Each year, the Snowball Derby brings the best drivers from the short track racing ranks and a handful of drivers from the upper levels of NASCAR to Pensacola, Florida during the first week of December. This year, one of the drivers from the NASCAR ranks who will be competing in the event is NASCAR Truck Series competitor Jordan Anderson.
Anderson of Forest Acres, South Carolina has put together a plan to make his first appearance in the most prestigious Super Late Model race in the country on December 4-8 at Five Flags Speedway.
Prior to competing in the NASCAR Truck Series, Anderson spent time in the Super Late Model ranks, but the Snowball Derby will be the first time he has climbed behind the wheel of an SLM since 2013.
“I’m super stoked to be going down there,” Anderson told Speed51. “When I was growing up I was a Super Late Model racer, I grew up racing the PASS Series and ran a couple CRA races and I love the Super Late Model world, so to be able to kind of come home after running the full series in Trucks and all we’ve got going on here I’m super excited to go back to what my roots are and do a little grassroots racing and have some fun.”
Anderson will be driving for gulf coast stalwarts Bobby and Roger Reuse when he arrives in Pensacola for the Derby. The duo has much experience at Five Flags Speedway as both drivers and owners, most recently helping Perry Patino make his Super Late Model debut at the Derby one year ago.
The connection between Anderson and Reuse began four years ago when they helped Anderson break through into the NASCAR Xfinity Series. They have driven for each other in the Truck Series and in Late Models in recent years, which has now led to a trip to the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby.
“Bobby and Roger Reuse have been mainstays in the Pro and Super Late Model world. We first got talking to them, I think it was in 2015,” he said. “Bobby helped me make my Xfinity Series debut with Mike Harmon’s team and we stayed in contact. Then last year, Bobby drove for me at Iowa and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in the Truck Series for our team, and then again this year we had both Bobby and Roger drive for us and our team at Canadian Tire.”
“Bobby asked me to go run the Pro Late Model he had up at the Alaska Raceway Park. I got to go up there and do that and had some fun with it,” Anderson added. “We won that race and it sparked the discussion about the Derby and Bobby called me and said, ‘Would you be interested in running our car for us down here?’ We were able to put all the pieces together.”
Along with the stiff test that Snowball Derby qualifying provides, Anderson says one challenge Derby week will provide is getting reacclimated behind the wheel of a Super Late Model.
“I think the biggest thing is I haven’t been behind the wheel of a Super Late Model in, I guess five years. Going from a 3,400-pound truck to a Super Late Model that’s a lot lighter, it’s going to be quite a change. I’ve never seen the track before, never been to Pensacola, never seen it. I’ll actually be going down there this weekend to do a little testing down there with those guys.”
Reuse and Anderson will be bringing a new Grand American Race Car built by two-time Snowball Derby champion Augie Grill to the Derby.
“It’s a new car that they built just for us to go run the Derby with. Hopefully if everything goes well we can get it dialed in,” he said. “I’m going to bring some of the guys off my truck team down there with us to work during the Derby. Hopefully we don’t have too many troubles to deal with. It’s definitely going to be something different than what I’m used to driving, but hopefully it all translates pretty well and we can go down there and have a pretty good run.”
While Anderson didn’t made an attempt in the Snowball Derby while racing Super Late Models full-time, it has been a race he has followed for years as a fan. He has considered it a dream race for several years, and he is looking forward to making it a reality.
“Even before I raced Super Late Models, come December all eyes were on the Snowball Derby. I think that every year that [Speed51] has covered it I’ve been tuned in, watching as much of it as I can,” he stated. “I’m a racer, but I’m a race fan just as much as I am a racer. I always love seeing the promotion that goes around and how big of an event it is, and the fact that it draws racers from all over the country. It’s such a big spectacle.
“Back when I ran my Super, Bobby Gill was my Crew Chief and Bobby Gill had a lot of history down there at Five Flags. It’s always been a race that I’ve really respected and have a lot of admiration for,” he continued. “It’s taken a little while but now to have the opportunity to go down there and be a part of it all is something so special for me. It was something that was a dream of mine back when I was coming through the ranks, so to be able to see that realized now through the opportunity from the Reuse brothers is a pretty amazing opportunity.”
The 52nd Annual Snowball Derby will be held December 4-8 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images