PENSACOLA, Florida (December 3, 2019) — We’re just a day away from team haulers officially pulling onto the grounds at Five Flags Speedway but we thought now is as good of a time as any to pontificate on who we believe is going to be leaving Pensacola on Sunday night with the next Tom Dawson Trophy.
The staff here at PixelatedSPEED took a hard look through the field of potential candidates, and after intense debate, have come to the following conclusions on who will win the 52nd Snowball Derby.
Daniel Vining, Editor-in-Chief: 22 – CASEY RODERICK
After blazing a trail of checkered flags across the Deep South over the past few seasons with Ronnie Sanders Racing, Casey Roderick made the move over to Donnie Wilson Racing in the summer of 2019. The 2018 Southern Super Series Champion didn’t miss a beat with the switch, continuing on to defend his title, becoming the 2019 Southern Super Series Champion.
With all the victories Roderick has amassed over the last few years, all would pail in comparison to claiming the checkered flag in Pensacola this December. It’s a feat that Roderick has contended for multiple times, knocking on the door but coming up shy in every attempt thus far.
That could change in this year’s edition of the “Most Prestigious Race in Short Track Racing” has Roderick enters this Derby with an all or nothing attitude.
Casey Roderick ruffled a lot of feathers at this year’s All American 400 at Nashville. He led the majority of the event, and looked to have the win all but locked up. That is, until he ran out of gas late, while leading, and had to come to pit road for fuel.
Returning the race multiple laps down, Roderick continued to fight, racing anyone in his reach, much to the shagrin of Rowdy Manufacturing allies Chandler Smith and Boris Jurkovic. Roderick raced the leaders as if he was still in contention, and in doing so, allowed Mason Mingus the opportunity at what many have deemed a surprise victory.
While the overall situation in Nashville may seem to be a bad look from most folks eyes, I see it as a layer of tenacity and selfishness that are both key ingredients to mounting a potent Derby run.
Throwing caution to the wind, and having an all or nothing attitude may just prove to be the extra something Casey Roderick needs to break through and capture the win in the Snowball Derby.
Ben Kilcrease, Correspondent: 81 – GIOVANNI BROMANTE
As one scans over the entry list for the 52nd Snowball Derby, it’s hard to pick just one driver that you think has the best shot at taking home the Tom Dawson trophy.
This is no normal Saturday night 100 lap feature with the local guys going fender to fender. Instead, this is the top drivers in the world testing for months in advance and going through days of practice, an intense qualifying night, and possibly an LCQ. Oh, and then there’s the 300 lap main event on Sunday that you have to survive as well and it in it’s own can seem like an eternity.
With all that being said, one pick is tough. Your pick is going to have to have a perfect weekend, better yet, a dream weekend.
It’s hard to overlook the Five Flags Speedway Blizzard Series Champion Giovanni Bromante. It’s hard to believe that this will be Bromante’s debut in the Derby, but I need to remind you about his debut in a Super Late Model, which was also his debut in another prestigious event; The Rattler 250. Bromante raced to victory lane back in March at South Alabama Speedway’s headlining show. He then ventured to Pensacola a couple weeks later for the Blizzard Series opener, his debut in a super late model at the track, and picked up the victory.
Bromante has a wave of momentum crashing into the Pensacola shore this December, and I think his streak of debut victories aren’t over yet. There you have it, from 58 potentials down to just one. But don’t worry, I’ve still got a handful of talent I’ll be keeping my eye on as Derby week progresses.
Eddie Richie, Contributing Photographer: 26 – BUBBA POLLARD
Bubba Pollard has achieved a level of stardom within the sport that is normally only seen once a driver reaches the top tiers of NASCAR. Throughout his many accomplishments, including winning the Oxford 250, big money races from California to Canada, and filling in for the legendary David Rogers in New Smyrna, there is still one race that has continued to elude the driver known as “Redneck Jesus”
Winning just about everything there is to win at Five Flags Speedway, the Senoia, Georgia native could legitimately called Pensacola his hometrack.
Still, that elusive victory in the Snowball Derby has seemingly been just out of his grasp year after year.
Going into his 14th attempt at the Tom Dawson trophy, many think Bubba Pollard is due… overdue, for this monumental victory.
Much like the late, great, Dale Earnhardt Sr. taking 20 years to score his Daytona 500 victory, fans of Pollard await to see the number 26 break through and add his name to the list of those that have conquered the famed half-mile in December.
It’s time. This is his year. This is THE year. The year that Bubba Pollard wins the prestigious Snowball Derby.
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
– Ben Kilcrease, Twitter: @TheBenKilcrease
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