Dalton Armstrong will get a second chance at the 49th Annual Snowball Derby. With rain showers forcing the race to be postponed until Tuesday evening, 15th-place qualifier Clay Jones' team decided to withdraw from the event. That opened up a starting spot on the grid for Armstrong, who was the first car not to qualify for the prestigious Late Model race.
Armstrong and his Scott Neal Racing team had already packed up their No. 4 Super Late Model and made their way back to Indiana on Monday after failing to qualify for the race. While speaking with Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Monday afternoon, the team was busy "thrashing" around on the car before making the trip back to Pensacola, Florida.
"Right now we’re just trying to get it cleaned up and make some adjustments to it before we have to load up and get back on the road around five or six," Armstrong said. "We were thinking about staying until this morning. I wish we did because we got all the way up there and now we’ve got to turn back around."
When he received the notification from track officials that he had a spot in the 36-car field, Armstrong had a smile on his face for the first time since Friday afternoon.
"I feel like I just got a second chance," he said. "We’re going to make the most of it. We didn’t get any practice with this car, so now we can make some adjustments. We ran the Last Chance Race. I feel like we’re going to prove that we deserve to be in that race. I’m just really excited right now. I feel really blessed. Hopefully we can get everything done and get down there and get in that race."
The 22-year-old from New Castle, Indiana will start the 49th Annual Snowball Derby from the 35th starting position. He will have a long way to go, but is optimistic about his team's chances.
"We didn’t really have time to make very big swings at it," said Armstrong, who went to a backup car for Saturday's last chance qualifier. "I think now that we have some time to try to dissect it at the shop real fast before we load back up, I think that we can make the car better. I don’t feel like we were really that bad in that Last Chance Race. I also feel like I learned some things in that one that I feel like I can apply to tomorrow. I’m just glad we get to race instead of sitting home."
Race fans can watch the 49th Annual Snowball Derby Tuesday night at 5 p.m. CT. Click here to purchase a live video ticket today.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor & Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com