PENSACOLA, Fla. – Dan Frederickson topped a wild and wooly Snowball Derby Last Chance Qualifier to lead the final four transfers into Sunday’s 52nd running of the super late model classic.
Frederickson took the top spot from Michael House on a lap-26 restart and led the rest of the way, surviving an overtime finish which pushed the 50-lapper one circuit beyond its scheduled distance.
While chaos reigned behind him, Frederickson pulled away on restart after restart before finally taking the checkered flag first when all was said and done.
“We should have timed in better to be honest; I don’t know what happened there,” admitted Frederickson. “But really, I’m kind of glad we sucked so badly in time trials, because then it was like, ‘This thing is just not good. Don’t try to say it is.’ We just worked on it. We made changes again, gave it what it wanted and not what everybody said we should have or whatever … and it all worked out.
“I couldn’t go half throttle all practice on Thursday and I was full throttle every lap in that 50-lap race,” he continued. “We ran some decent laps at the end. It was fun. The car drove nice. I’m sorry there were so many cautions behind me; it had to be a snoozer for the fans at home, but I guess if they’re paying per minute, they got a good deal.”
Frederickson admitted that, had his car not improved throughout the day on Saturday, he might have sold his spot in the show so as “to not be in the way.” Now, he feels like he’s got a shot to contend.
“If it had driven like it did on Thursday, I wasn’t even going to race tomorrow. I was just going to try to get into the top four and then try to sell my spot to the guy in fifth, because the way it ran on Thursday, I wasn’t going to drive that around for 300 laps in everybody’s way, you know?” said Frederickson. “We’d have been three laps down. But this is something that runs decent here. This is all right.”
The first 21 laps of the LCQ were run caution-free, but after the first yellow flew, many more followed.
For much of the incident-laden second half, it appeared that both Carson Hocevar and Harrison Burton would easily transfer into the show, while five-time Derby winner Rich Bickle raced his way from fifth to second inside of 10 to go and also looked to have a car capable of making the show in the closing stages.
However, all three’s hopes were dashed when Hocevar and Bickle got together entering turn one after the white flag, spinning Bickle down into Burton and causing a smoky crash in the center of the corner.
Burton’s car went away from the scene on a flatbed, while Bickle was able to rejoin but ended up 10th with a battered car.
Hocevar rallied from being put to the tail twice – once for his involvement in the turn-one crash and once for advancing position prior to the start/finish line on the penultimate restart – to finish seventh.
Thanks to all the chaos, Brad May climbed from fifth to second over the final two laps, while Mexico’s Rodrigo Rejon was 12th with six laps to go in regulation but ended up crossing third to make it into his first Snowball Derby.
Boris Jurkovic took the final transfer spot into the show after Michael House lost control exiting the fourth turn coming to the checkers and crashed, skidding across the line but missing out by one position.
Dan Frederickson, Brad May, Rodrigo Rejon, Boris Jurkovic, Michael House, Jett Noland, Carson Hocevar, Kyle Bryant, David Rogers, Rich Bickle, Harrison Burton, Johnny VanDoorn, Trey Bayne, Chris Davidson, Jerry Artuso, Colten Nelson, Jordan Anderson, Casey Smith, Austin Nason, Jack Dossey III, AJ Wernette.