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Winter Showdown Delivers Star-Studded Entry List

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It’s already called the ‘Snowball Derby of the West’ and once again the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway is boasting the line-up to prove it.

Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Bubba Pollard headline the list of entries to have headed west for the SRL Southwest Tour exhibition event in Bakersfield, California. In all, over $180,000 will be paid out in prize money and $30,000 will be paid to the winner — one of the richest purses in the discipline.

For two-time and defending winner Pollard, there is no bigger race in short track.

“It’s right there with the Snowball Derby and might even be bigger,” Pollard said. “It pays well and the competition is right there with any other big race. It’s tough.

“There are some good racers down there by Derek Thorn and Chris Eggleston, some NASCAR champions,” Pollard said. “So we don’t underestimate them and it meant a lot to win the first two.

“So we’re going to keep supporting that race because it’s becoming a pretty big deal.”

READ MORE: Pollard critical of short track cost escalation

Jones has won the Derby twice plus holds victories in the Winchester 400 and Redbud 300. This was an important race for him to scratch off the old bucket list.

“I’m looking forward to it,”  Jones said. “It’s gotten so much bigger over the past three years and I think you’re going to see one of the best car counts as anyone has had. It’s a track that fits the mold what we’ve been good at with our team so I’m just happy to be in another of these big races before the NASCAR season.”

This will actually be the first time Jones has raced against Busch since defeating him head-to-head in the 2012 Snowball Derby. The victory catapulted Jones into the national spotlight and towards his current NASCAR Cup Series career path.

READ MORE: Erik Jones never far removed from Late Model racing

A frequent contender in the Southern Super Series and CRA Super Series, Donnie Wilson is traveling to California for the first time this weekend, and is hoping to win this race for the same reasons he chases success in the Snowball Derby, All-American 400 and Winchester 400.

“This race is right there with the biggest races in the country,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of like the Snowball Derby of the West Coast. It’s got a good purse, brings the best drivers in the country and the track is first-class. These are the kind of races that you want to be a part of with these kind of cars.”

Only 36 teams will make the field for the main event, also making the Showdown one of the toughest races to get into. The event will be broadcast live on Speed51.com’s 51TV digital pay-per-view service. The full race day can be purchased for $29.99.

Race day kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday night for Winter Showdown time trials. Racing begins at 8:30 p.m. ET for the 50-lap Lucas Oil Modified prelude and then the 250-lap Super Late Model main event.

Here’s a list of known entries.

  • Kyle Busch
  • Willie Allen
  • Erik Jones
  • Greg  Pursley
  • Bubba Pollard
  • Noah  Gragson
  • Preston Peltier
  • Eric Holmes
  • Tyler Ankrum
  • Dustin  Ash
  • Derek Thorn
  • Chris Davidson
  • Cole Moore
  • Christian McGhee
  • David Mayhew
  • Dominic Ursetta
  • Blaine Rocha
  • Buddy Shepherd
  • Jacob Gomes
  • Jeremy Doss
  • Rudy Vanderwal
  • Donny St. Ours
  • Lance   Wilson
  • Bobby Hodges
  • Donnie Wilson
  • Tyler Tanner
  • Chris Johnson
  • Carlos Vieira
  • Garrett Evans
  • Shane Mitchell
  • Johnny   White
  • Brandon White
  • Chris   Eggleston
  • Jace Hansen
  • Eric Schmidt
  • Joe Farre
  • Tim Smith
  • Kyle Ray
  • John Burtsche
  • Luke Hall
  • Mike Beeler
  • Brandon Farrington
  • Rod Schultz Sr.

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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