Need a racing fix? Legendary Snowball Derby is this weekend

(Photo courtesy Five Flags Speedway)
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Who says racing for the year is over?

They’re not saying that down in Pensacola, Florida, which on Sunday hosts the legendary and 48th annual Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway.

Race22.com’s Matt Weaver says “the entry list for the 2015 Snowball Derby may be the most impressive lineup in the history of Super Late Model racing.”

The tentative 67-driver field will be vying for the $20,000 prize to the winner.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek will return to defend last year’s Snowball Derby championship in his No. 8 McDonald’s Chevrolet for NEMCO Motorsports.

Since the first edition of the Derby in 1968, there have only been eight repeat winners of the 300-lap event.

“I would not say there’s any extra pressure,” Nemechek said in a media release. “In coming back this week to the Five Flags Speedway, I feel like winning the first Snowball Derby is harder than anything else. The way I look at it, I’m hoping the wins come easier because I know all the little things you have to do to win these races.

“I feel like we have a lot of confidence and momentum coming back to the Five Flags Speedway. Our NEMCO Motorsports Late Model program has always had good cars here, so hopefully that’s a tradition we get to continue this weekend.”

Nemechek, who recently won the 2015 Most Popular Driver in NASCAR’s Truck Series, will also look to take the checkered flag in Saturday night’s Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. Nemechek has a score to settle in that race, as he finished second in both 2013 and 2014.

Among other NASCAR and ARCA notables entered in Sunday’s main event are: Johanna Long, Harrison Burton (son of Jeff Burton), Grant Enfinger, Christopher Bell, Dalton Sargeant, Mason Mingus, Chase Elliott, Rico Abreu, Ross Kenseth, Corey LaJoie and Daniel Hemric.

The Snowball Derby will be broadcast live on Speed51.com on Sunday, beginning with the pre-race show at 1 pm ET. In addition, the Snowflake 100 will be televised live on Speed51.com Saturday at 8:30 pm ET.

Here’s the complete driver lineup for Sunday’s Snowball Derby (courtesy Race22.com):

 Corey Roper; Baytown, TX

 Corey LaJoie; Concord, NC

 Garrett Jones; Mooresville, NC

 Tim Martin; Amite, LA

 David Rogers; Orlando, FL

 Johanna Long; Mooresville, NC

 Logan Boyett; Pensacola, FL

 Augie Grill; Hayden, AL

 Harrison Burton; Huntersville, NC

 Spencer Davis; Dawsonville, GA

 Cassius Clark; Farmington, ME

 Christian Eckes; Middleton, NY

 Quin Houff; Sidney, VA

 Hunter Robbins; Mooresville, NC

 DJ VanderLey; Mobile, AL

 Donnie Wilson; Oklahoma City, OK

 Cole Rouse; Fort Smith, AR

 Josh Bragg; Mobile, AL

 Bubba Pollard; Senoia, GA

 Anderson Bowen; Suwanee, GA

 Caleb Adrian; Walcott, IA

 Kaz Grala; Westbrough, MA

 Jesse Dutilly; Bradenton, FL

 Kyle Grissom; Concord, NC

 Dustin Smith; Mobile, AL

 Kyle Plott; Marietta, GA

 Chad Finley; Laingsburg, MI

 Dennis Prunty; Knowles, WI

 Dennis Schoenfeld; Van Buren, AR

 Derek Thorn; Bakersfield, CA

 Allen Karnes; Sharpsburg, GA

 Brian Campbell; Wyoming, MI

 Chris Fontaine; Lakeland, FL

 Preston Peltier; Concord, NC

 Daniel Hemric; Kannapolis, NC

 Dominique Van Wieringen; Amhertsburg, Ontario

 Jerry Artuso; Sault St. Marie, ONT

 Brandon Oakley; Beavercreek, OH

 Christopher Bell; Norman, OK

 Michael Atwell; Naples, FL

 Stephen Nasse; Pinellas Park, FL

 Boris Jurkovic; Manhattan, IL

 Cole Timm; Mooresville, NC

 Dalton Sargeant; Boca Raton, FL

 Casey Roderick; Lawrenceville, GA

 Clay Jones; Goldsboro, NC

 John DeAngelis; Hubertus, WI

 Paul Shafer, Jr.; Portage, IN

 Jeremy Doss; Upper Lake, CA

 Zane Smith; Huntington Beach, CA

 Kyle Bryant; Navarre, FL

 John Hunter Nemechek; Mooresville, NC

 DJ Hoelzle; Palm Harbor, FL

 Mason Mingus; Brentwood, TN

 Scott Ellis; Forsyth, GA

 Michael Mazzagatti; Clinton, OH

 Roger Reuse; Birmingham, AL

 Chase Elliott; Dawsonville, GA

 Derek Kraus; Stratford, WI

 William Byron; Charlotte, NC

 Ty Majeski; Seymour, WI

 Quinnton Bear; Avon, IN

 Ross Kenseth; Jenison, MI

 Casey Smith; Austin, TX

 JJ Haley; Winamac, IN

 Junior Niedecken; Pensacola, FL

 Brett Holmes; Munford, AL

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.