At-track festivities for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby kicked off on Wednesday with the ceremonial hauler parking and technical inspection for the roughly 100 teams who made the trip to Five Flags Speedway. Throughout the day, two new drivers were added to the entry list and a few small tweaks were needed for teams passing through the tech area.
Those two drivers added to the entry list are former champions of touring Late Model series; 2014 Southern Super Series champion Casey Smith and 2011 ARCA/CRA Super Series champion Derrick Griffin.
Teams made opening passes through technical inspection under the eye of Chief Technical Inspector Ricky Brooks. Tech proved to be uneventful throughout the day, with most teams needing just minor tweaks and fixes to comply with the event rules.
Two-time JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour champion Jack Dossey III took a new car recently purchased from Terry Senneker south for his second attempt in the Snowball Derby. It went smoother than expected for the team, who can now focus their efforts on Friday night’s qualifying session.
“It wasn’t too bad, we had to change a few little things,” Dossey told Speed51.com. “It’s a new car, we kind of expected to change different things on templates and weight, but it wasn’t so bad. It was a lot better than last year.
“Now that we’ve passed tech, that’s one of the hard parts out,” he added. “We still got a really big feat ahead, to go make the race. Try to make it in on time and that’s what we’re going to focus on tomorrow. It’s pretty exciting, I’m ready to get after it.”
Former Southern Super Series champion Donnie Wilson stepped away from the wheel to focus as car owner for three drivers this weekend. He was satisfied with how the day went after all three cars passed through tech on their first tries.
“Tech went good, all three cars passed the first time through,” Wilson said. “I was pretty surprised, there’s always usually something little that you don’t think about, but it went really smooth today. We’re ready for tomorrow.”
Wednesday was the first taste of the Snowball Derby experience for NASCAR Truck Series racer Jordan Anderson. Like several other drivers, Anderson and the Bobby and Roger Reuse-led team had to make more than one trip through tech. However, he thinks the changes that had to be made will actually help their car once it hits the track.
“We had to work on the body a little bit, the right rear fender was out a little too much. We had to bring it in a little bit, work on the side skirts a little bit,” Anderson stated. “I forgot working with that whole template system, it’s been a while since I’ve worked with that. Everything was smooth, the weight was good. I think the things we had to work on will make the car a little better as far as the aero standpoint from the right side, so we were actually a little too conservative.”
Normally driving for himself in the Truck Series, the Snowball Derby gives Anderson an opportunity to drive for someone else. Having drove Super Late Models before making the move to NASCAR, it will be his first race in a Super in several years.
“This is different, I show up and run my own trucks every week so it’s nice to drive somebody else’s vehicle,” he said. “It’s my first time in a Super in five years but it was like riding a bike when we came down here and tested. These guys that run these Supers every week are on their game every time they show up down here, and I’m the guy that comes here and doesn’t do this every week, so hopefully we’ll be on our game as well.”
Wisconsin driver Rich Bickle has visited victory lane in the Snowball Derby on five separate occasions, three more than anyone else. With how building the new car had progressed, he was overall satisfied with how the day went.
“It went fairly well, just a couple little things but we were thrashing on some other stuff just trying to finish the car up,” Bickle said. “The tail thing, we didn’t know that rule and ours was right, so other were doing a lot of work getting their stuff moved over. In general, it went pretty good.”
With tech out of the way, there is still work to do if Bickle is to take the green flag on Sunday.
“We did a little testing Saturday and we actually didn’t have the car even close to being done yet,” he added. “It grounded really hard on the track and we weren’t very good but we had old tires from two years ago on. We found a bunch of things we thought were wrong with the car after a few laps. It’s a new design deal so it’s one of those situations where either it’s going to be really good or it’s going to be a little bit of work.”
Race fans unable to make the trip to Five Flags Speedway for the Snowball Derby can watch live on Speed51. Click here to order four-day or single ticket video tickets now.
For more information on the Snowball Derby, visit Snowball Central by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com