It’s been seven years since Elko, Minnesota’s Dan Fredrickson made his way south to Pensacola, Florida and competed in a Snowball Derby. With the momentous 50th version of the event taking place this December at Five Flags Speedway, the two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion will throw his hat in the ring once again.
Fredrickson’s preparation for the race is at an all-time high and he believes he has a shot to bring home the highly sought-after Tom Dawson trophy at the end of the weekend.
“It’s a big deal,” Fredrickson told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’m really excited and this race is just a really big deal. I tell people it’s like you have the regular NFL season and then you have the Super Bowl. This race is everyone’s Super Bowl. Everyone has their own regular season, but then it’s Snowball Derby season. It’s the best of the best competing for one of the most prestigious trophies in Super Late Model racing.”
In 2010, Fredrickson unloaded his No. 36 machine fast out of the trailer and hovered around the top of the speed charts in every practice session. He went on to qualify eighth and raced in the top five at the beginning of the race. A flat tire forced Fredrickson to pit and put him down two laps, however the Minnesota driver got those two laps back and again worked his way into the top five before being caught up in a late-race incident.
“We were fast all weekend,” Fredrickson stated. “I definitely could have used more horsepower in qualifying, I didn’t realize how fast we would go in qualifying after the sun went down but we were satisfied with eighth. In the race, we had a flat and lost two laps in the pits. To be able to get back both laps, one by passing the leaders, I definitely thought we had a chance to win or earn a top three.”
Taking what he learned, Fredrickson feels confident heading to Pensacola in just a few short weeks. With a new car under his belt and a plan for success, he hopes to be kissing the Tom Dawson trophy at the end of 300 laps.
“It’s one of those races you really just need to be prepared for,” Fredrickson began. “And I am. My attitude is just to worry about myself and what we need to do. If we can do that, I have no reason to not think we’ll be successful. You can’t sit there and stare at race times all day, you need to go down there and do what you need to do and I’m confident if we stay the path, good things will happen. I’ve always had good speed in race cars, so we just need to take care of it and be ready.”
Fredrickson’s biggest worries don’t even come from anything on the race track, but from the “Room of Doom” and Chief Technical Inspector Ricky Brooks.
“You just need to be careful and make sure you have everything right,” Fredrickson stated. “I saw my buddy Chris Wimmer get disqualified for something a few years ago that really didn’t make any sense. And then Ty getting disqualified at Speedweeks for gutting his Oberg fuel valve. I mean everyone up here does that, we did anyway. I’m most worried about going down there and having something so minor wrong. But we’re doing everything we can to be prepared and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
What Fredrickson does hope happens is that he again becomes a name to beat in short track racing. Between 2007 and 2017, the 39-year-old driver has earned 15 wins and 41 top-five finishes in 78 ARCA Midwest Tour starts. He tallied four Oktoberfest wins and has been a threat wherever he has raced.
“I hope I’m flying under the radar into Snowball Derby, which I think I am. Hopefully we have a good run and change that. Too many people are being too nice to me these days,” Fredrickson said with a laugh. “I want to be the guy everyone hates because I win too much. I like that a lot better.”
Race fans from the Midwest region unable to make the trip to Pensacola, Florida for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will be able to watch a live, television-style broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent