PENSACOLA, Fla. – California’s Jeremy Doss has brought Alan Kulwicki’s famed Underbird livery back to the motorsports scene this weekend at Five Flags Speedway in a big way.
Doss continued that charge on Saturday afternoon by leading final practice for the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, positioning himself as a top contender to take home the Tom Dawson Trophy.
The driver of the Earnest Performance/Hooter’s No. 75 turned a best lap of 16.782 seconds (107.258 mph) to lead 52 drivers who took time during Happy Hour.
Doss was already in street clothes by the time the checkered flag waved on practice, content with where his team sits going into race day on Sunday.
“I think it’s pretty good, and we made a lot of gains on it today,” Doss said of his race car. “We made about four runs … and a long run there at the end, and I know we’re on top of the charts, but it’s probably a top-five car when it comes to the long run stuff. We’re pretty happy with it.
“We have a lot of adjustments we can make during pit stops tomorrow,” he added. “We just figured ‘hey, let’s not wear the car out and save her for tomorrow.’”
Of his paint scheme for the weekend, which pays homage to 1992 NASCAR Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki’s title-winning Hooter’s livery, Doss couldn’t help but light up when discussing the tribute.
“Yeah, it’s super cool. I love it,” Doss smiled. “I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the car this weekend, which is really neat. But I’ve been a part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program the last two years, and we were fortunate enough to actually win it this year. So it’s pretty neat. But we just wanted to pay our respects, you know, and do something to represent Alan and his legacy … and we figured what better way than to bring his 1992 championship scheme to the biggest super late model race there is?”
Current NASCAR Cup Series star Corey LaJoie was second-quick in final practice at 16.961 seconds (106.126 mph), followed by Harrison Burton, who must race his way in through the Last Chance Showdown and finally found speed to go third overall with a time of 17.009 seconds (105.826 mph).
Ty Majeski and Blizzard Series provisional starter Lucas Jones completed the top five, ahead of Josh Berry, Travis Braden, Bubba Pollard, Gio Bromante and Chandler Smith.
Snowball Derby polesitter Derek Thorn ended final practice in 27th on the speed charts.
For Doss and the others who are already in the show, the focus now turns to 300 laps on Sunday, with one goal at the end of the road in the form of a Snowball Derby victory.
“We have to keep our nose clean,” said Doss. “Last year, I got in a scuffle pretty early on. It put us behind the eight ball. So we just need to keep the nose clean, be patient, and make sure we just play the race smart. You could have the fastest car here and still not win it. So we just have to be smart about it and have a little bit of luck on our side.
“I think we’ll be strong and have a shot at bringing that Tom Dawson Trophy back to the West Coast.”