Cole Rouse

Photo: Scott Hunter/NASCAR

What a finish! Check out how the K&N Pro Series East opener ended (Video)

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Todd Gilliland passed Harrison Burton on the final lap to win the NASCAR K&N Pro  Series East opener Sunday night at New Smyrna Speedway.

The 17-year-olds dueled the final two laps with Burton taking the lead before taking the white flag. Gilliland applied pressure and got back by him to win. Cole Rouse nipped Burton for second. The New Smyrna 175 will air at 6 p.m. ET on Feb. 27 on NBCSN.

Gilliland will compete for rookie of the year honors in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports this season. Burton will be at teammate at KBM and is scheduled to run nine Truck races this season.

Watch the final two laps of Sunday night’s race:

NASCAR Next’s Hailie Deegan to race in K&N West for Bill McAnally Racing

Bill McAnally Racing
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Hailie Deegan, the only female member of the current NASCAR Next class and daughter of X-Games athlete Brian Deegan, will compete in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West this season for Bill McAnally Racing, the team announced Wednesday.

Deegan, 16, earned the ride after taking part in a series of test sessions with the team and Toyota late in 2017.

Deegan will drive the No. 19 Mobil 1 / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota and joins teammates Cole Rouse and the returning Derek Kraus.

Todd Gilliland, who won the last two K&N West titles for the team, will compete in the Camping World Truck Series.

Deegan is the only announced female driver for the series this year after two, Julia Landauer and Nicole Behar, competed in it last year. They finished the season seventh and eighth.

The native of Temecula, California, also will race in select K&N East events.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm really excited,‚ÄĚ Deegan said in a press release. ‚ÄúThis is the best team and equipment in the series. BMR has been great to work with. I look forward to racing at a high level on the East and West Coasts with the top team. We are ready to put in the work to continue being a serious competitor.

‚ÄúIt will be exciting to be part of the K&N Series. It‚Äôs been a great building ground for a lot of successful NASCAR drivers. It‚Äôs a big step.‚ÄĚ

On her Twitter profile, Deegan declares, “I want to follow in the footsteps of my Dad.”

Brian Deegan has won the most Freestyle Motocross medals in X Games history with 10. He has multiple championships in the Lucas Oil Pro 2 and Lucas Oil Pro Lite series.

Hailie Deegan began off-road racing when she was 8 and became the first female to win a race and a championship in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.

In 2015, she was the Modified Kart Regional Champion and the next year was the Modified Kart National Champion as well as the Driver of the Year. In 2017, she was the first female in the Pro Lite division of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series to have multiple podiums in her rookie year.

Deegan took part in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity combine in 2016 and won the 2017 NASCAR Diversity Young Racer award.

She will seek to become the first woman to win a K&N title and a major NASCAR championship. If she does, it would give Bill McAnally Racing its fourth consecutive K&N West title and ninth overall.

“She‚Äôs a very talented driver, who brings with her a lot of energy and excitement,”¬†McAnally said in a press release.¬†‚ÄúWe look forward to being a big part of Hailie‚Äôs development as she takes this next step in her racing career. We anticipate great things ahead for everybody, including our partners and fans.‚ÄĚ

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PREVIEW: Kyle Busch to start 15th in Sunday’s 50th Snowball Derby

Photo courtesy VisitPensacola.com
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The golden anniversary of one of the most popular short track races in all levels of stock car racing takes place in Sunday’s Snowball Derby.

The 50th running of the Super Late Model classic takes the green flag at 3 p.m. ET at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The race will be televised on pay-per-view on Speed51.com.

Only 37 of the 67 cars that submitted entries will take part in Sunday’s 300-lap main event around the high-banked paved half-mile.

Qualifying took place Friday, with the top 30 drivers locked into Sunday‚Äôs show (see full qualifying list below). Three other drivers will receive a provisional position start, while four additional drivers will have one final try to qualify for Sunday‚Äôs field in Saturday night‚Äôs 50-lap ‚Äúlast chance‚ÄĚ race.

Among notables in Sunday’s race are 2015 NASCAR Cup champ Kyle Busch, along with a number of young NASCAR drivers including Noah Gragson, Mason Mingus, Ty Majeski, Brandon McReynolds, Harrison Burton and Corey LaJoie.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series former champion Johnny Sauter was originally entered into the Snowball Derby before a hard wreck during practice Thursday forced the Wisconsin native to withdraw his entry.

Preston Peltier will start from the pole, while defending Derby winner Christian Eckes failed to qualify on a tiebreaker Friday, but will race Sunday because of a past champion’s provisional.

Kyle Busch was not happy with his 15th place qualifying effort, particularly since he and his team had a strong two-day practice at 5 Flags right after the NASCAR Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Obviously 15th isn’t where we wanted to qualify, but Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and all the guys made our Toyota, Phoenix Construction Camry a lot better for final practice,” said Busch, who was sixth-fastest in Saturday’s final practice session.

“We made some 20-lap runs and we feel like we have good long-run speed, but we’re probably still lacking a little bit of speed firing off compared to the guys that qualified up front.”

Busch has one Snowball Derby win to date, in 2009.

