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Corey LaJoie among NASCAR drivers entered in Snowball Derby

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A handful of NASCAR veterans are entered into the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, the Dec. 8 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

An updated entry list for the race has 55 drivers, including the new entry of Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie.

LaJoie, who drove for Go Fas Racing this season, will compete for Jamie Yelton’s Fat Head Racing. It’ll be his first time in the race since 2017.

“I keep saying I’m going to keep going down there until I win one,” LaJoie told Speed51.com. “I keep getting closer each and every time.  I’ve broken a couple of times, and another time we just didn’t have our stuff together.  Hopefully this time, we can get down there and get close.  If I can see the front near the end of that thing, I’m going to make something happen.”

Other entries include 2020 Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton, former Cup driver David Gilliland, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ty Majeski and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson. Derek Kraus, this year’s K&N Pro Series West champion, has also been added to the entry list.

Chandler Smith, the 17-year-old driver who made four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series this year, is also entered.

JR Motorsports’ late model driver Josh Berry is entered as well.

Noah Gragson won the race last year for KBM. Busch himself is a two-time winner of the event.

Other past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott.

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Harrison Burton among NASCAR drivers entered in Snowball Derby

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A handful of NASCAR veterans will compete in the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, the Dec. 8 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The early entry list for the race has 53 drivers, including 2020 Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton, former Cup driver David Gilliland, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ty Majeski and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson.

Chandler Smith, the 17-year-old driver who made four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series this year, is also entered.

JR Motorsports late model driver Josh Berry is entered as well.

Noah Gragson won the race last year for KBM. Busch himself is a two-time winner of the event.

Other past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott.

 

JR Motorsports adds 14-year-old driver to Late Model team

Photo credit: Sam Mayer
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JR Motorsports has hired 14-year-old Sam Mayer to join 2017 CARS Late Model Stock Car Series champion Josh Berry as a teammate this season.

Mayer, who is from Franklin, Wisconsin, began racing go-karts at age 4. He completed his first Late Model campaign in 2017, winning three races and scoring 13 top-10 finishes. He ended the year with a fifth-place run in the Myrtle Beach 400, a race Berry won. Mayer, the son of former IndyCar and road racer Scott Mayer, also competed in US Legend Cars Series events last year, winning the US Legend Car Winter Heat championship, the Summer Shootout and the US Legend Car Asphalt Nationals.

“We’re very happy to have a young driver of Sam’s caliber join us here at JR Motorsports,” said L.W. Miller, director of motorsports at JR Motorsports in a statement. “He’s accomplished a lot in his career already, including against the top Late Model talent in the Southeast, and he definitely has all the qualities we look for on the track and off it.”

“It will be a really exciting experience, to know that I’m with a top NASCAR team and a top Late Model team,” Mayer said in a statement. “I hope to be really competitive and have lots of fun while doing it. I’m confident with the way the team is going to treat me and the car, and excited about seeing what we can do together and what we can accomplish.”

JR Motorsports’ Late Model program is in its 17th year of competition. The team has scored 40 victories in the last three seasons — Berry has 21 wins in the last two seasons. Berry won the CARS Late Model Stock car owners title in 2016 and last year’s driver title.

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JR Motorsports adds Anthony Alfredo to Late Model operation

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JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has added 17-year-old Anthony Alfredo as a driver for its Late Model program in 2017.

A native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Alfredo will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in 20 Late Model races throughout the Southeast. He will be a teammate to Josh Berry, who will drive the No. 88.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to drive for JR Motorsports’ Late Model team this year,” Alfredo said in a press release. “I am very excited for the upcoming race season and look forward to furthering my progression as a driver with JRM. Being a teammate with Josh Berry is something that can help me improve a lot as I know I can learn so much from him.”

Alfredo was the 2016 champion in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series Pro Division with Lee Faulk Racing, where he won one race at Greenville Pickens Speedway and earned 15 top fives and 23 top 10s last year.

JR Motorsports is entering its 16th year of Late Model competition. The team has earned 40 victories during the last three seasons and two track championships since 2012.

Elliott Sadler wins Kentucky shootout in Chase opener

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With a push from Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler took the lead on a restart with four laps to go and never looked back, winning the Xfinity Series’s Chase opener at Kentucky Speedway.

Sadler fended off Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Sam Hornish Jr. to win his third race of the year and his second in four races.

The win meant even more for Sadler, whose mother, Bell Sadler, has been in the hospital recently.

“We fought through a lot tonight, but I’m going to get emotional now,” Sadler told NBCSN. “I’ve been in the hospital with my mom all week in the ICU. Watching her fight and fight through a lot of pain and suffering. Made her way back home tonight to watch the race.”

The JR Motorsports driver advances to the second round of the Chase with his win. The 41-year-old veteran has not finished worse than fourth in the last four races.

After starting third, Sadler fell back to 16th by the halfway point. Through pit strategy and a track-record 12 cautions, Elliott was in the top five by Lap 150. He led 11 laps including the final four.

“These guys (his team) are my heroes,” Sadler said. “We had a 10th- or 15th-place car at best. We decided to come in and really take our time and work on it … Got a good push there at the end (from Suarez).”

The final restart was caused by a crash between Chase favorite Erik Jones and Ty Dillon with 13 laps to go.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Xfinity point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Both Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier somehow fought back from a Lap 131 crash to finish fourth and ninth respectively. Allgaier is in the Chase, while Honrish was filling in for RCR’s No. 2 car …  Ryan Sieg, another Chase driver, spun to bring out the caution on Lap 117 and bounced back to finish 16th on the lead lap … Ryan Blaney gave the No. 22 car its third top-three finish in the last six races.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: On a restart with 13 laps left, Erik Jones, who led a race-high 100 laps, got loose entering Turn 3 and collected Ty Dillon, sending both into the outside wall. Jones finished 28th and Dillon 27th  …. Chase driver Brandon Jones and Justin Marks wrecked on the frontstretch during a Lap 95 restart. Marks got loose exiting Turn 4 and spun into Jones, who was on his outside. Jones finished 26th … Marks brought out his third caution of the night when he spun by himself on Lap 124 and backed into the outside wall. Marks finished 15th … Josh Berry, running third, pancaked the Turn 4 wall with 18 laps to go. In his second and final start of 2016, Berry finished 13th.

NOTABLE: The race’s 12 cautions broke the track record of 10 … Elliott Sadler is the 13th different Xfinity winner at Kentucky in 20 races … Matt Tifft, in his first Xfinity race since brain surgery, finished fifth for the first top five of his career (eight starts) … Brendan Gaughan led 19 laps, his most since leading 22 in his 2014 Kentucky win.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “At halfway, we were running (16th). By my calculations, we were about 10th or 11th in points. To fight back those last 100 laps to get back that momentum means a lot to us.” – Elliott Sadler after winning at Kentucky.

NEXT: Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN