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

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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

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’s 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’s field in Saturday night’s 50-lap “last chance” 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


Truck Series champ Erik Jones earned a cool $1 million-plus in 2015

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Erik Jones not only won the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, the 19-year-old Michigan native topped the earnings list with a series-high total of $1,103,630, according to NASCAR officials.

Jones was the only driver to earn over $1 million in the Truck Series this season. Included in his overall total was $139,381 in special awards, capturing the Sunoco Diamond Performance and Sunoco Rookie of the Year awards, as well as the Keystone Light Pole Award.

Matt Crafton earned the second highest amount of money ($842,207), followed by Tyler Reddick ($734,358), Timothy Peters ($610,655), Johnny Sauter ($558,313), John Wes Townley ($476,913), Cameron Hayley ($465,974), John Hunter Nemechek ($460,734), Ben Kennedy ($452,332) and Daniel Hemric ($440,289).

Eleventh through 20th on the money list were Spencer Gallagher ($425,771), Ray Black Jr. ($413,746), Tyler Young ($405,246), Mason Mingus ($368,802), Brandon Jones ($343,415), Jennifer Jo Cobb ($323,446), Korbin Forrister ($320,216), Travis Kvapil ($306,426), Norm Benning ($259,097) and Jordan Anderson ($240,089).

A total of 108 drivers earned payouts from the Trucks prize fund.

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Matt Crafton wins Truck finale as Erik Jones claims first NASCAR title

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Matt Crafton checked off everything he needed to win a third Camping World Truck series title.

But after earning the pole, leading the most laps and winning the Ford EcoBoost 200, it wasn’t enough.

Crafton celebrated in victory lane as Erik Jones did so on a stage on the frontstretch, taking in the excitement of winning his first NASCAR title. But the two-time champion who won six races in 2015 wasn’t phased by being usurped by a driver half his age.

“Just six wins and as many laps as we led it’s been awesome,” Crafton told Fox Sports 1. “It’s been, like I said, a dream season. We just had too many mistakes. I made mistakes. We’ve all made mistakes and we’re all human.

“But in 2016, we’re going to be stronger from it.”

Crafton was followed by John Hunter Nemechek and Tyler Reddick, the latter who finished 15 points behind Jones in the driver standings.

He comes up empty-handed in a season with six wins after winning three times in his two title season.

“We had a phenomenal season … we just had one column that was bad for us and that was DNF,” Crafton said. “The last five races, six races I knew I was going to have to be that much more aggressive.”

So Crafton “took the gloves off” and led the most laps in four of the last six races. But what he called “stupid stuff,” including running out of fuel at Las Vegas and crashing at Talladega and Phoenix, limited the No. 88 to just two wins over the final stretch.

But there was no stupid stuff Friday night. Instead, he was near perfect but that wasn’t enough.

MORE: race results

MORE: final point standings

HOW MATT CRAFTON WON: Crafton started from the pole and led a race-high 93 laps, including the final 46.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: John Hunter Nemechek started and finished second, leading 24 laps on the way to his eighth top five of 2015 … Rico Abreu finished 13th on the lead lap in only his second Truck start after rolling off the grid 14th … Ben Kennedy finished fourth for his sixth top-five finish of his career.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: The first caution of the night waved on Lap 5 for Brandon Brown, whose No. 86 truck stalled on the apron of Turn 2 with a transmission issue … Brandon Jones quickly fell off the lead pace after contact with Mason Mingus sent Jones into the wall. After time on pit road for repairs, Jones returned but crashed again on Lap 74 crashed and went to the garage, finishing 31st… Daniel Suarez had led 10 laps when he spun in Turn 4 on Lap 60. Suarez stayed on the lead lap but brought out another caution on Lap 84 after hitting the wall in Turn 2, leading to a finish in 40th.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “He didn’t want to be there for two part-time seasons, but he was and, I think, he learned a tremendous amount in those seasons. To go full-time this year, we knew he was ready to tackle the championship.” Team owner Kyle Busch said after Erik Jones won the first driver’s championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series.

Timothy Peters takes Phoenix win after Matt Crafton, Erik Jones crash

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Capitalizing on a crash between points leader Erik Jones, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter just over 30 laps from the finish, Timothy Peters beat out John Hunter Nemechek to earn his second Camping World Truck Series win of the year.

Peters won the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway for his second win in four races after also winning at Talladega Superspeedway.

Peter’s credited his spotter Chris Lambert for keeping him “alert” to the wreck between the leaders and the other six cautions that filled the race.

“We were a top-five truck tonight and we earned this one,” Peters told Fox Sports 1, later saying he was shocked when he saw Jones and Crafton crash.

“Knowing the damage the No. 4 had, that kind of put us in the catbird seat,” Peters said. “The main thing was just making sure we take advantage and try to cap off the win tonight and not charging into the corner entry, which I have a bad habit of doing.”

