Multiple NASCAR drivers competing in Sunday’s Snowball Derby

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On Sunday, Pensacola, Fla., hosts the 48th annual Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway.

The tentative 67-driver field will be vying for the $20,000 prize to the winner.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek will return to defend last year’s Snowball Derby championship in his No. 8 McDonald’s Chevrolet for NEMCO Motorsports.

Since the first edition of the Derby in 1968, there have only been eight repeat winners of the 300-lap event.

“I would not say there’s any extra pressure,” Nemechek said in a media release. “In coming back this week to the Five Flags Speedway, I feel like winning the first Snowball Derby is harder than anything else. The way I look at it, I’m hoping the wins come easier because I know all the little things you have to do to win these races.

“I feel like we have a lot of confidence and momentum coming back to the Five Flags Speedway. Our NEMCO Motorsports Late Model program has always had good cars here, so hopefully that’s a tradition we get to continue this weekend.”

Nemechek, who recently won the 2015 Most Popular Driver in NASCAR’s Truck Series, will also look to take the checkered flag in Saturday night’s Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. Nemechek has a score to settle in that race, as he finished second in both 2013 and 2014.

Among other NASCAR and ARCA notables entered in Sunday’s main event are: Johanna Long, Harrison Burton (son of Jeff Burton), Grant Enfinger, Christopher Bell, Dalton Sargeant, Mason Mingus, Chase Elliott, Rico Abreu, Ross Kenseth, Corey LaJoie and Daniel Hemric.

The Snowball Derby will be broadcast live on Speed51.com on Sunday, beginning with the pre-race show at 1 pm ET. In addition, the Snowflake 100 will be televised live on Speed51.com Saturday at 8:30 pm ET.

Here’s the complete driver lineup for Sunday’s Snowball Derby (courtesy Race22.com):

  • Corey Roper; Baytown, TX
  • Corey LaJoie; Concord, NC
  • Garrett Jones; Mooresville, NC
  • Tim Martin; Amite, LA
  • David Rogers; Orlando, FL
  • Johanna Long; Mooresville, NC
  • Logan Boyett; Pensacola, FL
  • Augie Grill; Hayden, AL
  • Harrison Burton; Huntersville, NC
  • Spencer Davis; Dawsonville, GA
  • Cassius Clark; Farmington, ME
  • Christian Eckes; Middleton, NY
  • Quin Houff; Sidney, VA
  • Hunter Robbins; Mooresville, NC
  • DJ VanderLey; Mobile, AL
  • Donnie Wilson; Oklahoma City, OK
  • Cole Rouse; Fort Smith, AR
  • Josh Bragg; Mobile, AL
  • Bubba Pollard; Senoia, GA
  • Anderson Bowen; Suwanee, GA
  • Caleb Adrian; Walcott, IA
  • Kaz Grala; Westbrough, MA
  • Jesse Dutilly; Bradenton, FL
  • Kyle Grissom; Concord, NC
  • Dustin Smith; Mobile, AL
  • Kyle Plott; Marietta, GA
  • Chad Finley; Laingsburg, MI
  • Dennis Prunty; Knowles, WI
  • Dennis Schoenfeld; Van Buren, AR
  • Derek Thorn; Bakersfield, CA
  • Allen Karnes; Sharpsburg, GA
  • Brian Campbell; Wyoming, MI
  • Chris Fontaine; Lakeland, FL
  • Preston Peltier; Concord, NC
  • Daniel Hemric; Kannapolis, NC
  • Dominique Van Wieringen; Amhertsburg, Ontario
  • Jerry Artuso; Sault St. Marie, ONT
  • Brandon Oakley; Beavercreek, OH
  • Christopher Bell; Norman, OK
  • Michael Atwell; Naples, FL
  • Stephen Nasse; Pinellas Park, FL
  • Boris Jurkovic; Manhattan, IL
  • Cole Timm; Mooresville, NC
  • Dalton Sargeant; Boca Raton, FL
  • Casey Roderick; Lawrenceville, GA
  • Clay Jones; Goldsboro, NC
  • John DeAngelis; Hubertus, WI
  • Paul Shafer, Jr.; Portage, IN
  • Jeremy Doss; Upper Lake, CA
  • Zane Smith; Huntington Beach, CA
  • Kyle Bryant; Navarre, FL
  • John Hunter Nemechek; Mooresville, NC
  • DJ Hoelzle; Palm Harbor, FL
  • Mason Mingus; Brentwood, TN
  • Scott Ellis; Forsyth, GA
  • Michael Mazzagatti; Clinton, OH
  • Roger Reuse; Birmingham, AL
  • Chase Elliott; Dawsonville, GA
  • Derek Kraus; Stratford, WI
  • William Byron; Charlotte, NC
  • Ty Majeski; Seymour, WI
  • Quinnton Bear; Avon, IN
  • Ross Kenseth; Jenison, MI
  • Casey Smith; Austin, TX
  • JJ Haley; Winamac, IN
  • Junior Niedecken; Pensacola, FL
  • Brett Holmes; Munford, AL

