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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


Kyle Busch wins second consecutive Camping World Truck race

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Kyle Busch scored his second consecutive Camping World Truck Series victory Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, rallying from a speeding penalty.

Busch passed Ryan Blaney with four laps to go to take the lead for good in the Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation & Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation. Busch’s pass was the fourth lead change in the final 11 laps.

Blaney finished second with Erik Jones third.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

Busch had to go to the back of the field after he was caught speeding in multiple zones on pit road when he stopped on Lap 27.

“We’re trying something new with our tach settings today and that didn’t work,” Busch said of speeding penalty.

He climbed back to the front to win his second start of the season. The win was Busch’s 44th in the series. He’s seven wins shy of tying Ron Hornaday Jr. for the most victories in series history.

HOW KYLE BUSCH WON: Kyle Busch overcame a speeding penalty early and charged to the front. He shot past Ryan Blaney with four laps to go to win.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Matt Crafton overcame a penalty for pitting too soon and a slide late in the race to finish sixth. He was penalized when he came in early to have his team look at his damaged windshield on Lap 26. Crafton was tapped by John Wes Townley late that forced him into a long slide. … Erik Jones finished third in his first Michigan start. … Daniel Hemric placed seventh in his first start at Michigan.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Johnny Sauter entered pit road for his last stop in the lead but the team had trouble with the right front. The lost time dropped him to eighth and out of a chance to win. He finished fourth. … Cody Coughlin, making his second career series start, spun on a restart with 19 laps to go and collected Ben Kennedy. Coughlin placed 20th; Kennedy 25th. … Spencer Gallagher, who went to a backup truck Friday, got wrecked on the last lap and finished 16th. … Ray Black Jr. spun twice within the first 30 laps. He spun on the first lap and was clipped by Mason Mingus and spun 25 laps later.

NOTABLES: Tyler Reddick, who finished ninth, remains the points leader but was never a factor Saturday. He leads Matt Crafton by eight points and Erik Jones by nine points.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I just couldn’t slow Kyle down enough when he got a huge run,” runner-up Ryan Blaney said to Fox Sports 1.

NEXT: The series races Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.


Different series, same result: Kyle Busch keeps winning with Truck triumph at Pocono

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In only his second-ever Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway, Kyle Busch continued his outstanding recent run, winning Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 150.

Busch, who finished second in his previous Truck race at Pocono in 2011, dominated Saturday’s race, leading 53 of 69 laps. Busch finished the race with just enough fuel to barely make it the checkered flag and earn his 43rd career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.

Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by new points leader Tyler Reddick, Cameron Hayley and Austin Dillon. Sixth through 10th were Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters, Matt Tifft, Daniel Hemric and Erik Jones.

Originally a 60-lap scheduled event, the race went nine extra laps due to three attempts at a green-white-checker finish.

On Lap 59, Austin Dillon spun Erik Jones, taking the latter out of contention for the win and extending the race to the first of what would be three eventual green-white-checker situation.

Jones came to pit road for repairs and was back on-track on Lap 61 as the race went into overtime.

The most significant wreck of the race occurred early when, on Lap 6, Brad Keselowski ran into the rear of Matt Crafton’s truck, causing significant damage to both trucks.

MORE: Final results of Camping World Truck Series’ Pocono Mountains 150

MORE: Shake-up in Truck Series standings: Reddick takes No. 1 from Crafton, Jones still third

How Busch won: While he dominated the race, it was the final restart on what was a third attempt at a green-white-checker finish that did it for Busch. Once he cleared the pack, it was smooth sailing for him. Busch’s crew chief, Jerry Baxter, said after the race that his driver wound up going one additional lap than he thought he could on fuel. … Also of note, Harvick blocked Dillon from getting past him on the restart and potentially challenging for the lead.

Who else had a good race: It was a great day overall for Tyler Reddick. Not only did he finish third, he also took over the points lead from Matt Crafton. Reddick now leads Crafton by 11 points, while Erik Jones remained in third place, now 16 points behind Reddick and five points behind Crafton. … Kevin Harvick held off the rest of the field to finish second, while Reddick took over the points lead with his third-place finish. Erik Jones may have had a shot at the win had he not been spun by Austin Dillon on Lap 59. Jones recovered to finish 10th.

Who had a bad race: Matt Crafton not only was involved in a Lap 6 wreck with Brad Keselowski, he also lost the points lead. Crafton finished 28th. … Unlike Crafton, who had his truck repaired and managed to get back on-track for seven additional laps late in the race, Keselowski’s truck was too heavily damaged for him to return to the race. … Also, John Wes Townley and Mason Mingus were involved in a wreck on Lap 63, costing both a chance at a higher finish than they hoped for. Townley fell from fifth to sixth in the standings, as a result.

Notables: Saturday’s win marks the 10th consecutive season that Busch has won at least one race in all three NASCAR series in the same year. … While it appeared Crafton would fall to third in the standings, his crew managed to repair his truck enough to get him back on-track to run seven additional laps (13 in total) late in the race to gain enough points to minimize the damage and put him in second place, 11 points behind Reddick, rather than third.

Quote of the day: “That’s your Cup champion. That’s pretty much an idiot right there.” – Matt Crafton, talking about Brad Keselowski, after their Lap 6 wreck in Saturday’s Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Up next: The Truck Series will take a weekend off and return on Aug. 15 at Michigan International Speedway for the Careers For Veterans 200.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Cole Custer takes surprising Truck win at Gateway Motorsports Park

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After two late-race cautions took out the two best drivers, Cole Custer took advantage and led the final five laps to win the Camping World Truck Series’ Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Custer, 17, won his second career CWTS race after Matt Crafton and Erik Jones, who led most laps of the 160-lap race, were taken out in consecutive accidents with less than 20 laps left.

