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Snowball Derby

Kyle Busch charges late to win 50th Snowball Derby

Kyle Busch took a car that arguably was not the fastest throughout the weekend and drove it to victory in the 50th Snowball Derby on Sunday at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion spent much of the afternoon watching Bubba Pollard and Jeff Choquette duel in front of him. But a caution with 80 laps to go changed the complexion of the entire race.

Corey LaJoie broke a track bar heim joint and Cole Rouse hit the wall.

The leaders had all come down pit road 50 laps prior and there were no takers. Thus, Choquette and Pollard maintained the front row on the restart and pulled away from Busch. In fact, Busch was under fire from Harrison Burton.

But Busch began to match the leaders’ lap times, reeled them in, passed Pollard on Lap 278 and took the lead from Choquette on Lap 285.

He checked out.

“I didn’t think we had it there for about 280 laps, and then that final 20 she came to life,” Busch said after the race. “I just tried to persevere, save and work my way to those guys and finally be able to get my way around them. I wasn’t sure once I got there I’d have enough to be able to get by them, but they just kind of kept falling off and I just plateaued and kind of stayed.”

Meanwhile, Choquette and Pollard combined to lead 221 laps after dominating the Snowflake 100 the night before. Both had to watch Busch hoist the Tom Dawson Trophy in Victory Lane.

For his part, Pollard said he was too loose on the older tires, expecting another caution with around 50 laps to go to bolt on his final set.

“We didn’t have the best car right there when it mattered,” Pollard said. “We were just too free. We freed up because we knew the track would get tighter and freed it up too much, getting ready for the last set and we never got the last set.”

Busch dealt with the same scenario, but simply out-drove Pollard and Choquette.

“I didn’t think there was going to be 66 green flag laps, especially with some of those guys who took tires,” Busch said. “I figured there was going to be some guys get into guys, but that didn’t happen. Once I got up there (to Choquette and Pollard), I knew I had enough to get by them.”

And he did.

He also survived the room of doom, officially claiming his second Tom Dawson Trophy in technical inspection. He also won the race in 2009. This also broke a multi-year winless streak for Busch dating back to August 2014 in the Kalamazoo Klash CRA Super Series 100-lapper.

Choquette had high praise for those he raced against on Sunday.

“Between (Kyle) and Bubba, those are the two best in the country if you ask me,” Choquette said. “Honestly, we didn’t know if we’d get into the show. We were very unsure, so to finish where we did is great. We’ve got a lotta homework to do for next year, but we’ll be up for the challenge.”

Burton held on to fourth over Cassius Clark.

The complete results can be found below.

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Jeff Choquette
  3. Bubba Pollard
  4. Harrison Burton
  5. Cassius Clark
  6. Casey Roderick
  7. Chandler Smith
  8. Chase Purdy
  9. Raphael Lessard
  10. Brandon McReynolds
  11. Tyler Dippel
  12. Noah Gragson
  13. Jeremy Doss
  14. Boris Jurkovic
  15. Cole Butcher
  16. Anthony Cataldi
  17. Ty Majeski
  18. Kyle Plott
  19. Christian Eckes
  20. Dan Fredrickson
  21. Kason Plott
  22. Jerry Artuso
  23. Spencer Davis
  24. Corey LaJoie
  25. Cole Rouse
  26. David Rogers
  27. Chris Davidson
  28. Jake Crum
  29. Augie Grill
  30. Connor Okrzesik
  31. Mason Mingus
  32. Preston Peltier
  33. Derek Kraus
  34. Donnie Wilson
  35. Logan Boyett
  36. Stephen Nasse
  37. Garrett Jones

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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