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Snowball Derby

Chase Elliott, Erik Jones unable to race Snowball Derby

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While many of the biggest names in Super Late Model racing is preparing to migrate south to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida next month, two former Snowball Derby champions have decided to skip its golden anniversary.

Both Chase Elliott and Erik Jones would have liked to have competed in the 50th Snowball Derby but just couldn’t make the logistics line up properly.

Combined, Elliott and Jones have combined for four victories in the ‘Super Bowl of Short Track Racing,’ taking the Tom Dawson Trophy in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Elliott has the inventory of cars needed to compete would prefer to race with crew chief Ricky Turner and family. The 2002 Snowball Derby winner engineered much of his Super Late Model success during the late 2000s.

The Turners are currently working with young gun Chandler Smith.

“Man, I would love to go run that race again someday,” Elliott said on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. “I think it would be really cool, but I’m pretty picky with how I like to do things there. We had a great group of guys when we were racing those cars and it wouldn’t feel right for me to go and race and not have some of those same guys there to help and what not.

“Never say never. Maybe one day down the road the pieces will line up and we can all get back together and do another race somewhere, maybe somewhere else and then go down there, but not this year.”

Meanwhile, Jones has spent the past couple of years occasionally working with KBR Development tandem Mike Bursley and Zach Dunston. For December, they are servicing the cars to be driven by Carson Hocevar and Brandon McReynolds.

Thus, Jones just didn’t have the means to do it in a way he would prefer.

“I would say it’s probably zero percent chance,” Jones said. “It’s a great race. A great event. For me, I didn’t have the right opportunity to really go down and do it the way I wanted to. I don’t know, just didn’t really work out the way I was wanting to do it.

“Maybe someday I’ll go back. Would love to come back for the 50th, but it won’t be this year.”

Bursley said KBR is just overbooked.

“Yes, we are focused on the Snowflake 100 with Carson and we are working with Brandon McReynolds for the Derby,” he said. “At that point we are cut too thin to do it right with him.”

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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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