Several well-known former NASCAR drivers are past Derby winners, including the late Pete Hamilton (1974), Donnie Allison (1975) and Darrell Waltrip (1976), Ted Musgrave (1988) and Rick Crawford (1989).

NASCAR has really taken a hold of victory lane at the Derby in recent years. Starting with the younger Busch brother’s win in 2009 and Johanna Long’s triumph in 2010, NASCAR drivers have captured the Derby in virtually every year since, including two-time winners Chase Elliott (2011 and 2015) and Erik Jones (2012 and 2013), and John Hunter Nemechek (2014).

Snowball Derby winners

  • 1968 Wayne Niedecken
  • 1969¬†Friday Hassler
  • 1970 Wayne Niedecken, Sr.
  • 1971¬†Dickie Davis
  • 1972¬†Ed Howe
  • 1973 Dickie Davis
  • 1974¬†Pete Hamilton
  • 1975¬†Donnie Allison
  • 1976¬†Darrell Waltrip
  • 1977 Ronnie Sanders
  • 1978¬†Dave Mader III
  • 1979¬†Freddy Fryar
  • 1980¬†Gary Balough
  • 1981 Freddy Fryar
  • 1982¬†Gene Morgan
  • 1983¬†Mickey Gibbs
  • 1984¬†Butch Lindley
  • 1985¬†Jody Ridley
  • 1986¬†Gary Balough
  • 1987¬†Butch Miller
  • 1988¬†Ted Musgrave
  • 1989¬†Rick Crawford
  • 1990¬†Rich Bickle
  • 1991 Rich Bickle
  • 1992¬†Gary St. Amant
  • 1993¬†Bobby Gill
  • 1994¬†Tammy Jo Kirk¬†(first female Snowball Derby winner)
  • 1995¬†Jeff Purvis
  • 1996 Rich Bickle
  • 1997 Bobby Gill
  • 1998 Rich Bickle
  • 1999 Rich Bickle
  • 2000 Gary St. Amant
  • 2001¬†Wayne Anderson
  • 2002¬†Ricky Turner
  • 2003¬†Charlie Bradberry
  • 2004¬†Steve Wallace
  • 2005¬†Eddie Mercer
  • 2006¬†Clay Rogers
  • 2007¬†Augie Grill
  • 2008 Augie Grill
  • 2009¬†Kyle Busch
  • 2010¬†Johanna Long
  • 2011¬†Chase Elliott¬†(At 15, youngest winner in Snowball Derby history)
  • 2012¬†Erik Jones
  • 2013 Erik Jones
  • 2014¬†John Hunter Nemechek
  • 2015¬†Chase Elliott
  • 2016 Christian Eckes

Here’s how Friday’s qualifying played out. Just the first 30 drivers are locked in. Three others, including defending champ Christian Eckes, are locked in with provisional spots, leaving four remaining positions to be filled in Saturday night’s last chance event.

1             48          Preston Peltier 16.319
2             26          Bubba Pollard   16.344
3             112        Augie Grill           16.419
4             5M        Mason Mingus 16.437
5             75          Jeremy Doss      16.441
6             81          Chase Purdy      16.460
7             14D       Chris Davidson 16.461
8             91          Ty Majeski         16.475
9             53B        Cole Butcher     16.480
10          55D       Spencer Davis   16.514
11          9C          Jeff Choquette 16.514
12          18          Casey Roderick 16.520
13          14C        Connor Okrzesik 16.521
14          36          Dan Fredrickson  16.521
15          51          Kyle Busch          16.530
16          4             Kyle Plott            16.530
17          26S        Chandler Smith 16.544
18          99L        Raphael Lessard  16.552
19          11B        Logan Boyett    16.553
20          18G       Noah Gragson  16.571
21          20          Brandon McReynolds  16.573
22          12          Harrison Burton 16.576
23          46          Cole Rouse        16.582
24          00          Anthony Cataldi 16.609
25          53J         Boris Jurkovic    16.621
26          07          Corey LaJoie      16.624
27          19          Kason Plott        16.649
28          01          Jake Crum          16.653
29          13          Cassius Clark      16.658
30          51N       Stephen Nasse 16.660
31          2W        Donnie Wilson  16.660
32          15          Christian Eckes 16.660
33          9K          Derek Kraus       16.664
34          55          Brandon Oakley 16.705
35          32D       Tyler Dippel       16.705
36          8F          Tate Fogleman 16.734
37          88          Garrett Jones    16.743
38          33          Dustin Smith     16.744
39          7             John DeAngelis Jr  16.749
40          11R        David Rogers     16.769
41          79          Kyle Bryant        16.778
42          89          Jeremy Pate      16.782
43          22          Donald Crocker 16.786
44          79A       Joe Aramendia 16.815
45          16          Steven Davis     16.843
46          45          Rich Bickle Jr     16.847
47          5             Jerry Artuso       16.855
48          58C        John Coffman   16.882
49          43          Dennis Schoenfield  16.897
50          4R          Ben Rowe           16.947
51          64          Garrett Evans    16.967
52          32          Stuart Dutton   17.137
53          58F        Jeff Firestine     18.159