With the month of October coming to an end, Super Late Model teams are turning their focus towards the 51st Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. For some teams, that means putting time in the shop. For other teams, that means racing big money races. While Kyle Plott and his family team are firmly focused on the Derby, they are also taking time to focus on something more important than racing.
To the east of Five Flags Speedway and Pensacola, Hurricane Michael swept through parts of the Florida Gulf Coast earlier in the month, bringing devastation to places such as Panama City. That is where Plott is directing his focus, before turning back to racing matters.
“My cousin and I came down here and I think we put in about 90 hours last week,” Plott told Speed51.com. “It’s my dad’s business; every house that got wind and water damage, we’d tarp off roofs, cut out damaged walls, whatever needs to be done. The plan is to go around helping out where we can down here for a week or two. But then we are going to put all of our focus on the Derby.”
Through the long hours, Plott remains as confident as ever after two late summer Super Late Model victories at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA) and Orange County Speedway (NC). But he knows that once he returns home to Georgia, there will be no time to rest as his race team looks even further beyond than the Snowball Derby.
“We feel like we have a good bit of confidence going into the Derby. The last race at Five Flags was just didn’t go our way, but we know we got fast cars and that we’re on the right track,” Plott stated. “We’re running well at a lot of races, but we will have a little bit of work to get with those fast guys, like Bubba (Pollard). So, we’re working not just for the Derby, but to get ready for next year.”
Another focus for Kyle Plott will be the return of his brother Kason to the racing scene. After spending much of 2018 building a brand-new car, Kason will make his return at the Snowball Derby. While Kyle is glad to see his younger brother back in action, keeping him competitive will also be on his mind.
“It’s both good and bad. It’s good to have him back in the race car, but I feel like I got to worry about him and getting his car dialed in, while focusing on mine. So, it puts a little bit more pressure on me and of course my dad for the money aspect. But we’ve put a lot into his car, we just got to go out there and do what we got to do, and hopefully it turns out well for both of us.”
Plott has learned by now that best way to minimize any concerns is to eliminate most if not all that they can in the shop before heading to the track.
“Going into the Derby, we just got to make sure we don’t have any stupid failures like we’ve had most of the year before those two wins,” Plott said. “It comes down to going over the car from front to back, dialing everything in and crossing everything off the list.”
Despite a hard earned feeling of confidence, Plott is remaining realistic, knowing that it will take a whole week of minimal mistakes and a fast race car to be successful.
“I don’t want to come off as cocky, I just can’t say that we can go out there and win. That’s the biggest race of the year. But if everything plays out alright, I feel like we can be a contender. But there’s a lot of good people you got to beat before we can think about winning. Derby week has always been a bit of a rollercoaster, either start out bad and end good or the other way around. If we can start good and end good, we’ll have a really good shot.”
The Snowball Derby will take place on Wednesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. For more information regarding the event, visit Snowball Central presented by Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos