Patrick Laperle couldn’t help but laugh when he drew the number one “sticker” in the Snowball Derby Qualifying Draw, meaning he’ll be the first driver to take the track at Five Flags Speedway (FL) Friday night.
It’s an unenviable position, but one that Laperle is more than willing to accept with some self-deprecating humor.
“Something’s wrong with me,” Laperle said while pointing to his decal marked with a big, bold “1.” “Every time I say I want to draw somewhere in the middle, I’ll draw like in the front or something. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but something’s wrong, that’s for sure.”
Laperle even put a positive twist on the events, noting that, at least briefly, he will be the provisional pole-sitter for the 51st Snowball Derby and have an excuse for anything that happens thereafter.
“I’m going to have the pole, that’s for sure,” Laperle said with a hearty laugh. “I’m going to have the fastest lap. I was hoping 20-something, nope. But anyway, you’ll see the 91 up front.”
“I think we’ve got a good shot to make the show,” Laperle added. “If I don’t make the show, I’ve got an excuse now.”
“Everything’s good, man.”
Noah Gragson picked a much higher number for his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports entry, drawing 46th in the pecking order.
Many in attendance at the Green Flag Pit Party where the qualifying draw took place were congratulatory to Gragson on his pick, but the number was too late for his liking.
“They told me I needed to get between 15th and 30th,” Gragson said about the thoughts of his team. “That’s where they feel like the track is prime. So I didn’t do my job, but hopefully I can turn it around.
“Everybody was telling me, ‘Nice pick, good job, good job,’ when I was walking out,” Gragson added. “Man, I didn’t do anything but pick a sticker. Hopefully we can qualify good. I like to go earlier on, I feel like I mess myself up thinking about it and watching everyone go. I just get all spun out.”
Bubba Pollard was content with his draw for both the Snowball Derby and the Snowflake 100, getting fairly close to the sweet spot Gragson had heard.
“I drew a 39 for the Super and a 36 in the Pro. Not too bad. About middle-ways. It’s the place to start.”
However, Pollard was hesitant to say the draw would mean much in the end.
“This qualifying, unless something changes from here to Friday night, the way the weather’s looking, I don’t think it matters where you’re going out,” Pollard said. “It’s not going to get cold and change. The dew ain’t going to fall, I don’t think, like it does in years past. It’s going to be pretty equal.”
“Good cars always qualify near the front anyways,” Pollard added. “It don’t matter when you qualify.”
Pollard and the rest of the Super Late Model field will look to prove they have good cars on Friday night. Race fans unable to attend qualifying night for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby in person will be able to watch a pay-per-view broadcast all week long on Speed51.com, including qualifying night. Five-day video tickets can be purchased now for $74.99 ($35 savings) to watch all of the action. Click here to purchase your video ticket today.
The 51st Annual Snowball Derby will take place on Wednesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. For more information regarding the event, visit Snowball Central presented by Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Snowball Derby Qualifying Order
|2||20||Jack Dossey III|
|6||7S||Paul Shafer Jr|
|25||7||John DeAngelis Jr|