Dan Fredrickson is admittedly not a fan of the winter season in his home state of Minnesota. In fact, it’s one reason why he’s looking forward to making the long haul south to Five Flags Speedway for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby on December 8.
“I’m very excited, you don’t realize how bad it sucks being so cold up here until you get to Florida and it’s warm out and you smell the race gas,” Fredrickson joked. “I plan on breaking up the winter by going racing as many times as possible this year.”
It will be the two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion’s third attempt at the biggest Super Late Model race in the country. The upper Midwest has races like Oktoberfest and the Slinger Nationals soaked with tradition, but Fredrickson says there is still no race like the Snowball Derby.
“I would say the history of it, the atmosphere. Everybody you talk to would say the same deal, the atmosphere of the Snowball Derby is unlike any other race in the country that I know of. Everybody else says the same thing so it must be true. I don’t know what it is, just the hype I guess, or the intensity of the race track. It’s a pretty wild race track.”
A significant change to this year’s race is the controlled caution format that was first created in the upper Midwest. It was a move that Fredrickson is a big fan of, citing the outcomes of recent years.
“If you look at the last few years, I think the winner could definitely say that pit stops were a large part of the outcome of the race. I don’t think that at the level and the budgets of the average Late Model team, I don’t think live pit stops should be the outcome of a Late Model race,” he stated. “I think it’s an awesome move. On the fan’s side of it, I think the excitement is still going to be there just like if it was a live stop race because all the strategy is still going to mean the same. The strategy of when to pit and when to take tires and whatnot, all that’s still going to be there. I think it’s a great deal. There’s a few guys coming from up here that would never in their lives dream of going to the Snowball Derby when it was a live pit stop race. Overall for the race, I think it’s a much healthier move to have controlled cautions.”
Fredrickson’s first Snowball Derby attempt came in 2010, when he qualified eighth and had a strong run before a late-race incident relegated him to 15th. He returned to Pensacola two years ago, qualifying for the race once again and finishing 20th. Along with bringing a brand-new body in hopes of not having any issues in tech, he talked about what he and his team will do different to try to make the third time the charm.
“The first year we went was in like ’08 and we were dynamite there. We had a winning car, we were in the hunt to win it and got wrecked,” he said. “The first year we went, we had no expectations or idea what we were doing. We just went like it was a regular race and we were super good.”
“Two years ago, we brought a new car with no laps on it and we just ran terrible; just trying to do what people that run down there do, and we just sucked there big time,” Fredrickson added. “We’re going to go back there this year with a car that we’ve raced the last half of the year here and do what we do and just have my regular crew guys, not have any outside help or influence, and just be ourselves.”
As for Fredrickson’s goal for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, it’s a simple one.
“To win the b——, no doubt.”
For more information regarding the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, including schedules, entry lists, ticket information and more, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
Early bird pay-per-view video tickets for the event can be purchased by clicking here and using coupon code “SNOWBIRD” for 10% off.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com