Each year, the Snowball Derby provides an opportunity for young, promising drivers to gain notoriety with a solid run against the best Super Late Model competition in the country. Manassas, Virginia’s Mason Diaz hopes to make a strong first impression.
Diaz will be attempting double-duty during the famed week of action at Five Flags Speedway (FL). The 2017 Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) track champion will enter both the Snowflake 100 for Pro Late Models and the 51st Annual Snowball Derby, his first attempt in the Super Late Model showcase.
“That’s going to be a great race this year,” Diaz told Speed51.com. “I’m running the ‘Flake and the Derby, so it’s going to be a good weekend.”
“It’s the biggest Super Late Model race in the nation,” Diaz said. “There’s a whole bunch of them in the nation, but that’s the biggest one. That’s the one I want to win, over any of the other ones. It adds a lot of credibility if you win the race. I didn’t grow up watching Super Late Models myself, but the best of the best race Supers. If I can put myself on the list, that would be great.”
However, before Diaz can compete for the win, he needs to qualify for the race. He’s aware that will be no small feat in itself.
“I’m going down there with just the hopes of making the Derby, which I think we will make the Derby,” Diaz explained. “But first thing is we have to make it and then we’ll talk about the race.
“We’ll go down there and practice with the Pro and the Super,” Diaz continued. “Hopefully, we’ll get the Pro good to go so we can focus on the Super.”
On the Pro Late Model side, Diaz enters the Snowflake with confidence on his side. Diaz finished fifth in the event in 2016 and had a strong run derailed by a mechanical issue in 2017.
Furthermore, Diaz collected a win during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in the Pro Late Model division’s 100-lap showdown, holding off Mike Skinner and Cole Anderson for the victory.
“We raced [Mike] Skinner there and Cole Anderson at New Smyrna,” Diaz said about that win. “When we go down there [for the Snowflake], Casey Roderick will be there, Connor Okrzesik, Bubba Pollard, it will be the best of the best competition.
“Last year we ran top five until the rear-end went,” Diaz said about his 2017 Snowflake 100. “Hopefully we can seal the deal or get a top three.”
Diaz has limited experience at Five Flags Speedway. He made his first Super Late Model appearance at the Pensacola, Florida facility this year, competing in a Blizzard Series/Southern Super Series event in July.
In that race, Diaz finished 12th, but felt he had a strong car and learned the importance of tire conservation on the abrasive Five Flags surface.
“I’ve only been there three or four times,” Diaz said. “I raced the Super there earlier this year. We had a fast car, just went a lap down, burned the right-front (tire) off. We got new tires and we were right there with the top-five, top-ten.
“We should have a good car for this year,” Diaz added. “I’m looking forward to it, it’s right around the corner now.”
The 51st Annual Snowball Derby is just around the corner, less than a month away. The 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