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Snowball Derby Field Set by Last Chance Race

Jace Hansen, Derek Kraus, Carson Hocevar and Brandon Watson raced into the main event

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Jace Hansen started from the pole of the 50 lap Snowball Derby Last Chance Race and led every lap to advance into the Super Late Model main event.

Joining him in the 300-lapper from the Last Chance Race was Derek Kraus, Carson Hocevar and Brandon Watson. As a result of the finish, they will occupy starting positions 31-34 on Sunday afternoon.

Brad May started on the outside pole but quickly faded. Hocevar ran second for most of the race but gave way to Kraus in the closing laps before holding onto third.

Watson faded in the closing laps and was at risk of losing the final spot to John DeAngelis, who started ninth and methodically worked his way towards the front. He overtook Michael House for fifth on Lap 27 but just ultimately ran out of time.

"I'm just not a good qualifier," Hansen said. "I don't know why. Maybe I get too into my own head. We worked on it all day, thought we had both corners under us, and I left too much on the table.

"We had a good starting spot. Knew we couldn't use the car up, burn the right rear off because it's so easy to do, and tried to stay ahead of some fast guys that we knew would be coming to the front."

Hocevar has won all three CRA Triple Crown races – Redbud 400, Money in the Bank and Winchester 400. But his VanDoorn team struggled at Pensacola over the years and they built a custom car for this race.

Naturally, they blew a gasket right before time trials and needed to fix that to even make the Last Chance.

"Everyone is fighting drive off," Hocevar said. "Do we put drive in or make it turn? Short stint and we wanted it to turn. It turned too well. But we wanted to be third anyway, just in case of a late restart so we could be on the bottom. These guys worked their tails off.

"We are too good this year to be in that race, but I'm kind of glad we were so we could get an extra 50 laps to see what our car did in a race atmosphere."

This is the third time in seven straight appearances that Kraus made the main event via a last chance race transfer.

"That's all that matters, I guess," Kraus said. "You always want to qualify in, but we weren't that fortunate. We used this as a test session to see what it will do. We learned a lot."

Participating in the final race of his storied career, Rich Bickle finished ninth and failed to advance into the Snowball Derby. However, track promoter Tim Bryant guaranteed Bickle a starting position due to his historic accolades at Five Flags Speedway. He has won a record five times in the Snowball Derby and will start 37th.

SNOWBALL DERBY LAST CHANCE RACE

  1. Jace Hansen
  2. Derek Kraus
  3. Carson Hocevar
  4. Brandon Watson
  5. John DeAngelis
  6. Cassius Clark
  7. Michael House
  8. Lee Tissot
  9. Rich Bickle
  10. Boris Jurkovic
  11. Kyle Bryant
  12. Paul Shafer
  13. Eddie VanMeter
  14. Brad May
  15. Perry Patino