Granite Bay, California driver Cole Moore is getting a chance of a lifetime this December. Moore, a former motocross driver on the West Coast, will make his way to the East Coast to race a Super Late Model for David Gilliland Racing in the 49th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
Not only will it be his first attempt at qualifying for the Snowball Derby, but it will also be his first time competing against East Coast competition.
“It’s been all West Coast until now. I actually went to Talladega to watch, didn’t drive or anything, but that was my first race in general, got me pumped up,” Moore told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Moore’s time in full-body racecars has been short, this being just his second season. But he has turned heads since starting off in the Pacific Challenge Series. Among those who he has impressed is Bill McAnally, his owner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. McAnally also owns the ride for 2016 K&N West champion Todd Gilliland, leading to the chance to drive for Todd’s father David.
Moore has an appreciation for the scope of the prestigious Snowball Derby and knows he has a chance to do well right away.
“All the big boys go there, if you look at what Erik Jones did and stuff like that, if you go and do good it’s a pretty big deal,” Moore stated. “That’s where my head is at. I want to go there and shine, do the best I can and see where it takes me. I’m excited to be with DGR because they have been really good. David is huge, he knows what he’s doing, look at what he did with Todd this year in the K&N Series. Raphael has been good in his car. I have faith in the team, they’re going show up and do their best so that’s what I got to do too.”
Already, David Gilliland is preparing Moore for the rigors of the Derby and Five Flags Speedway.
“David and I talk a lot because I raced six races with BMR this year and him and Todd were living in the same town as I am right now with Bill. I got a chance to become pretty close with David. He’s been amping me up for it and giving me little tips here and there. But, I know it will be more intense coaching wise when I get there. I’m testing three days, Saturday, Sunday, Monday before which will be good to get acclimated to the car.”
“I did two-wheels all the way up until I was 17, that was my passion forever,” he explained. “I rode four times a week and took it as far as I could. My dad and my brother made the same transition. My brother actually did the same thing and he got into a stock car, he actually ended up passing away in a race car. It was one of those deals where I wanted to do it and follow in my dad’s and my brother’s footsteps. It was something I wanted to do in memory of my brother, but I ended up really liking it and decided to stop riding Dirt Bikes and do it full-time.”
2016 has had a lot of change for Moore, who was planning to chase a Pacific Challenge Series title, only for plans to change when a chance to race NASCAR Stock Cars came along.
“It started off with the Pacific Challenge Series, I was planning on racing the full season but I got together with Bill about a quarter of the way through,” Moore said. “I told him I wanted to race for him in K&N and he told me that we would talk in a month or so, see how I did. He called me back the next day and said that if I wanted to do it he had a fifth car and we can make this happen. And I said absolutely, that took me out of the points for PCS because the races conflicted. My first race in K&N I qualified third and ran top five in the race. It’s been a good experience in K&N for sure.”
With racing on the West Coast now complete for the season, the full focus of Moore is now on Pensacola, Florida where his goal is to take things one day at a time. This is in order to make sure he is one of those lucky ones to take the green flag for 300 laps on December 4.
“I know about it but I don’t know what to expect,” he said of the tough qualifying format. “I know a lot of fast guys last year didn’t even make the show. Going in, I want to make sure my car really good in testing and practice. First thing is to focus on qualifying to get a good time in make the show. From there based on how the car is, obviously my expectation is to run up front, no doubt.”
The 49th Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off on Wednesday, November 30 with the Cat Country/WEAR TV3 Green Flag Pit Party and Qualifying Order Draw Down.
Thursday, December 1 will see the Super Late Models take to the track for the first official Snowball Derby practice. The night will be highlighted by a 30-lap race for the Butler U-Pull-It Bombers and a 50-lap event for the Dock on the Beach Sportsmen division.
The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 2 during NASH FM 102.7 Pole Night. The Faith Chapel Super Stocks and the Modifieds will each run 50-lap features.
The Pro Late Models take center stage on Saturday, December 3 for the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. The 50-lap Last Chance Qualifier for the Snowball Derby and a 50-lap feature for the Beef O’Brady’s Pro Truck division will also run on Saturday night.
Then on Sunday, December 4 the green flag will fly over the the 49th Annual Snowball Derby. The 300-lap race will begin at 2 p.m. CT.
For more information on the 49th 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 Pat Bryant at [email protected]
51’s “Official News Site” status allows advertisers of 51’s Snowball Derby coverage to be seen by more race fans than any other short track event. Affordable advertising rates are available now by emailing [email protected]
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter:@Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Kathee Bradenburg