The Snowball Derby is deemed the Super Bowl of asphalt Super Late Model racing across the United States. Each year, the race tempts the best drivers in the country to try their hand in Pensacola, Florida and battle for the title of Snowball Derby champion.
For California’s Jeremy Doss, the chance to perform on this stage is no easy journey. A 2,500-mile one-way haul is the distance his team must travel as they plan on making their return to the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway this December.
Doss made his first trip to the Snowball Derby in 2015 after one of the most successful seasons of his racing career. Failure to qualify for that year’s race made the decision to return the following year difficult.
“We wanted to go last year but couldn’t get things rounded up to go. This year I was able to get the sponsorship together to go there and I feel like this is a huge second chance for me,” Doss said.
Second chances don’t always come easily, so Doss knows that the pressure is on to perform well because the opportunity may not present itself again.
“Its nerve-racking knowing that we didn’t make the show the last time we went. It came down to mechanical issues but the pressure is still on knowing that I’m representing the West Coast,” Doss stated. “I have got to qualify better and I definitely think it’s something I am capable of.”
Unlike some drivers who secure rides with other large-scale teams specifically for the Derby, Doss is bringing his regular weekend crew with their enclosed trailer towed behind a pick-up truck.
“When it comes down to it we aren’t racing trailers so the factor of these big teams really doesn’t scare me,” Doss said. “I think we have the potential to be just as good as them and I would really love to be able to represent a lot of the small teams.”
To give himself the best shot possible, Doss is bringing down a new Super Late Model that they built this year. Doss hopes that his Senneker Performance chassis will give him the same results that fellow Senneker driver Bubba Pollard has seen at Five Flags this year.
“We just ran that car at the (Las Vegas) Bullring and won the race and by the time the Derby comes around it will have four or so races on it,” he explained. “By then I think that we will have it pretty dialed in to not have to worry about the new-car bugs while we are down there.”
Only a handful of West Coast drivers have made the trip to the prestigious race in Florida recently and even fewer have managed to make the main event. Derek Thorn is the most prominent driver who has captured a podium finish, but neither Doss or fellow California competitor Jacob Gomes have managed to make the race yet.
“If we can make the race that would mean the world to myself and my team. It would prove so many things and I am really looking forward to getting back to Five Flags.”
The 50th Annual Snowball Derby will kick off on Wednesday, November 29 with racing for the first time in event history on a Wednesday night. The Pure Stock division will be in action for a 50-lap feature prior to the annual Green Flag Pit Party and all-important qualifying draw for Late Model drivers.
Late Models will hit the track for the first time on Thursday, November 30 prior to 50-lap features for the Sportsman and Outlaw Stock divisions later that night.
Friday, December 1 is the most intense day in all of short track racing. It’s qualifying day for the Snowball Derby. Also on Friday night, the Modifieds will get their spotlight as they do battle for 75 laps to crown their Snowball Derby champion.
Saturday, December 2 is Allen Turner Snowflake 100 race day. Qualifying for the Snowflake 100 will begin at 2 p.m. CT. A 50-lap last chance race for the Snowflake 100 will immediately follow qualifying. The 50-lap last chance race for the Snowball Derby will also be held on Saturday evening at the conclusion of the last chance race for the Snowflake 100.
The green flag for the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 will wave at 7 p.m. Also on Saturday night, the Pro Trucks will race for 50 laps to decide who takes their Snowball Derby victory.
Sunday, December 3 is the biggest day of the year in short track racing. It’s race day for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby. Pre-race festivities will begin at Noon CT. The class photo for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will be taken on the frontstretch at 12:30. Driver introductions will follow at 1:15 p.m. The green flag for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will wave at 2 p.m.
More information on the 50th Annual Snowball Derby can be found by visiting www.snowballderby.com and www.5flagsspeedway.com.
Story by: Hannah Newhouse – Southeast Correspondent Twitter: @hannahnewhouse
Photo by: Speed51.com