555 to take home the $200 prize.
“It really felt good because the car was tore up pretty bad last race,” Buttrick said. “We did a lot of work to the car and put it on the track and it was fast, so I’m really happy.”
Tommie Blocker topped Robert Loper by 0.002 to take home the honor of the fastest Bomber in Pensacola.
Blocker, who turned a quick lap of 21.501, was surprised at the quick lap.
“We came out here mainly to just throw a couple of things at it and see if we could catch those leaders in our series,” said Blocker. “I was just surprised as anyone when they told me the time I ran.”
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The 49th Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off on Wednesday, November 30 with the Cat Country/WEAR TV3 Green Flag Pit Party and Qualifying Order Draw Down.
Thursday, December 1 will see the Super Late Models take to the track for the first official Snowball Derby practice. The night will be highlighted by a 30-lap race for the Butler U-Pull-It Bombers and a 50-lap event for the Dock on the Beach Sportsmen division.
The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 2 during NASH FM 102.7 Pole Night. The Faith Chapel Super Stocks and the Modifieds will each run 50-lap features.
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. All media credential requests and inquiries for the Snowball Derby can be sent to Pat Bryant at [email protected]
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-By Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Contributor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com