Although Dalton Sargeant grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, nearly 10 hours away from Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, many may think it is a track that he grew up next door to given his impressive results in the prestigious Snowball Derby. It is a track and a race that he has taken well to, and it is no surprise that this year’s 49th Annual Snowball Derby on December 4 is one that he’s looking forward to.
“For sure, plus it’s one of the biggest races of the year. I’m looking forward to going back,” Sargeant said. “We had the runner-up my first year and another top five with a fourth-place finish last year. It’s one of my favorite race tracks to go to. We got a great car this year with all the guys at Bond Suss Racing; I’m super excited.”
Sargeant’s list of reasons for why he enjoys Five Flags Speedway is long, but at the top of that list is the amount of speed a driver can carry around the half-mile oval in a Super Late Model.
“I really like how fast the place is for a Super Late Model, especially the Derby,” he said. “It’s that fast that time of the year with the weather being so cool. The asphalt, as aggressive as it is, it seems to fall off really well. You have to do a good job at managing your tires and it makes for an interesting race.”
2016 has been a year of new surroundings for Sargeant, debuting the Bond Suss Racing No. 55 car back in February at the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park (CA). Since then he and the team have toured the country competing in many big Super Late Model events, but have yet to turn consistency into victory. But given his success at the Derby and crew chief Bond Suss’ success working with Kyle Busch Motorsports at the race, the recipe may be right for a Snowball Derby victory.
“It’s a really good car and a really good crew,” he said. “I’m very excited to go back there this year with this car and this team.”
Sargeant’s season has been coupled with a number of near misses for wins throughout the season. He’s been fast and he’s been up front, he just hasn’t been able to break through for his first Super Late Model victory.
Two of Sargeant’s most impressive runs in a Super Late Model came during the month of October during a pair of crown jewel events. He led 84 laps in the All American 400 at Nashville (TN) before battling for the win and finishing third in the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (IN).
Those strong runs have Sargeant and the Bond Suss Motorsports team confident heading into the 300-lap Snowball Derby on December 4.
“We’ve been on a roll here lately,” he stated. “It’s always great to be contending for wins and show that confidence. Both times we were leading at lap 300 Luckily the Derby is 300 laps, so hopefully that plays to our favor. It should be a fun race at one of my favorite places to go to.”
The team and Sargeant have two more races on the calendar, the PASS South season finale on North-South Shootout weekend at Concord Speedway (NC) and the Florida Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna Speedway. After that, the focus will be on Pensacola, Florida and the Tom Dawson Trophy.
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]
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-51 Sports/Snowball Derby Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com