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Snowball Derby

Harrison Burton captures pole for the 51st Snowball Derby

Bruce Nuttleman | Ultimate Lap Photo via STS

Harrison Burton will lead the field to green on Sunday in the 51st Snowball Derby.

The 18-year-old captured the pole for the Super Bowl of Super Late Model Racing on Friday night with a 16.273 lap around the half-mile Five Flags Speedway. Like the Daytona 500, the Snowball Derby pole is equivalent in prestige to many race victories.

But it’s not the ultimate goal.

“That sounds good, but it would sound better if you swapped out pole winner for race winner,” Burton told Short Track Scene. “We have a lot of work to do yet so hopefully we can get practice in on Saturday. We need to get better because we know these guys are going to get better.

“We need to stay aggressive and go into attack mode.”

Burton was the seventh driver to turn a qualifying lap and his lap held up through 40 additional entrants and 80 timed laps.

Burton had been quick all weekend, but never quickest overall, leaving his No. 12 team as a dark horse for much of the weekend.

“Up until now, I feel like we were,” Burton said. “But now we’re going to be in the spotlight, which I don’t mind because we’re quick. This is special and cool, but all that matters to me is Sunday and we need to keep getting better for then.”

As is often the case, most of the drama surrounded those getting bumped from the field.

Spencer Davis had accepted the fact that he would probably have to race his way into the field of 36 through the last chance race. He was the 20th qualifier and his 16.720 was good for 12th at the time. He was 30th with four drivers left. That list included Carson Hocevar, Chris Davidson and Stephen Nasse and none of them bumped him. He made the Snowball Derby by 0.022 seconds over Paul Shafer Jr.

Only 30 make the show on time.

“After how we were in final practice, I thought we would be switching our car over for the Last Chace Race,” Davis said. “But we’re 30th, and we were with four cars left to go, and it’s four cars that should have beat us.

“Especially the 51 of Nasse who was the last one out. But none of them touched it. When Nasse came up to speed, I said, ‘Welp, we’re on the pole for the last chance race and there’s only one way to go from there.’

“His first lap was like a 17.30, and I’m like ‘maybe he’s just heating his tires because he’s a really good qualifier,’ and then he drops a 16.7 and it’s like waking up on Christmas morning to find everything you wanted under the tree.”

Nasse and Kyle Bryant received the provisionals for the highest points finishers from both the Southern Super Series and Five Flags Speedway to have not qualified into the race on time.

51st Annual Snowball Derby Qualifying Results

1 12 Harrison Burton 16.273
2 53B Cole Butcher 16.327
3 48 Preston Peltier 16.344
4 9 Jeff Choquette 16.378
5 14C Connor Okrzesik 16.430
6 11B Logan Boyett 16.457
7 26S Chandler Smith 16.457
8 18G Noah Gragson 16.468
9 7 John DeAngelis Jr 16.479
10 51L Raphael Lessard 16.489
11 2W Donnie Wilson 16.506
12 26 Bubba Pollard 16.519
13 18 Casey Roderick 16.521
14 112F Stewart Friesen 16.527
15 81 Chase Purdy 16.531
16 89 Perry Patino 16.537
17 30 Jesse Dutilly 16.544
18 91 Ty Majeski 16.551
19 43 Derek Thorn 16.559
20 75 Jeremy Doss 16.569
21 51A Michael Atwell 16.578
22 42P Dennis Prunty 16.603
23 14N Austin Nason 16.608
24 58 Tyler Ankrum 16.609
25 37 Kaden Honeycutt 16.644
26 12G Derek Griffith 16.647
27 4 Kyle Plott 16.657
28 9K Derek Kraus 16.675
29 78 Corey Heim 16.698
30 29 Spencer Davis 16.720
31 7S Paul Shafer Jr 16.725
32 11R David Rogers 16.725
33 66 Steve Wallace 16.726
34 51N Stephen Nasse 16.726
35 19 Kason Plott 16.728
36 14 Chris Davidson 16.754
37 14H Carson Hocevar 16.758
38 53J Boris Jurkovic 16.763
39 5 Jerry Artuso 16.798
40 79 Kyle Bryant 16.805
41 112 Augie Grill 16.820
42 5M Mason Mingus 16.836
43 91L Patrick Laperle 16.850
44 24 Mason Diaz 16.861
45 25 Blaine Perkins 16.936
46 20 Jack Dossey III 17.018
47 64 Jan Evans 17.053

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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