The win is Peter’s 10th of his Truck career and it came after getting ahead of Nemechek on the final restart with 24 laps remaining. It is also his seventh top-10 finish in a row.

“The last two years we’ve had great truck but we’ve been in the right place at the wrong time,” Peters said.

Jones finished ninth and Crafton finished in the garage in 23rd, 20 laps off the lead.

Heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jones can clinch the title with a finish of 15th or better, 16th with at least one lap led or 17th with the most laps led.

MORE: Point standings

MORE: Race results

HOW TIMOTHY PETERS WON: Peters avoided multiple wrecks and outran John Hunter Nemechek in the final 24 laps under green to secure the win.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Daniel Suarez started eighth and finished fourth for his seventh top-five finish … John Wes Townley finished third, earning his third top five of the year and just his fifth of his career.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Championship contenders Erik Jones and Matt Crafton were in a three-car wreck with just over 30 laps remaining. Crafton, who entered the weekend 17 points behind Jones, finished 23rd. Jones finished ninth … William Byron, in his first career truck race, found himself in the Turn 3 wall on Lap 6 after contact with Brandon Jones, who spun into Cole Custer. Custer then careened back into Byron. Jones finished 32nd, Byron placed 31st and Custer went on to finish 26th … On Lap 17, Korbin Forrister was spun out on the frontstretch by Timmy Hill. Forrister couldn’t get his truck restarted, which  had to be taken to the infield, but not before Forrister chucked his HANS device at Hill’s passing truck … On a Lap 45 restart, Mason Mingus appeared to lock up his brakes, which started a chain reaction as Dalton Sargeant spun to avoid him and collected Rico Abreu and Ben Kennedy. Abreu finished 28th in his first Truck race.

NOTABLE: Toyota has clinched the Camping World Truck Series manufacturer’s championship. It is Toyota’s eighth title, tying Chevrolet for the most in series history … Nemechek has nine top-10 finishes in a season in which he hasn’t run in every race.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “This is unbelievable. I’m speechless.” – Timothy Peters after earning his second win of 2015.

WHAT’S NEXT: Season finale Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 8 pm ET on Nov. 20 on Fox Sports 1.

Timothy Peters earns first Truck win of 2015, second Talladega win in a row

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Timothy Peters won the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeeday when the race ended with a caution on the first lap of the only green-white-checkered attempt.

Peters was in the lead only about half a straightaway when Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley collided with each other and then the wall just behind Peter’s rear bumper. It was Gallagher who had given Peters the push to get out front for the fifth and final time.

“I appreciate the push that Spencer gave me, I’m glad he’s OK,” Peters said. “The push that Spencer gave me was a little delayed, but it was enough to get us in front of (Brandon Jones).”

Peters and his team then had to wait two laps for the win, their first of the year and the first since winning at Talladega last year.

It was a wait but Peters, who started from the pole, was the beneficiary of NASCAR’s new rule limiting restrictor-plate races to one green-white-checkered attempt.

“It was still intense, I wasn’t going to celebrate until I saw the checkered flag and the truck was completely across the line,” Peters said. “It was really was no different with one (GWC) attempts versus three. Everybody was maybe a tad more aggressive”

Peters was followed by Brandon Jones, Mason Mingus, Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Truck point standings

WHY Timothy Peters WON: Peters grabbed the lead through the first two turns of the only possible green-white-checkered attempt. That’s where he was halfway down the backstretch when Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley crashed, bringing out the caution and effectively ending the race.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE:  Brandon Jones, in his first Talladega start, led seven laps and finished second … Erik Jones led six laps, finished fourth and increased his points lead to 18 points … John Hunter Nemechek was running near the back of the pack when he got loose and ran through the grass in the tri-oval on Lap 12. He bounced back to  finish 11th after surviving a big crash with three laps to go.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: The 10 drivers, including Matt Crafton and Matt Tifft, who were involved in “The Big One” with three laps to go on the backstretch. The caution was the fifth of the day, but the first for a multi-car crash, and turned into a 14-minute, 17-second red flag … Brian Keselowski led 10 laps in his Truck series debut and was in third prior to a late restart when he unexpectedly ran out of gas. Driving for brother of Brad, the older Keselowski ended the day in 17th … Terry Jones brought out the second caution on Lap 37 with a hard hit into the inside wall on the frontstretch, just before the pit road entrance. Jones was not hurt.

Quote of the Day: “You don’t ever want to wish bad luck (on anyone), but it wouldn’t hurt your feelings either to see that caution.” – Timothy Peters on the caution the ended Saturday’s race.

Notable:  Peters is the third driver in series history to win consecutive races at Talladega
Superspeedway joining Todd Bodine (2007, 2008) and Kyle Busch (2009, 2010).

WHAT’S NEXT: Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway at on Oct. 31 at 1:30 pm ET on Fox Sports 1