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Doss and Ruggiero crowned champions as Pollard wins Pensacola finale

The path to the Snowball Derby added a few chapters on Saturday

Daniel Vining

The first weekend of December is still over two months away but the Snowball Derby officially has its first two entrants in Jeremy Doss and Gio Ruggiero.

At the same time, one of the most legendary competitor’s in the history of the event in Bubba Pollard made his presence felt in the final Super Late Model race at the Florida half mile, in winning the Deep South Cranes 100.

By virtue of their track championship and Southern Super Series championships respectively, Doss and Ruggiero clinch automatic berths into the race no matter what happens on qualifying night come December 1.

That’s a great consolation for Doss, who will join team owner Bob Lyon in coming all the way from California to compete in the event, following their four appearances across the Blizzard Series this season.

“It’s pretty surreal to come from the west coast in our first full year running the Blizzard Series, and to come out on top against some tough competition, honestly the best competition. (The guaranteed derby spot) takes some stress off. I’ve seen Nasse not make it in qualifying and pretty much go win the deal. So it definitely takes some stress off, but obviously we want to qualify in on time and get a better starting position.”

It’s a similar sentiment from Ruggiero.

“It’s awesome that we’re already locked in to the derby,” Ruggiero said. “Wilson Motorsports, they work so hard for me. They put in a lot of hours to make this happen. I feel like if you work hard, you can achieve anything, and it kinda showed tonight.”

Ruggiero and Doss clinched their championships with 4th and 8th place finishes respectively, but the race winner of Saturday’s Deep South Cranes 100 ended up being Senoia, Georgia’s Bubba Pollard. Pollard, who struggled all throughout the day on Friday before scoring a 2nd place finish, had an exceptional rebound by outdueling Hunter Robbins and Jackson Boone to score the victory.

“We were kinda terrible last night, and had to work on it a lot today. Not a bad night last night, but we worked hard on it today and got it a lot better,” Pollard said. “We needed this win, especially here. When you win here, you know your program is pretty good. It gives you some momentum heading into December. I’ve been too conservative I think, and having back-to-back races helped me get out of my comfort zone and changed the race car.”

It was a dominant victory this time around and also the 24th career Super Late Model victory in Pensacola for Pollard, who says he plans to park this car until December. He’s confident this is their best piece in the pursuit of his first ever Snowball Derby triumph.

Southern Super Series Deep South Cranes 100
Five Flags Speedway
September 23 2023

  1. Bubba Pollard
  2. Hunter Robbins
  3. Jackson Boone
  4. Gio Ruggiero
  5. Jake Finch
  6. Stephen Nasse
  7. Matt Craig
  8. Jeremy Doss
  9. Travis Braden
  10. Michael Hinde
  11. Kole Raz
  12. John Bolen
  13. Dustin Smith
  14. Daniel Webster
  15. Ryan Herbert
  16. Jordon Riddick
  17. Billy VanMeter
  18. Tony Elrod
  19. Colin Allman
  20. Lee Tissot
  21. Terry McMahan
  22. Eddie MacDonald
  23. Jesse Love
  24. Jace Hansen
  25. Michael Atwell
  26. Sheflon Clay

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