With help from her fiancé, Kenzie Ruston is heading back to Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway to go for the win in the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 on Saturday, December 5.
According to 51’s The Third Turn, Ruston will be attempting to make her third career start in the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race, the precursor to Sunday’s big show, the 48th Annual Snowball Derby.
But this one will be unlike any other because she’ll be racing in a car owned and prepared by her fiancé and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star, Daniel Hemric.
“I’m really glad that Daniel is going to let me run his car down at the Flake,” said the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular. “I’m super excited. Pensacola is one of my favorite tracks. I’m just excited to get back down there.”
The Snowflake 100 will be the second time that Ruston pilots Hemric’s race car. She raced the black No. 39 machine back in September at Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway in preparation for the Snowflake. Ruston has been behind the wheel of the much heavier stock cars in NASCAR’s top developmental series for a while, so she and Hemric felt it was smart to run a race somewhere before the Snowflake to get her comfortable in a Late Model again.
“It definitely helped a lot,” she said. “We went and tested and going from a steering box (in the K&N car) to a rack and servo was totally different. It’s definitely something that you have to get used to.”
Ruston started near the front in that event and ran there for much of it before the handling went away on her machine.
“I thought we were going to be really good in the race,” Ruston said. “We qualified second or third and with the invert we started around fifth. I was really excited about it. Then in the race we got really tight. We don’t really know why.”
If the handling going away during the race dimmed her confidence for the Snowflake, the All American 400 at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee had to have given it a big boost.
While Ruston didn’t race the car in the All American 400, Hemric did. And he raced that car right into victory lane. Now Ruston knows the car can win, which she said brought her more confidence, but that win also may have added something else for Ruston.
“It definitely added a little bit of pressure,” she said with a laugh. “But we worked really hard during the break to get the car right. We had to change the car a lot to get it to where he wanted it. We don’t have any pit stops at the Snowflake so we’ll see.”
Ruston said she and Hemric will head to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby Preview practice day on November 21 to dial in the race car. Hemric will be racing in the Snowball Derby, so he won’t have too much time throughout Derby week to make big changes to the car.
“Hopefully he can get most of our changes done and out of the way so when we do show up the week of the race then we won’t have to change too much,” she said. “We’ll just be able to fine-tune from there. We want to be in the ball park after the test day.”
If they get the car in the ball park, Ruston said she believes that she can win the Snowflake 100. She said it would be one of the coolest wins she’s ever had if she can get the job done.
“Those are the two biggest short track races of the year,” said Ruston. “To get your name in the winner’s book there is definitely something we’re shooting for. Hopefully Daniel can win too and we’ll sweep the weekend.”
The 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off with the Cat Country/WEAR-TV3 Green Flag Party on Wednesday, December 2. On-track activities start Thursday, December 3, for the opening practice rounds for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models and Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models. The Five Flags Butler U-Pull-It Bombers and Beef ‘O’Brady’s Sportsman divisions will also have feature events on Snowball Derby Thursday.
The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 4 during WXBM 102.7 Pole Night at Five Flags. The Five Flags Faith Chapel Super Stocks and Modifieds will also battle in their Snowball Derby features after Super Late Model qualifying.
The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 takes center stage on Saturday, December 5 as the top Pro Late Model racers in the country qualify and battle for 100 laps at Five Flags. In addition, Saturday’s action features the final 50-lap qualifying event for Snowball Derby drivers to make one last effort to qualify for the 300-lap Super Late Model race. The Better Built Tool Box Pro Trucks will also have a 50-lap feature on Snowball Derby Saturday.
Then on Sunday, December 6, the green flag will drop on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at 2 p.m. CT at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.
For more information on the 48th 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 Matt Kentfield at [email protected] and/or Pat Bryant at [email protected]
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-51 Sports Press Release.