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Dreams Come True on Snowball Derby Opening Night

Winning a Snowball Derby is a bucket-list achievement for drivers across all divisions.


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While much of the spotlight is on the Super Late Models who make the trip to Pensacola, Florida for the Snowball Derby, the racing is a big deal for competitors across all divisions. On Thursday night, three drivers claimed Snowball Derby wins in Five Flags Speedway’s local divisions.


In the Sportsman 50-lapper, Jonathan Langham took the lead on lap 19 following an issue for B.J. Leytham, then held off Kevin Mitchell for the victory.

Langham was nearly in tears as he climbed out of his car in victory lane, taking a moment to compose himself with his hands to his face before being greeted by family and friends.

“Now I know how Jeff Gordon felt when he won his first race and cried like a baby,” said Langham. “I have been the bridesmaid in this thing, I’ve finished third, I’ve finished fourth. I’ve destroyed two race cars. I’ve never been able to get this thing.

“My arms feel like Spongebob right now. Something popped in the front end about 15 to go. I had to start driving two-handed. I’m out of shape for that.”

Mitchell was overjoyed with a second-place finish, showing muscle on a long run when it had been a weakness throughout the season.

“All year, I’ve burned the right-rear tire off this thing,” said Mitchell. “We went to work on making it good at the end. I rode the first 15, 20 laps, and that was my goal. We had a goal of being in the top five on lap 30, and it happened.

While Mitchell was happy with second place, he couldn’t help but wish he had been able to finish one spot better.

“He’s my buddy, but dang, I wanted it so bad I could smell it. I could see him getting loose and I was driving the hell out of it. We were a little too tight, but we’ll take it. Maybe the dirt guy is getting better.”

The Pure Stocks closed out the night with a 35-lap feature. James Hollingsworth scored the victory, another first-time Derby winner.

“This is like a dream come true," said Hollingsworth. "I never thought I’d be up here winning a Snowball Derby. I’ve been trying for years, and it’s finally coming.”

Hollingsworth's grip on the lead was briefly in jeopardy, as Colby McDonald moved into the top spot just before a caution flag flew. Hollingsworth would have returned to the front of the field by virtue of leading the last completed lap before the caution, but McDonald brought his car to pit road with a mechanical issue, ending his bid for the win.

“I messed up a couple of times," said Hollingsworth. "I had to tell myself to get out of the mirror. I got hung on the outside passing that lapped car. I don’t know what happened to Colby. He got under me and got the lead. I don’t know if his car cut off or whatever.”

While Hollingsworth scored the win, Cameron Leytham may have stolen much of the attention in the Pure Stock race. He and his team worked furiously to prepare the car overnight after the machine rolled into a hotel swimming pool Wednesday night.

Not only did the team make it to the track Thursday night, but Leytham took the checkered flag in third place to finish on the podium.

“I’d like to thank Shawn Ferguson, Joe, my brother, my dad, everyone who helps us out,” said Leytham. “We worked hard on this thing to get it ready for today, and these guys did not disappoint.

“We drained all the water on everything. It didn’t run its prime, but it works.”

One year ago in the Pro Truck feature, Casey Roderick crossed the finish line first but was disqualified in post-race technical inspection, turning the win over to Gavin Graham. This year, it was Roderick's turn to inherit a victory following technical inspection.

Allen Carter led every lap of the 50-lap feature, but was disqualified following the event due to an unapproved driveshaft. As a result, Roderick claimed the Pro Truck win, followed by Jay Jay Day and Seth Christensen.

"It's definitely not how we want to win them," said Roderick. "We want to win them like we did last year, and not have them taken away. It is what it is. It got taken from me last year, and it got taken from who won it tonight. Rules are rules, and you've got to go by them.

"It feels good to get a win for these guys, especially with what they went through last year with Jason passing away. He used to drive this truck before I came in for last year's Derby race. It was a special win last year, and we wanted to come back and get revenge. We came up a spot short on the track, but we got the win in Jason's name."


1. Casey Roderick
2. Jay Jay Day
3. Seth Christensen
4. Logan Boyett
5. Dustin Smith
6. John Heil
7 . Darryl Rudd
8. Treyce Capers
9. Chopper Stagner
10. Bubba Gale
11. Maddox Langham
12. Presley Johnson
13. Daniel Escoto
14. Chris Wagner
15. Kenneth Canales
16. Dustin Bryson
17. Jason Hasley
DQ. Allen Carter


1. Jonathan Langham
2. Kevin Mitchell
3. Chad Robinson
4. Maddox Langham
5. Robert Loper
6. Corey Boddie
7. Jim Pokrant
8. Parker McDonald
9. Daryl McDonald, III
10. Bubba Hart
11. Brannon Fowler
12. Larry McCraney
13. B.J. Leytham


1. James Hollingsworth
2. Bobby Suarez
3. Cameron Leytham
4. Mike Gorum
5. Robert Balkum
6. Butch Harvell
7. Robert Barber
8. Thomas Norman
9. Colby McDonald
10. Robert Loper
11. Randall Moye
12. Mason Johnson
13. Christian Leytham
14. Dayton Sidner
15. Brad Mosley
16. Caleb Burkett

56th Derby


Watch the 56th Snowball Derby on Racing America