It’s a tradition at Speed51 for our staff to submit its picks for the Snowball Derby ahead of the annual running of the event. For fans, it’s a glimpse at who we believe are some of the favorites in the crown jewel event. For us, it provides a little bit of bragging rights for those who had the correct pick come Sunday night.
Without any further adieu, here are the Speed51 Staff Picks for the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
Will Bellamy, Speed51 Contributor – Carson Hocevar: He’s been on a hot streak and won a lot of the big races this year. Hocevar is going to cap off his 2020 with a Tom Dawson trophy before he goes full time truck racing.
Evan Canfield, Speed51 Northeast Contributor – Derek Thorn: After winning last year’s Snowflake 100 and sitting on the pole for the Snowball Derby, Derek Thorn showed he is a forced to be reckoned with at Five Flags Speedway. After heartbreak at the All American 400 last month, he comes to Pensacola with something to prove. The Tom Dawson trophy will head back to the West Coast in the hands of Derek Thorn at the end of the weekend.
Alan Dietz, Speed51 Broadcaster – Chase Elliott: Chase has too much experience in long races for the field to overcome and pairing him with Ricky Turner will make them nearly impossible to beat.
Bob Dillner, Speed51 Founder – Bubba Pollard: Just got a feeling. Combining a winning driver with one of the top Super Late Model rides in the country and that could spell trouble for the competition. There’s a bunch of guys who can win this, but I say Bubba breaks his dry spell in the biggest race of the year.
Blaise Dillner, Speed51 Reporter – Ty Majeski: After earning a key Rattler 250 victory in the beginning of the 2020 racing season, Ty Majeski has continued to thrive as usual throughout the year. Majeski has had many strong runs in past Snowball Derby’s, especially in last year’s race, when he got collected in a wreck after running up front late in the race. All the noise heading into this event is about the NASCAR stars who are entered, but I think Majeski will finally find victory lane in the biggest super late model race of the year.
Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Ty Majeski: After taking him with the first pick in the Unfiltered Podcast Snowball Derby draft, I’d definitely hear about it if I didn’t take Majeski to win. In seriousness, though, he has been unstoppable in Late Model competition when his NASCAR Truck Series schedule has allowed. He’s also been on the verge of a Snowball Derby victory so many times, last year included. I believe this is the year he breaks through.
Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Casey Roderick: An established Super Late Model star returned to Snowball Derby victory lane last year after young guns and NASCAR regulars dominated in recent years, and I think that trend continues Sunday. Roderick has been strong since debuting his self-owned car and is coming off a huge All American 400 win. This is the year it all comes together and he leaves Pensacola with the Tom Dawson Trophy.
Patrick Hahe, Speed51 Technology Coordinator – Bubba Pollard: The driving talent of Bubba Pollard teamed up with a red-hot VanDoorn Development team seems like the perfect match made in heaven. The 71 car has been up front in every crown jewel this year, and with Pollard behind the wheel and Johnny VanDoorn in the pits, I think this may be the year Pollard breaks through and conquers the Snowball Derby.
Robbie Johnston, Speed51 Content Specialist – Chase Elliott: My first couple of years watching the Snowball Derby, I saw Chase Elliott dominate the event. He approaches the track differently than anyone else. Once he gets back in the Super Late Model, he will settle back into his winning ways.
Mark Keeler, Speed51 Operations Manager – Chase Elliott: Nobody has more momentum right now than Chase Elliott. He proved he can perform under pressure this year, winning three of the last five NASCAR Cup Series races to claim the championship. He also won the last time he competed in the Snowball Derby, in 2015.
Adam Mackey, Speed51 Broadcaster – Stephen Nasse: The Pinellas Park, Florida driver will find victory lane for a second year in-a-row and this year, it will stick. Nasse doesn’t like losing and last year’s end result has left him hungrier than ever.
Wesley Outland, Speed51 Broadcaster – Stephen Nasse: Nasse will be seeking redemption from the 2019 Snowball Derby.
Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Ty Majeski: When you look at the number of races Ty has won this year in only a limited amount of starts, it’s pretty impressive. He’s been snake bitten at the Snowball Derby in the past, but he’s due to have Lady Luck on his side.
Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Ty Majeski: This is not the first year I have picked Majeski to win, but I keep doing it because he’s always in the mix, and I’m confident it will happen sooner rather than later. I had a chance to talk with him a week ago, the confidence is all there, and he is determined to end his quest this year.
Tiffany Swisher, Speed51 National Contributor – Bubba Pollard: I believe that this is his year. He has a new car, crew, and David Rogers riding along with him. It is time for him to be added to the list of names on the Tom Dawson trophy.
Elgin Traylor, Speed51 “Stat Boy” – Derek Thorn: He’s no sleeper. People don’t understand what this team has put into their program to run well on the east coast. Thorn is one of the top drivers that never got the chance to move up. He’s won at Five Flags in the past. They will get the combination right this year and pull off the win. Some will call it an upset, but for those of us who know what they can do will not be shocked, or surprised.
Jim Tretow, Speed51 Broadcaster – Bubba Pollard: He has won everything at 5 Flags Speedway but the Derby. This is his 13th straight attempt, and he’s made the choice to team with the VanDoorn brothers, who have raised the bar in Super Late Model Racing in 2020 with their performance and success in big races. Bubba has not performed this season up to his expectations. His confidence with this new effort has been renewed. He’s also able to fall back on 2020 Blizzard Series champion’s provisional to get into the Derby, so the strain of qualifying well is not paramount.
-Text by Speed51 Staff