Kilcrease: I’m Shocked and Here’s Why

Had you looked me in the face Thursday morning and said a handful of the names that didn’t time in last night wouldn’t do so, I would’ve laughed and asked how much late model racing you’ve watched. But with only 30 drivers clocking in on time, there was a chance that if a big name made a mistake in his qualifying run he may not lock himself in.

This afternoon those big names will fight for a spot in the starting lineup for the 52nd Snowball Derby.

A former Berlin Raceway track champion, a former Southern Super Series champion, a former Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville track champion, a three-time ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion; All decorated short track racers that sound as if they should line the first few rows of Sunday’s 300 lap bout.

But that’s not the case. Carson Hocevar, Casey Smith, Michael House, and Johnny VanDoorn will make up the first two rows of the Last Chance Race today.

But that’s not all.

They’ll be joined by a decorated young gun Trey Bayne, U.S. Short Track Nationals champion Stephen Nasse, ARCA Midwest Tour champion times two Dan Fredrickson, and by last year’s Derby pole winner and NASCAR Truck Star Harrison Burton. Those four all stars will make up positions 5-8.

I’m not through yet.

The next two rows feature the defending All American 400 champion Mason Mingus, NASCAR Peak Mexico Series star Rodrigo Rejon, decorated Florida young gun Jett Nolan, and Pensacola native Kyle Bryant.

But wait, there’s more.

Florida late model legend David Rodgers failed to time in as well. Five time champion Rich Bickle suffered the same fate alongside NASCAR truck regular Jordan Anderson.

Unofficially it looks as if Stephen Nasse and Lucas Jones will each take a provisional into Sunday and forfeit their starting spots in the LCR today. We’ll confirm this as soon as possible.

All eyes will be on the Snowball Derby Last Chance Race this afternoon. Only four, yes four, of the super stars I listed above will advance through to Sunday’s prestigious event. All the leftovers will pack up and watch the race as a spectator.

For a substantial portion of the drivers in the LCR, this race is one they’ve worked all year to get to. This is their Daytona 500 and it could be, for some, a once in a lifetime opportunity to put their name on the map.

I was certainly not expecting to see this amount of talent in the LCR, but as I rethink that, this is the Snowball Derby, there’s only so much room in the field. I’m shocked to see a couple of the names we do and excited to witness what could be the most competitive LCR in Derby history.

Follow along with PixelatedSPEED all day using #PixelatedSPEED so you can stay up to date with this very busy Saturday at ‘America’s Favorite Home Track.’

Snowball Derby Last Chance Starting Lineup (Pos, #, Driver, Qual time)
1 14H Carson Hocevar 16.619
2 99 Casey Smith 16.624
3 1 Michael House 16.640
4 71 Johnny VanDoorn 16.642
5 21B Trey Bayne 16.659
6 51N Stephen Nasse 16.672
7 36 Dan Fredrickson 16.679
8 12B Harrison Burton 16.682
9 5M Mason Mingus 16.689
10 15 Rodrigo Rejon 16.699
11 50 Jett Noland 16.701
12 79B Kyle Bryant 16.710
13 16 Lucas Jones 16.722
14 11 David Rogers 16.725
15 9M Brad May 16.725
16 14N Austin Nason 16.748
17 20D Jack Dossey III 16.751
18 45 Rich Bickle 16.753
19 14D Chris Davidson 16.772
20 53J Boris Jurkovic 16.808
21 88 Jordan Anderson 16.809
22 97 Steven Davis 16.835
23 5A Jerry Artuso 16.841
24 8 Colten Nelson 16.856
25 90 Tim Curry 16.934
26 37 AJ Wernette 17.904

– Ben Kilcrease, Twitter: @TheBenKilcrease

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PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been going "Beyond the Headline" since 2018”.