One year ago, Corey LaJoie made his first start in the Snowball Derby. This year he's heading back to try his hand in the 48th running of the prestigious Super Late Model race, but this race will be unlike any other for the third-generation driver. This time he'll be making the trip to Five Flags Speedway (FL) as not only the driver, but also the owner of the No. 07 LFR Chassis.
"It definitely changes your view on things when you own the car and work your tail off to get it built," said LaJoie. "It's definitely a new aspect for me that I'm enjoying. We're going down there loaded for bear for sure. We've got the updated LFR Chassis this year and we've pretty much got the band back together that had all of the success in the K&N Series and ARCA Series. We're doing it all under the LaJoie banner. It's going to be a good time. We've got five guys crammed into the dually right now to go test."
LaJoie drove one of the LFR Chassis house cars to a 13th-place finish one year ago at his first Derby. This year he expects to be contending for the win in the late stages of the 300-lap race at the famed Pensacola, Florida half-mile.
"Every time we leave the shop we're planning on winning," he said. "We'll have a better idea tomorrow after we test, but I think we have as good a shot as anybody to win this thing."
The 24-year-old driver has won a handful of big races throughout his time behind the wheel of a race car. He's won at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina and Dover International Speedway in Delaware, both times in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East stock car. That same year (2012) he won three other K&N East races en route to a second-place finish in the standings.
But this is the Snowball Derby that LaJoie is now going after. This is the granddaddy of all short track races. As he was driving south from North Carolina towards Pensacola for testing, LaJoie stated that he is very aware of how big a Derby win would be.
"It would be huge," LaJoie said. "Especially because of everybody that has helped out. I don't know how many states are represented on this thing, but there's a bunch. It's a whole group effort here. It feels really good. We're just going down there to race and try to beat the best of the best."
One of the toughest things LaJoie will have to overcome is his lack of experience at Five Flags Speedway, a track that many who have raced it will tell you is difficult to master. He's only been there once and that was for last year's Derby.
"It's tough going down there once a year racing against some guys that race there 10 times a year," said LaJoie. "I think I know what the track is going to do from practice to race time. Hopefully when the tires go away at the end we still have something left."
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.
Fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida for the Snowball Derby can watch all of the action through a live online TV style pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 TV. A four-day video ticket can be purchased now for $59.99 allowing fans to watch all of the action from Five Flags Speedway. Single-day video tickets are also available. Visit Speed51.com for more information.
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]
For more information on Speed51.com and the rest of the 51 Companies, contact Jana Wimmer (Director of Business) at 51 Sports via email through [email protected] and visit Speed51.com. Speed51.com is on Twitter at @speed51dotcom and on Facebook by searching Speed51.com.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo Credit: Bruce Nuttleman/Speed51.com