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Snowball Derby

Ross Kenseth takes ugly sweater to Snowball Derby

Ross Kenseth has perhaps the ugliest car to ever appear at the Snowball Derby and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the spirit of Christmas and for the sake of creativity, Kenseth and Boyne Machine Racing have rolled out the Ugly Christmas Sweater Ford for the big Super Late Model race held annually at Five Flags Speedway on the Florida Gulf Coast.

True to its name, the No. 3 looks as if it were stitched together by a grandmother with the most old-fashioned of sensibilities. The wrap features bright reds, various blues and egg yolk yellow — a combination terrible for fashion but oddly effective for a Super Late Model.

The driver said that he just wanted to do something different for his sixth Snowball Derby appearance.

“I’m really excited about this,” Kenseth said on Wednesday night. “It’s something that has never been done before and that was the point. We set out to make sure that we didn’t have a paint scheme that four or five other teams brought down here.

“So yeah, I think we accomplished that one.”

The only element missing from the equation is a matching ugly sweater firesuit but the second-generation driver and son of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Matt Kenseth, wasn’t taking the bait.

“Uhm, no — we’ve done enough, I think,” he said.

Kenseth has made five prior starts in the Snowball Derby with a best finish of third back in 2011. He finished eight last year and now believes he has the resources and the experienced needed to take the Tom Dawson Memorial Trophy over the weekend.

His team received an even bigger boost over the autumn with the addition of 2012 Snowball Derby winning crew chief Rich Lushes, who will now call the shots for the No. 3 team for the next few days.

“I think we have a real good shot,” Kenseth said. “It’s just a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s — having the speed during the right situation. We finished third the year I felt like we brought one of our worst cars and we struggled with some of our fastest cars, so it’s just a matter of timing and getting a little bit of luck.”

“I feel like if we get that luck, make no mistakes on the track or on pit road, we have a real good shot.”

As it stands, Kenseth does not have anything planned in the ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR so a good showing could certainly make a difference, given the success of recent winners Johanna Long, Chase Elliott and Erik Jones.

“We don’t have anything planned yet — just our Super Late Model stuff,” Kenseth said. “This is not the best time of the year to be looking for stuff either because it’s so late in the game. But I know how big of a deal it would be to win this race for everyone involved so I’m going to just focus on doing what I have to do to get us to that point.”

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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