During the Snowball Derby, many teams face adversity and challenges over the course of the event. This year, teams even faced the challenge of an extra day after the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club was pushed to Monday by rain.
Each year, Speed51 awards the Hal Goodson Award to a “Tough Guy” to acknowledge someone who overcomes adversity during the Snowball Derby. For the 2019 Snowball Derby, you don’t have to look any further than the race’s winner, Travis Braden.
Braden nearly missed out on the Snowball Derby altogether. Following a collision in practice on Friday, he and his Team Platinum crew rebuilt the majority of the right side of his car. The team was able to complete the repairs in time to answer the call for the all-important Country Pleasin’ Pole Night qualifying session, where Braden took the 30th and final spot to lock into the field and avoid Saturday’s Last Chance Qualifier.
Once in the show, Braden then had to methodically work his way from that 30th starting spot into contention for the win. Braden spent most of the race in the top 10, waiting for his chance to go for the win after making his way through the field.
However, that shot seemed over in the closing laps, after contact with Cole Butcher sent Braden spinning in turn two just before a green-white-checkered restart. Braden then dodged a massive accident on the ensuing restart, allowing him to restart fourth on the second green-white-checkered attempt.
On that restart, Braden cleared Jesse Dutilly for third, then passed Jake Garcia on the final lap to take second place. When Stephen Nasse failed post-race inspection, that last-lap pass proved to be a race-winning move.
As a result, the Hal Goodson Tough Guy Award recipient for 2019 is Travis Braden.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51Photo.com