Picking the winners of big short track races throughout the country is a tradition that our staff at Speed51.com has enjoyed for many years. With the biggest Super Late Model race of the year being held Sunday at Five Flags Speedway (FL), we decided to challenge our staff once again.


This week we asked members of our Speed51.com team, “Who are you picking to win the 51st Annual Snowball Derby?”


The answers we received varied, but when all the votes were tallied it was Bubba Pollard (eight votes) who was named the favorite to win the big race.  Overall, eight different drivers received votes from our panel of 23 experts.


Check out our full list of staff picks for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby below.


Adam Mackey, Speed51.com Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

So many great racers are entered and that makes picking the winner for Sunday nearly impossible. That said, I think it’s Chandler Smith’s time to continue to impress. He won Speedfest, was strong in ARCA, and was the best at Winchester but came up just short. Smith won’t come up short this Sunday.


Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Florida State Editor

Pick: Harrison Burton

What better story than a NASCAR prodigy getting a breakout win just before he goes full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series? Burton has proved all year long that he has the talent to win at any track. This weekend he takes home the biggest trophy of all at Five Flags Speedway.


Blaise Dillner, Speed51.com Correspondent

Pick: Jeff Choquette

He’s riding a hot streak into the Derby and will come out on top Sunday afternoon.


Bob Dillner, Speed51.com Executive Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Because I’m not a hater.


Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor

Pick: Raphael Lessard

It’s never a bad bet going with the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 at the Snowball Derby. Lessard was fast earlier this year during the final Blizzard Series race and I expect him to once again have plenty of speed when the green flag is displayed on Sunday.


Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Enough is enough! This is going to be the year that Bubba Pollard finally gets the Tom Dawson Trophy. His record this year and stats for everything else in his history at Five Flags is nothing short of impeccable. It’s going happen, this will be the Sunday it finally does.


Dakota Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Pollard’s done just about everything in 2018. He won more Blizzard Series races than everyone else. He won the Oxford 250 in his first attempt. He even won in Canada. Pollard will cap off 2018 by winning the elusive Snowball Derby and cementing himself as one of the greatest short track racers ever.


Daryl Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Chandler Smith

Smith has had a spectacular 2018 and nearly won the Winchester 400. Many young stars have really made their name at the Snowball Derby and this time it will be Chandler Smith adding his name to that beautiful Tom Dawson Trophy.


Duane Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Bubba Pollard

After coming so close last year, Bubba Pollard seals the deal to claim his first Tom Dawson trophy and sweeps the weekend. As magical of a year Pollard had in 2018, it’s difficult to bet against him.


Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

SLEEPER? Not at all. Smith has run well, logged laps all season long and has been as close as anything to Bubba Pollard this year in the Super Late Models at Five Flags. Smith will be there after 300 laps and will stand at the top of the podium.


Evan Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Chandler Smith

Every time Chandler Smith has hit the race track in 2018, he has been a contender to win. He has come so close to winning some of the biggest races in Super Late Model competition and he is always strong at Five Flags Speedway. Smith will be kissing the Tom Dawson Trophy Sunday evening.


Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor

Pick: Harrison Burton

Harrison has always been strong at Pensacola. He has a new Fury Race Car that has shown a lot of speed in its few times on the track. He won the Rattler last year and now it’s time to check another big one off his list. His added experience with live pit stops can also be an advantage.


Jeff Fischer, Speed51.com Cameraman

Pick: Bubba Pollard

This is the year Pollard get it done.


Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com Northwest Editor

Pick: Jeremy Doss

I have to give some west coast love for my region of the country. With some amazing talent in this field from the west like Jeremy Doss, Preston Peltier, Derek Thorn, Jan Evans and Blaine Perkins it’s tough to choose just one. Doss has a lot of momentum after winning two big races at the end of the year in Las Vegas and will take the Tom Dawson Trophy home during his 2,500-mile journey.


Kendra Adams, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Raphael Lessard

I’m picking Raphael Lessard because he’s been so strong and always seems to be in the top five in the big races he’s competed in this year. KBM is a strong team and they should have what it takes to take Lessard to victory lane.


Kevin Peters, Speed51.com Southwest Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

With potential winners coming from all across the country, the Snowball Derby is probably the most difficult race of the year to pick. But the one driver who I feel will finally breakthrough and get the monkey off his back is Bubba Pollard. He has dominated everything at Five Flags Speedway but has never taken home the Tom Dawson Trophy. That streak will end this weekend.


Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Stewart Friesen

I’ve been banking on Friesen getting an asphalt win all season, whether it be in the Truck Series or when he jumps behind the wheel of the Super Late Model. I’m sticking with him going into the 51st Snowball Derby weekend. Friesen will get his first Super Late Model win at one of the most prestigious races in the short track world.


Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Operations Manager

Pick: Chandler Smith

Chandler has continued to mature as a driver with every lap he turned in 2018 after starting off the year with a win at SpeedFest. After overcoming adversity early in the Winchester 400, he had the car to beat in the final laps of that event and although he didn’t win, he proved that he was more than deserving of it.


And consider this, Crew Chief and Derby winner himself Ricky Turner led Chase Elliott to the Tom Dawson Trophy in his third start. Sunday will be Chandler’s third Derby.


Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com Great Lakes Editor

Pick: Tyler Ankrum

He’s been fast all year with a limited Super Late Model schedule and took home the Glass City 200. While many look to Bubba Pollard due to his dominance in 2018, I think 2018 will be the year for a surprise/under the radar winner.


Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

This is the year for Pollard. This is the year that sees him finally get that coveted Snowball Derby victory. He’s too good at Five Flags for this losing streak to continue in this race.


Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

Derby victory lane has been a young person’s hangout over the last decade, and I expect it to continue Sunday. Chandler Smith will put a bow on his spectacular 2018 season with a high five from Ricky Turner, hug from Snowball and a kiss with the Tom Dawson Trophy.


Tom Ryan, Speed51.com Digital Manager

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Bubba will not only finally win the Snowball Derby, but he will do something that has never been done by sweeping the Snowflake and the Derby in one weekend.


Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor

Pick: Jeff Choquette

As he said at our Snowball Derby Kickoff Show at Beef O’Brady’s, now is the right time of the year to be on a hot streak. Choquette and his Jett Concrete team are riding high following wins in the Winchester 400 and the Florida Governor’s Cup, and I believe that streak will carry into the Snowball Derby.


-Text by Speed51.com Staff

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

Speed51.com Picks: Who Will Win the Snowball Derby?