David Ragan celebrates 'off-season' with Snowball Derby effort

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR driver David Ragan spends his NASCAR vacation racing Super Late Models at events like the Snowball Derby and CRA Speedfest.

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- David Ragan competed in his first Snowball Derby in 2010 with mixed results driving for veteran Super Late Model owner and NASCAR crew member Richie Wauters.

Now driving for his own team, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran feels like he has put everything in place to win his first Tom Dawson Memorial Trophy.

"The race track changes a lot here in Pensacola throughout the week," Ragan told SB Nation on Tuesday. "We've got a good baseline. It's the same car that we sat on the pole with last year, and the setups are very very close.

"We've tuned on it a little bit, and we just got to see how the week goes."

Ragan's increasing Snowball Derby experience showed last year, when he led the first 31 laps from the pole and finished eighth, despite a slow pit stop toward the end of the 300-lap race. This year the team hopes to improve on managing the tires and the long green flag runs on one of the most abrasive tracks in motorsports.

"These racetracks around the coast area, it seems like they have a more aggressive asphalt," Ragan said. "The Hoosier tires that we have -- they are really fast for a few laps but then they just wear out.

"The rubber's gone, and so you really have to work on your car to get it to handle good for a couple of laps early in the run where you can make moves and pass cars on restarts, but late in the run you can't have it fall off."

Win or lose, Ragan competes in these races for the sheer enjoyment while NASCAR takes a few months off.

"Just being at the short track with some of our friends and family; it's kind of my hobby," Ragan said. "I don't really have a boat or a big beachfront ocean house. We really like going to the racetrack."

The complete video interview that SB Nation's Matt Weaver conducted with Ragan can be viewed below.

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