Upcoming Events on

RATV white
Full Schedule

Noah Gragson Ready for Fun, Challenging Snowball Derby

Noah Gragson knows how demanding the Snowball Derby can be, but he's determined in his pursuit of a second Tom Dawson trophy.


hero image for Noah Gragson Ready for Fun, Challenging Snowball Derby

In six appearances in the Snowball Derby, Noah Gragson has seen the highs and lows.

Gragson won the prestigious event at Five Flags Speedway in 2018, taking the lead from Harrison Burton on a late restart. Just two years later, he was watching the race as a fan after finishing sixth in a Last Chance Qualifier that featured the likes of NASCAR champion Chase Elliott, future Snowball Derby winner Chandler Smith, and two-time Derby winner Augie Grill.

All of these experiences have given Gragson an extra layer of appreciation for the Snowball Derby, each and every year.

“I think this is my seventh or eighth Derby. It’s such a fun week, but it’s a tough week, too,” Gragson told Racing America. “The track changes so much, so you have to stay on top of it.

“I thought I appreciated the history of this race after we won. When I came back here in 2020, we had won in 2018, I missed a year at a wedding in Mexico in 2019. In 2020, I was the first guy to miss the race in the B-Main.”

If anything, missing the race in 2020 only made it more evident to Gragson the energy surrounding Snowball Derby race day.

“To watch it from the infield on race day [in 2020], I had never watched the Derby. I parked down by the Interstate, walked a mile and a half to the track that morning, three hours before the green flag. The amount of people here, the excitement. I’m very passionate about this race and grateful to come back for another year.

“I wasn’t around really then, but it feels like a 1990s Cup race. The atmosphere is different. I remember walking into my first Derby and thought I understood what it was. The year we missed it and seeing the level of commitment and passion from all these fans. People that were strangers at once have now became friends.”

Gragson returned in 2022, finishing 20th after an impressive top-five effort in qualifying. Preparing for this year’s race, Gragson has been rewatching the 2022 broadcast throughout the week in his pursuit of a second Tom Dawson trophy.

“I’ve put a lot of time and effort and preparation in. I’ve already watched last year’s race four times throughout this week, every night. Being able to find different little things.

“This place feels like a completely different race track every day you get on it, it changes so much. Just trying to be aware, seeing how other guys run this place and learn stuff off them, that’s what I’m paying attention to.”

Ultimately, the Snowball Derby is a race Gragson always has circled on his calendar. As challenging as the race and the competition may be on the track, the atmosphere and energy surrounding the event also make it one of his most enjoyable weekends of the year.

“Tim Bryant and the rest of the crew here at Five Flags Speedway do an unbelievable job. It’s a race I hope I never miss for years to come. It’s a privilege to be here, but it’s also so much damn fun and I really enjoy coming down here to Five Flags Speedway.”

-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America

56th Derby


Watch the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Racing America