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Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman ‘clear the air’ about All-Star incident

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CONCORD, N.C. — Five days after Clint Bowyer threw several punches at Ryan Newman as Newman sat in his car after the All-Star Race, the two sat side by side during an autograph session at a Bass Pro Shops near Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bowyer was upset with Newman for contact that led to Bowyer crashing after last weekend’s race. After Bowyer drove to pit road, he ran to Newman’s car while still wearing his helmet — earning a rebuke from his team owner for not removing his helmet. After reaching Newman’s car, Bowyer unleashed a number of punches.

Both drivers talked this week before they got to the autograph session.

“It was good to have a conversation about it,” Bowyer said Thursday night after qualifying eighth at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. “At the end of the day there were a lot of things that escalated very fast and obviously got out of hand.

“There’s one thing I can always promise you about something like that and it is unfortunate, and you hate having things like that happen, (but) that’s probably the best attended autograph session at Bass Pro Shops that I’ve had in a long, long time.

“Obviously I don’t want to do that every weekend. At the end of the day we all love this sport, we are all passionate about this sport and every now and then that shows a little brighter.”

Bowyer was asked if he thought Newman would retaliate.

“I don’t know,” Bowyer said. “Hopefully it’s behind us. We both have a little better understanding of how it escalated into that and you’ve just got to get stuff like that behind you.”

Newman said it was good to talk to Bowyer about what happened.

“It was good to kind of clear the air,” Newman said. “It is what it is. It’s the past. Just something you always remember. You learn about somebody in a situation like that.”

Newman was asked if he’ll race Bowyer differently.

“I try to race everybody the same way and that’s hard because that’s what I get paid to do,” said Newman, who qualified 18th for the Coca-Cola 600. “I try to give-and-take when I came. The way it works anymore with stage points, especially in the All-Star race, you don’t give and take. You take.”

Starting lineup for the Coca-Cola 600

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William Byron will start first and Aric Almirola will start second for Sunday’s 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600.

Byron, 21, is the youngest pole-sitter in the race’s history.

The top five is completed by defending race winner Kyle Busch, 2017 race winner Austin Dillon and two-time 600 winner Kevin Harvick.

Click here for the starting lineup.

William Byron wins pole for Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. —  William Byron won the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Byron claimed the top spot with a qualifying speed of 183.424 mph. At the age of 21, he’s the youngest Coca-Cola 600 pole-sitter.

It’s Byron’s second career Cup pole, joining his pole in this year’s Daytona 500.

He beat out Aric Almirola (183.069 mph), Kyle Busch (182.933), Austin Dillon (182.766) and Kevin Harvick (182.741).

“This is awesome, a dream come true,” Byron told FS1. “Obviously, I grew up in Charlotte so I came to this race every year. It’s a dream come true to qualify on the pole next to Hendrick Motorsports across the street over there. … Can’t think of a better way to start the weekend.”

Byron has qualified on the front row five time this year and four times in the last seven races.

The pole is the 12th for Hendrick Motorsports in the 600, which leads all teams.

Busch has qualified in the top three for the last three 600s.

Corey LaJoie‘s No. 32 Ford failed pre-qualifying inspection twice, resulting in the ejection of an engineer.

Click here for qualifying results.

Joey Logano and family mourn their dog

Photo: Logano family
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CONCORD, N.C. — Joey Logano provided a sobering update Thursday night about the family’s lost dog, Luigi.

The dog had been missing since Tuesday.

Logano’s wife Brittany wrote on a Facebook post for lost and found pets in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area that the family’s French Bulldog got out of their fence Tuesday night.

“Our little Luigi I believe he’s stolen, I think,” Joey Logano said earlier Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We can’t really put a match to anything. We put a bunch of signs up and things on social media and we watched the cameras at our house and we see him running around the backyard and then you don’t see him again. Not really sure what happened there.”

“We’ve learned that Frenchies are one of the most stolen dogs around. It’s kind of sad that someone does that. It’s a member of your family. It’s a jerk move. Hopefully, we can figure it out.”