Looking through the box score from the 51st Annual Snowball Derby, we can’t help but think about which drivers may have something to prove at next year's Snowball Derby. Many of the same names that chased the Tom Dawson Trophy this year will take another run at the coveted trophy in 2019, hoping to place their name in the short track racing record books.
Here is a list of 10 drivers, in no particular order, that may be eager to prove something if they elect to competed in next year's 52nd Annual Snowball Derby.
Kason Plott - We expect to see more of Kason Plott in 2019 on the Super Late Model front. The younger brother to Kyle Plott wants nothing more then to return to the Derby and a start with his brother in the big race. The two Georgia drivers were the first brothers to enter the race since the Allisons ran the Derby in the 80’s. Kason didn’t make the show this year after a crash in the last chance race, so he'll be eager to return and prove something in 2019.
Derek Thorn - It’s almost a given that Derek Thorn will save up his chips and return to Pensacola to play the Snowball Derby lottery. His Campbell Motorsports team brought a Snowflake car this year as well, but Thorn will likely be looking for a stronger run at the Tom Dawson Trophy.
Harrison Burton - 2019 is going to be a big year for Burton as he makes the step up to compete full time on the NASCAR Truck Series circuit, but will he return to the Snowball Derby in December? Chances are good because he was six laps short of a victory this year and that will stick in the back of his mind all year. Perhaps he’ll be in a Kyle Busch Motorsports Super Late Model next year or be back with Wimmer Motorsports. Ether way, it’s a bet he’ll contend for the win again.
Stewart Friesen - Perhaps it was a one and done. Perhaps not. The simple fact is that Friesen is a racer and we know it’s burning him up that he didn’t get to run more laps in the race. If we see him in an asphalt Late Model at any point in 2019 then there is a good chance he'll head to Pensacola in December.
David Rogers - Rogers run towards the history books is not going to end this year. The Florida veteran will take some time off to heal up and plan for 2019. More seat time and not fighting an early season injury will help Rogers in his quest to get the record for most starts in the Snowball Derby.
Ty Majeski - How many times can you finish on the podium before you win the Snowball Derby? Well, Ty Majeski is up to three. If he had five more laps, he might already have his Tom Dawson trophy. Majeski told us on the Speed51 broadcast that he’ll be back in 2019, and if he’s a strong as he was in the middle stages then it could be over for everyone else.
Bubba Pollard - The loudest cheer on Sunday came for the driver of the No. 26 car out of Senoia, Georgia. Bubba Pollard is what Eddie Mercer was before that elusive Snowball Derby win in 2005. Bubba has won everything but the lottery and the Snowball Derby in Pensacola. He’ll keep coming back until he gets to hoist the Tom Dawson trophy.
Patrick Laperle - He told us every day that he was all over the place and it showed on the race track in practice. The Canadian driver appeared to find his groove in the last chance race and was close to a transfer spot when he tangled up with some other cars. Laperle shall return if we know him well enough.
Derek Griffith - Griffith has run a lot a races in a short amount of time. Now that he has a taste of the Derby, it's likely that the race will once again be in the cards for 2019. Griffith made the show on time on Friday to his surprise and finished the race 22nd on Sunday. The New Hampshire team will only will want to improve from here.
Augie Grill - Plans are likely in the works for Augie Grill to run more Super Late Model races in 2019 to prep for a Snowball Derby run. There is no quit in this man and he’s still very good in a Modified and a Pro Late Model, which shows he still has the drive. If Grill can get the kinks out he’ll be a contender again. The fact that he was on the sidelines for Sunday's race was an utter shock to us all.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com