PENSACOLA, Fla. – Preston Peltier had to wait for 45 other drivers to take a shot at his time before claiming the pole position for the 50th running of the Snowball Derby on Friday at Five Flags Speedway.
Peltier was the eighth driver to make a qualifying attempt on Friday for Sunday’s race at Five Flags Speedway and set quick time, turning a lap on the half-mile oval at 16.319 seconds.
One after another some of the biggest names in super late model racing took their best shot at Peltier’s time, but none were able to better it. Georgia driver Bubba Pollard came the closest with a lap at 16.344 seconds, followed by Augie Grill, Mason Mingus and Jeremy Doss.
Peltier will be trying to do something that hasn’t been accomplished since 2005, winning the Snowball Derby from the pole position. Eddie Mercer was the last driver to win from the pole.
“I didn’t expect to be starting from the pole,” Peltier said. “I thought Bubba (Pollard) would be on the pole. The crew worked really hard. We wanted to go out about tenth in the qualifying order because we expected the dew to be gone.”
When asked what it would mean to win on Sunday, Peltier said if he wins the race he will retire.
Pollard said he was happy with the qualifying run.
“I hope we can keep up the momentum for the rest of the weekend,” Pollard said. “In this race it really doesn’t matter where you start because it’s a long race. But starting up front you can stay out of trouble.”
Pollard said he wasn’t surprised that Peltier’s early time was able to hold up for the pole position.
“He was fast earlier in the day,” he said. “If my car was a little faster I might have been able to better his time.”
Former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will start 15th. Harrison Burton locked in to the starting field at 22nd.
Defending race winner Christian Eckes didn’t make the top 30 and will have to run the last chance race on Saturday. He is assured of a champion’s provisional if necessary.
Drivers locked into 50th running of Sunday’s Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway:
Preston Peltier, Bubba Pollard, Augie Grill, Mason Mingus, Jeremy Doss, Chase Purdy, Chris Davidson, Ty Majeski, Cole Butcher, Jeff Choquette, Spencer Davis, Casey Roderick, Connor Okrzesik, Dan Fredrickson, Kyle Busch, Kyle Plott, Chandler Smith, Raphael Lessard, Logan Boyett, Noah Gragson, Brandon McReynolds, Harrison Burton, Cole Rouse, Anthony Cataldi, Boris Jurkovic, Cory LaJoie, Kason Plott, Jake Crum, Cassius Clark, Stephen Nasse.