Cole Moore of Granite Bay, California is set to make the 2,400-mile trip to Pensacola, Florida next week for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL). Moore is coming off a stellar season in 2019, in which he won the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Title along with a $10,000 Pro Late Model race at All American Speedway (CA) earlier this month.
Moore joins fellow SRL Champions Derek Thorn and Jeremy Doss as west coast drivers entering the Snowball Derby. The trio have accounted for the last four championships in the series, creating an SRL invasion of sorts at Five Flags Speedway.
Moore will be teaming up with Nashville, Tennessee area standout Willie Allen and the W.A.R. Racing Development Team. The two competitors became acquainted with each other through Allen’s frequent trips to the west coast to help competitors in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series.
“I’ve been going out to the west coast for years helping teams,” Allen stated. “I saw Cole out there frequently. We have become friends and always wanted to work together on some level. He’s a great driver and has a great personality. We are excited to have him in the car.”
When looking for a driver to sit behind the wheel of one of his W.A.R. Racing Development Super Late Models, Allen knows what he is looking for. It is something he saw in the former motocross racer when evaluating his qualities.
“I’ve always liked his driving style,” Allen stated. “He has a drive to win in every car he gets in. He’s a very calculated and clean driver. I can’t wait for the Derby.”
Moore is also excited for the teaming. He has gotten to know the Bon Aqua, Tennessee driver as both a businessman and competitor. He knows that their will be pressure to perform in Allen’s equipment, as Allen can build great cars, as well as drive them.
“Willie Allen is an all-around stock car bad—,” Moore exclaimed. “The guy knows how to build bad—shocks, bad— race cars and then he can get in them and drive them like a bad—.”
This will be Moore’s second attempt at racing in “The Derby.” His first attempt was in 2016 at the end of only his second season of oval track racing. He was involved in an incident in the last chance race and didn’t make the field. It was a tough field to make, with drivers such as Preston Peltier, Todd Gilliland, Tyler Ankrum, Spencer Gallagher and Jacob Gomes missing the cut. Despite the setback, Moore remembers the experience with fondness. He remembers the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event, and he feels the results will be far different than his first opportunity.
“My first time at the Derby was actually an amazing experience everywhere but on the track,” Moore recalled. “I absolutely loved the vibe in the Northern Florida area, and the event itself was something I couldn’t put into words. Everything about the whole week was a big deal, even drawing for qualifying order. I loved the intensity of having all the best drivers throughout the country in one spot, ready to throw down. With that being said, I showed up ready to compete but I lacked the experience at that point in my career to help my get team get the equipment to a point where it would have been competitive. This year I guarantee it will be much different.”
Moore will be coming off his first Super Late Model Championship. As the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Champion, he was able to bring a title home without visiting Victory Lane, but through consistency and top-five finishes. Racing against the talent in the series and coming out on top in the end has given Moore the confidence he needs to put forth a winning effort.
“Winning the championship has absolutely been a confidence booster,” Moore explained. The title itself, coming into the Derby essentially being the top West Coast Super Late Model contender, except for maybe Derek Thorn, makes me feel like I am someone to watch out for. Someone that should be absolutely be on everyone’s radar. Combining myself and my program with W.A.R. and everything they have to offer is going to be in undoubtably competitive scenario.”
Allen feels the SRL Championship also shows the talent that Moore possess. It shows that Moore has what it takes to succeed in a talented pool of racers and the dependability it takes to finish races.
“I think it shows the caliber driver he is, to have the consistency all year, to go out and win races and get a championship,” Allen suggested. “The competition level (in the SRL) is crazy out there right now. They are breaking car count records this year in the SRL Tour, and we can’t wait to see what he can do in Pensacola.”
The SPEARS Southwest Tour will be well represented in the Snowball Derby this year. Three former champions will be present, representing the last four championships in the series. Derek Thorn (2016, 2017), Jeremy Doss (2018) and Moore (2019) will all attempt to bring home the Tom Dawson Trophy to the state of California. While Moore is happy to have Thorn and Doss in the field, he sees them as fellow competitors that he will need to beat.
“I think having the past four SRL Championships represented at the race is going to be great,” Moore exclaimed. “I’m super excited to have friendly faces all the way out there and to do some bench racing with those guys. With that being said, it won’t be any help having them there. To me, once the business starts, it’s simply two other fellas to beat.”
To make the long trip to Pensacola, Moore will need help from friends, family and sponsors. It will take a large commitment from those surrounding Moore, and he is grateful for that support.
“I would like to thank my parents, JM Environmental, JM Racing, Mario Isola, WileyX, Fury, W.A.R., the SRL and all my crew guys for working their a– off for me all year. And thank you again Willie Allen for the opportunity!”
So, what are the 23-year-old’s expectation for his second Derby appearance? His reply is not a surprising one for a young gun coming off a Super Late Model Championship in one of the most competitive series in the country.
“I am an extremely competitive individual, so my mind is on one thing only, and that is winning the race,” Moore proclaimed. “The way I see it is this; why else even go, unless you plan on kicking everyone’s a–! I’m sure Willie feels the same way.”
Race fans looking to make the pilgrimage to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
For fans unable to make the trip, they can tune in to Speed51’s pay-per-view broadcast of the event. Now is the perfect time to order your video ticket and take advantage of a Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale.
With the purchase of a four-day video ticket, new subscribers to the Speed51 Network will receive three free months of premium access, a $30 value. To take advantage of this Black Friday sale, click here.
Individual video tickets for the Snowball Derby can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Kevin Peters, SRL Correspondent
-Photo credit: Sal Sigala, Jr.