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Craig Taking the Pressure off Snowball Derby Effort

The PASS and CARS Tour champion is treating Sunday like a Saturday night.


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For the fourth year in a row, JCR3 Racing and Matthew Craig have made the pilgrimage south to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby but are taking a completely different approach this time around.

They are going to try less.

Less practice.
Less overthinking.
Less pressure.

For the second year in a row, the 2021 All-American 400 winners have entered all the Blizzard Series events throughout the year and have pretty good confidence in their car in advance of the week. With a couple of podiums throughout the summer, the Craigs don’t want to overthink it and get in their own way.

"It's tough because I feel like every year we get a good handle on it and then it kind of changes," Craig said. "People get better and we don't. We've had some good runs in the Blizzard races, finished second, third so it's pretty good against tough crowds. Hopefully we have a good piece.

"We're not going to do a whole lot of testing. When we test, we get worse, start overthinking things. Every year we've gone down there, we've had the mentality that it's a huge race and we need to really be prepared and do all this stuff. So, this year, we're just going to go down there and treat it like it's another Saturday night race."

They’ve been pretty good at those over the past decade specifically with Craig taking over full-time driving duties for his tenured family team.

Craig isn't of the mindset that they can make it work out if the car unloads poorly, but they think the seat time gained over the past two years has made them more prepared than testing ever would.

"You need to unload decent, but I think we'll be okay because we've been running the Blizzard races," Craig said. "But if you haven't been racing there this year, or very often, it makes the whole week a lot tougher when you don't unload decent.

"If you're not in the ballpark on Thursday, you're not going to be a race winning car, there are exceptions, but you need to be close to have a shot."

Craig still feels like he should be racing the Derby this year as back-to-back All American 400 winners if not for a race control decision in that race from Nicholas Rogers who will also be calling the Snowball Derby one Sunday.

"I never talked to Nick," Craig said. "My dad wanted to talk to him. I didn't have anything to say over the phone. I'll try to find him over the week at Pensacola. I'd like to let him tell me what his story is. There isn’t much to do about it at this point though."

Regardless, Craig really wants to add this trophy to his large collection, because who wouldn't?

"Oh man," he said. "It would be right beside the Gov Cup and the All American 400. It would be really sweet to have that trophy right there with those. I dream about it all the time and I hope we can do it."