Custer, who led twice for 19 laps, took the lead from Tyler Reddick on a restart with five laps to go and was unchallenged the rest of the way. His first win came last year at New Hampshire.

“(In the closing laps) I was just trying to tell myself ‘no excuses,’ ” Custer told Fox Sports 1. “I think we were a little bit better than (Reddick). We struggled a little bit all day. I’m just tired.”

The race, which was delayed two hours by rain, was only Custer’s third of the year, as he is not old enough to race on intermediate or larger tracks. It is also JR Motorsports’ second win of the year with the No. 00 truck, which also won at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Kasey Kahne.

“I always knew we had a truck capable of winning,” Custer said. “We just had to put everything together for a race.”

Custer was followed by Spencer Gallagher,  Johnny Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek and Cameron Hayley. There were six caution periods for 35 laps.

More: Truck Series points standings

How Cole Custer won: Custer led twice in the race. He took the lead for good with five laps to go after Matt Crafton crashed into the wall on a restart from a caution caused by an Erik Jones spin.

Who had a good night: In his first race as a full-time CWTS driver, John Hunter Nemechek started 12th and made his way toward the front, entering the top five with about 100 laps left. The-18 year-old got loose and made contact with Crafton who slammed into the wall with eight laps left. With minimal damage, Nemechek finished fourth … Johnny Sauter was a constant presence in the top five, but battled issues on pit road. A bad pit stop during a caution with less than 50 laps to go sent Sauter back to 11th. He battled back to third thanks to two late cautions.

Who had a bad night: Erik Jones, again. The rookie led 84 laps and was in striking distance of the lead with 18 laps to go when his No. 4 truck got loose passing a lapped truck on the inside and spun in Turn 4. A lap later Jones stalled on the frontstretch due to a battery issue. It’s the second week in a row Jones has had a winning truck and battery problems … Justin Boston and Mason Mingus caused the first caution of the night on Lap 54 (which happens to be Boston’s number) when the two collided with each other and then the wall.

Notable: Matt Crafton and Erik Jones both recorded their first DNFs of the season … Spencer Gallagher (second) was the highest-finishing rookie in his first race at Gateway Motorsports Park. It is also Gallagher best-career finish in 19 races.

Quote of the night: “I think it’s one of those tracks that’s a driver’s track. You have to get to the point where you have to run this place as hard as you can om each and every lap.” – John Hunter Nemechek after recording his best career finish.

What’s Next: American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway, June 19, at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1


Track initials ‘D.I.S.’ translate once again to W-I-N for Tyler Reddick in Trucks race at Dover (plus results, standings)


There’s something about tracks with the initials “DIS” that seem to bring out the best in Camping World Truck Series driver Tyler Reddick.

The 19-year-old from Corning, Calif., won his first career Truck race to start this season at Daytona International Speedway.

He earned win No. 2 Friday afternoon in the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway.

Reddick took the lead from Erik Jones, who had led the previous 50 laps, on Lap 193 and held on for the remaining seven laps to earn the win.

“We just bid our time and were very patient,” Reddick said. “We played it smart, kept her in one piece and went to Victory Lane.”

Daniel Suarez finished second, while Jones finished third, making it a 2-3 finish for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“My Toyota was pretty strong,” Suarez said. “Something very important here was traffic, track position. It was difficult to pass.”

Added Jones, “We got so free and I just couldn’t hang on to it. I did all I could. We had a good Toyota Tundra and it was still a good points day.”

Daniel Hemric finished fourth, followed by defending series champion Matt Crafton in fifth.

Sixth through 10th were Ben Kennedy, Ryan Blaney, Brandon Jones, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Young.

How Reddick won: Reddick paced himself and saved as much fuel as he could as he followed in the track prints of Erik Jones from Lap 143 to Lap 192. Jones’ truck started to get loose and Riddick pounced at the chance, passing underneath and motoring on to victory.

Who else had a good day: Daniel Suarez once again came so close to winning for the first time ever. Although he didn’t lead a lap, Suarez stuck around the top 10 much of the race and then came on strong in the closing laps to overtake Jones for second. … Kannapolis, N.C., native Daniel Hemric recorded a career-best fourth-place finish. … Even though he fell back, pole-sitter Ryan Blaney had a strong day, leading 33 laps before finishing seventh.

Who had a bad day: He was hoping for a good day in his NCWTS debut, but Jesse Little made a costly mistake 32 laps into the race, losing his truck and collecting three other trucks with him (Mason Mingus, Justin Jennings and John Wes Townley). “This is exactly what I was trying not to do, it’s something that kind of sets us back, but I learned, that’s what it’s all about and we’ll get ‘em next time,” said Little, son of former NASCAR racer Chad Little, who is now NASCAR Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating.

Notable: Jennifer Jo Cobb could be in trouble with NASCAR for her actions following a wreck on Lap 13. After wrecking, she got out of her truck and walked up on the racetrack, gesturing at Riddick, who she apparently believed tapped her. Cobb was called to the NASCAR hauler.

MORE: Jennifer Jo Cobb wrecks in Truck race at Dover, is called to NASCAR hauler for her actions

Quote of the day: “I just forced an issue that I shouldn’t have. I was driving up under the 15 and I knew the truck was real sensitive aero, but I didn’t know it was that much. I just got loose and it brought me around. There’s not much you can do after that.” – Jesse Little, who admitted the wreck on Lap 32 of his NCWTS debut was solely his fault.

What’s next: Winstar World Casino 400, June 5, Texas Motor Speedway; Fort Worth, Texas.