David Ragan & John Hunter Nemechek Test and Prep for 45th Annual Snowball Derby
Two Second Generation Drivers Get Dialed In at Five Flags Speedway
CONCORD, NC (October 17, 2012) – Both David Ragan and John Hunter Nemechek are second generation drivers. Their fathers, Ken Ragan and Joe Nemechek, cut their racing teeth on the country’s short tracks before living the NASCAR dream, setting the stage for their sons to follow similar paths.
David Ragan, has already made the top levels of NASCAR his home. John Hunter Nemechek is only 15 and starting his road towards that goal. Their paths will converge on Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway, November 28th through December 2nd, during the 45th Annual Snowball Derby weekend.
Both young racers recently tested at the Five Flags half-mile and left hoping for success in the most prestigious asphalt short track race in the country.
“We really are just looking at getting me back in the rhythm of running a Super Late Model,” said Ragan. “We know the track will change and there will be more rubber on it in a few weeks, but this was a chance to go over everything before we go to run the race. It’s just as tough to win the Snowball Derby as it is to win a major NASCAR race.”
Ragan has run all 31 events this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranks and recently scored a top five at Talladega Superspeedway (AL). The Unadilla, GA driver has run two prior editions of the Snowball Derby, with his best finish of 18th coming last year.
While the trip to victory lane has eluded Ragan to this point, the hunger only increases every time he can strap into his No. 77 Shriners Hospital for Children Late Model.
“I don’t have any boats or jet skis,” said Ragan. “Short track racing is my hobby. We only get to make about five or six shows a year so we try to make them count as much as we can. We wanted to test to be better prepared for what awaits us in December.”
Ragain considering the Snowball Derby just as tough as any NASCAR event could intimidate rookies like 15-year-old John Hunter Nemechek. But even in his first full year of Late Model racing, Nemechek has proven that he won’t back down from the tough competition. Earlier this season, he battled with NASCAR star Kyle Busch at SPEEDFEST 2012 at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA) and was in position to win the ARCA/CRA Super Series’ Fall Brawl at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) last month.
Nemechek shook down his DAB Constructors/AM FM Energy No. 8 Sunday to prep for his Snowball Derby debut, running the gamut of things to adjust on his racecar to make it fast come Derby weekend.
“It’s a different race track,” said Nemechek. “We did a bunch of different runs. We did qualifying, we did long runs, we did short runs. Any type of run you can think of we did it to get ready for the Snowball Derby.”
A scheduling conflict will put an even bigger emphasis on Nemechek to lock himself into the Snowball Derby field on WXBM Snowball Derby Pole Night on Friday, November 30th. Nemechek currently leads the Allison Legacy Series point standings, a series which holds its season finale on Saturday, December 1st. If Nemechek locks himself into the top-30 in Friday’s qualifying, he can go to Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina Saturday to clinch that championship, and then return to Pensacola for the 300-lap Snowball Derby Sunday.
“There is talent from all around the county that comes to Pensacola to try and make the field,” said Nemechek. “We need to finish off the season at Carolina Motorsports Park (NC) to win the championship. Hopefully we are in the show on Friday night and the car can sit in Pensacola and wait for Sunday.”
The 45th Annual Snowball Derby kicks off on Wednesday, November 28th with the Green Flag Party. As the teams unload and begin the tech process, fans from 5pm to 9pm CT can meet the drivers and see the cars that will compete during Snowball Derby weekend. The first on-track activity comes on Thursday, as practice for the Super and Pro Late Models commences. Later that evening, qualifying and feature action for the Five Flags Speedway Bomber and Sportsmen divisions will take place.
On Friday, November 30th, it’s WXBM Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday’s 300-lap feature. More practice for the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 cars will take place, as well as a full card of Super Stock and Modified action.
Then on Saturday, December 1st, it’s the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 time trials, qualifying races and the 100-lap feature, plus final practice for the Snowball Derby cars and a 50-lap last-chance qualifying race for the Snowball Derby.
Finally, the 45th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 2nd at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
Tickets and reserved camping spots are still available, but are going fast. To order tickets or to reserve a camping spot, call the Five Flags Speedway box office at (850) 944-8400.