Jeremy Doss has always been known as one of the best Super Late Model drivers west of the Mississippi River, but the 2017 Snowball Derby gave him a chance to prove he’s one of the best in the country. Now, after a strong qualifying effort and race last year, the Upper Lake, California driver is heading back to Five Flags Speedway (FL) for another shot at the Tom Dawson Trophy.
Doss, who has won big races such as the Montana 200 and Senator’s Cup Fall Classic, may not have been a household name like Bubba Pollard or Casey Roderick but his fans and followers on the west coast knew it wouldn’t take long for him to get noticed in the national spotlight.
Last year, Doss returned to the Snowball Derby for the second time with something to prove after failing to qualify for the event in 2015. He showcased his young talent by qualifying fifth for the race amongst a strong field of national competitors.
If that wasn’t enough, he went onto run up front in the top six for the majority of the race, even leading for a handful of laps. Doss ended up finishing 13th one year ago but that effort give him confidence heading into this year’s race at the Pensacola, Florida half-mile oval.
“After going the first time and not qualifying for the race, to qualifying fifth in the biggest race in the country means a lot to me,” Doss told Speed51.com. “Our team has a lot more confidence this year after our good run last year, and we look forward to competing against the best in the country again.”
Doss has continued to win races everywhere he’s gone this year, from Evergreen Speedway in Washington State to the Senator’s Cup Fall Classic in Las Vegas and everywhere in between. The current SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour points leader has been on top of his game with his Senneker chassis, and that success has been tough to keep up with.
After qualifying fifth last year and getting locked into the 50th Annual Snowball Derby, Doss knows that getting into the race is his first concern as he tries to keep his 2018 momentum going.
“I feel pretty good,” Doss said. “Our program is a lot better than it was last year. Just need to work on our qualifying game a little bit because it’s so important to get locked in on Friday night.”
Even after Doss survived one of the most stressful nights in the world of short track racing, Snowball Derby Qualifying Night, he felt like his car was better than his 13th-place finish in the race and looks to improve on that this year.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he stated. “We had a good run last year and I had a rear-end fail in the race and that cost us a top-five finish. We hope to be running right back up front again this year.”
Making the 2,600-mile trip isn’t easy for the family-owned team as it’s a three-day journey just to get the car there. But Doss and his team know how special the event is and look forward to competing in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby.
“It’s an event unlike anything else, with all the competition, all those fans and it’s a whole different environment that I can’t really compare to anything on the west coast.”
The small team out of Northern California has ran up front at every track they visited in 2018. Jeremy’s dad, Mike Doss, leads the operation and has used the Senneker connection to bounce ideas off short track superstar Bubba Pollard.
With only a handful of drivers coming from the west coast to the Snowball Derby every year, Doss knows that the west coast drivers have something to prove racing against the best in the country.
Doss will be joined by 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion and Winter Showdown winner Derek Thorn, as well as two-time defending Summer Showdown Champion and 2017 Snowball Derby Pole winner Preston Peltier representing the west coast.
“We have some really good drivers out here in the west and they might not get noticed or the attention of drivers out east, but they can compete against the best and I think we showed that last year,” Doss stated.
If Doss can put the complete package and weekend together to win the 51st Snowball Derby, he knows that it could do amazing things for his career.
“It would mean the world to me to be able to win the Snowball Derby. It’s the biggest race in the country and you know you’ve beat the best when you win it,” Doss said. “To win the race would be great for my journey and a shot at the next level.”
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 Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com West Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com