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November 29, 2023

William Byron, Erik Jones, Carson Hocevar, Ryan Preece among drivers on Snowball Derby entry list

Snowball Derby entry list
William Byron (Photo: Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

Every year, Super Late Model racers from across the United States converge at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida for one of the biggest races of the season. The 2023 Snowball Derby entry list reflects that fact once again.

The Snowball Derby, held annually since 1968, is widely considered the most important Super Late Model event in the United States.

Won by the likes of Darrell Waltrip, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Pete Hamilton, Erik Jones and Donnie Allison, the event always features the best young stars and veterans competing for the right to call themselves a Snowball Derby winner.

This year is no exception, as 52 drivers have filed entries to compete in Sunday’s 300-lap extravaganza. Many of them have NASCAR ties.

Five familiar names to fans of the NASCAR Cup Series are among those slated to take on Five Flags Speedway’s challenging half-mile paved oval this weekend.

They’re headlined by Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, who will once again drive a Super Late Model fielded by team owner Anthony Campi. He’s made three previous Snowball Derby starts, with his best finish coming last year when he crossed the line sixth. He also won the pole for the 2016 running of the event but failed to finish following a crash.

Erik Jones during qualifying of the Battle at Berlin 250 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan on August 9, 2023. (Photo: Nic Antaya/NASCAR)

LEGACY Motor Club’s Erik Jones returns to Five Flags Speedway in search of a third Snowball Derby crown after previously winning the event in his first two starts in 2012 and 2013. He’s made five starts in total and will drive his own No. 4 as he attempts to qualify for his sixth Snowball Derby.

Rising NASCAR Cup Series rookie Carson Hocevar will look to add his name to Snowball Derby lore this weekend in his own No. 14. The Spire Motorsports driver has made four previous attempts to qualify for the Derby, but he only managed to qualify twice, in 2018 and 2021. His best effort came in his last attempt in 2021, when he finished seventh.

Noah Gragson is another previous Snowball Derby winner looking to take home another Tom Dawson Trophy. Gragson, who most recently drove for LEGACY Motor Club in the NASCAR Cup Series, has made six attempts to qualify for the Derby, succeeding five times. He won the 2018 edition of the event while driving for Kyle Busch.

Lastly, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Preece returns to Five Flags Speedway as he looks to qualify for his third Snowball Derby aboard Kevin Harvick’s No. 62. He made his Derby debut in 2008 with a 14th-place effort and returned again in 2021, finishing fourth.

Those five are hardly the only familiar faces looking to earn a starting position in Sunday’s Snowball Derby. Among the entries are four other previous Snowball Derby winners.

Ty Majeski during the ASA STARS National Tour ECMD 150 at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 16, 2023. (Adam Fenwick/NASCAR)

Ty Majeski, who drives for ThorSport Racing in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, won the Snowball Derby in 2020 and is back chasing his second title. Defending winner Derek Thorn, who has led a whopping 851 laps in the last three Snowball Derbys, will attempt to win his second Tom Dawson Trophy on Sunday.

Also entered is 2019 winner Travis Braden and 2007-08 victor Augie Grill, both of whom should be considered contenders to win Sunday.

Sammy Smith, a two-time ARCA Menards Series East champion and future driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will attempt to qualify for his third Snowball Derby after finishing second one year ago.

Reigning ARCA Menards Series East champion William Sawalich, reigning NASCAR Canada Series champion Treyten Lapcevich, NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series winner Derek Kraus, ARCA Menards Series winner Luke Fenhaus, CARS Tour champions Carson and Caden Kvapil, and ARCA Menards Series East winner Jake Finch all are also entered.

Last, but certainly not least, are the strong contingent of Late Model racing stars who are looking to win the Snowball Derby for the first time.

Among them are men like Gio Ruggiero, Bubba Pollard, Michael Hinde, Matthew Craig, Stephen Nasse, Preston Peltier, Hunter Robbins, Derek Griffith and Cole Butcher.

Below is the complete entry list for the 56th annual Snowball Derby, which features 52 drivers from 20 states as well as Canada and Mexico who will be vying for 36 starting positions in Sunday’s race.

2023 Snowball Derby entry list

Car No. Driver Home
1 Michael House Columbia, TN
2 William Sawalich Eden Prairie, MN
2 John Bolen Jasper, AL
4 Erik Jones Charlotte, NC
5 Andrik Dimayuga Mexico City, Mexico
7 Jackson Boone Franklin, TN
7 Derek Thorn Bakersfield, CA
08 Jace Hansen Berthoud, CO
9 Derek Kraus Stratford, WI
12 Derek Griffith Hudson, NH
14 Carson Hocevar Portage, MI
14 Connor Okrzesik Grand Bay, AL
16 Jacob Gomes Manteca, CA
18 Chase Burda Richmond, MI
18 Hunter Robbins Pensacola, FL
21 Travis Braden Wheeling, WV
22 Gio Ruggiero Seekonk, MA
22 Sammy Smith Johnston, IA
23 Billy VanMeter Indianapolis, IN
23 Ed VanMeter Indianapolis, IN
24 William Byron Charlotte, NC
26 Bubba Pollard Senoia, GA
26 Luke Fenhaus Wausau, WI
27 Travis Rodewald Manitowoc, WI
28 Cole Butcher Hansport, Nova Scotia, Canada
28 Timothy Watson Panama City, FL
30 Noah Gragson Charlotte, NC
32 Stuart Dutton Tallahassee, FL
32 Caden Kvapil Mooresville, NC
32 Treyten Lapcevich Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
33 Albert Francis Painesville, OH
33 Dustin Smith Mobile, AL
35 Jake Garcia Monroe, GA
36 Carson Kvapil Mooresville, NC
44 Conner Jones Fredricksburg, VA
44 Jeremy Doss Upper Lake, CA
48 Allen Karnes Sharpsburg, GA
48 Preston Peltier Johnstown, CO
50 Jett Noland Groveland, FL
51 Stephen Nasse Pinellas Park, FL
51 Jake Finch Lynn Haven, FL
54 Matthew Craig Concord, NC
54 Conner Sutton Pensacola, FL
55 Haeden Plybon Deer Park, WA
58 Johnny Aramendia New Braunfels, TX
62 Ryan Preece Kannapolis, NC
63 Kole Raz Lake Oswego, OR
69 Michael Hinde Hernando, FL
74 Ryan Moore Mooresville, NC
91 Ty Majeski Neenah, WI
98 Blaine Rocha Oakdale, CA
112 Augie Grill Hayden, AL