December 6, 2013 — Report by Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online with contribution from speed51.com — When it’s your year, it’s simply your year.
And this year has been Chase Elliott’s year when it comes to the Super Late Model majors. After sitting on the pole at the Winchester 400 and the All-American 400, the Dawsonville, GA native notched a third mark on the resume in WXBN Pole Qualifying Friday night for the 46th Annual Snowball Derby by winning the Derby pole for the first time.
The 2011 Derby champion blistered the 58 car qualifying field, setting a new all-time Five Flags Speedway track record with a fast lap of 16.133 seconds. With the Derby pole, Elliott becomes the first Super Late Model driver in history to win the pole for the Winchester 400, the All-American 400 and the Snowball Derby in the same season.
“I didn’t think it would be that fast,” said Elliott post-qualifying. “I knew we could have a good lap, but I never thought it’d be that quick. I’m just proud of the guys for that lap and now we can just focus on Sunday. That’s the main thing. I’m excited about the lap, but it’s just a starting spot.”
Elliott was the last car to qualify and bumped provisional polesitter Bubba Pollard from the top spot. Pollard will join Elliott on the front row after a posting a quick lap of 16.245 seconds.
“Ah, it don’t matter. The race is all that matters,” Pollard said after Elliott bumped him from the top spot.
John Hunter Nemechek and Daniel Hemric qualified third and fourth, respectively. Hemric, the 2013 Sunoco Southern Super Series champion, was the first car to take time and held the top spot for over three-quarters of the qualifying session until he was bumped by Pollard late in the going. Perennial Derby contender Augie Grill completes the top five starters.
The top 30 qualifiers from Friday’s qualifying session were locked into Sunday’s 300-lap main event. Notables who timed their way in on Friday included David Ragan (8th), Grant Enfinger (10th), Ross Kenseth (11th), defending Derby champion Erik Jones (12th), Kyle Benjamin (14th), Ben Kennedy (16th), and Landon Cassill (29th).
Besides the top 30 qualifiers, three more drivers were locked into Sunday’s Derby in the form of provisionals. They are: (Blizzard Series provisional), Donnie Wilson (Southern Super Series provisional), and Clay Rogers (2006 Snowball Derby champion).
The 46th annual Snowball Derby will take the green flag Sunday at 2 pm Central time.
PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America