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2013 Snowball Derby: The Qualifying Draw

Even though it's completely random, the qualifying draw that took place on Wednesday night for the Snowball Derby has its own implications for Friday's ever important qualifying session. Drawing late versus early could perhaps make the difference in making the top thirty or being forced to compete through Saturday's last chance race.

Streeter Lecka

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- In 2012 Snowball Derby pole sitter David Ragan went out 36th in the qualifying order, a position near the middle of the session and around the time when the sun has gone down after the 5:00pm start.  What do the drivers want when they draw for their order?

"I don't want to be first and don't want to be last," echoed Ragan as well as a handful of other competitors.

Ragan drew a 19 for this year's session, while Johanna Long drew around Ragan's order last year with a 37.  Long reunites with Freddie Query, her crew chief when she was fast qualifier in 2009.

One driver was not as lucky.  2013 Southern Super Series champion Daniel Hemric drew the number one from the selection of Jack Link's bags, ironically his sponsor in addition to the sponsor for the qualifying draw this year.

Historically, going out early in the session has not proved to be as advantageous.  With the sun still setting at the five o'clock hour, the track is not always in optimal condition for faster speeds as it is late in the session when it has gone down.

Despite pulling a number for early in the session, defending Snowball Derby winner Erik Jones didn't seem very concerned due to the weather conditions expected throughout the week.

"I wish it would have been a little later, but we'll take it," said. Jones. "I think with the way it's been a little damp this year we'll be alright."

Perhaps the early favorite for the pole is 2013 All-American 400 winner Chase Elliott.  Elliott was not in attendance, but Miss Snowball Derby Shailee Cole drew a 74 for him, the next to last car to go out to qualify.  Elliott was fast qualifier for the Winchester 400 and did the same when he went out late in the session at Nashville.

Other notables pulling numbers for late in the session included 2012 outside front row starter John Hunter Nemechek, two-time Snowball Derby winner Augie Grill, and track record holder and former fast qualifier Bubba Pollard.

Continuing coverage of the Snowball Derby can be found on the Ranting and Raving short track blog. Visit our Facebook page for all the updates and links to our stories leading up to the Super Bowl of Short Track Racing.

The full qualifying order can be found below.  Any additional or late entries will move to the beginning of the qualifying order.

  1. Daniel Hemric
  2. Austin Theriault
  3. Boris Jurkovic
  4. Zak Hausler
  5. Dakoda Armstrong
  6. Donnie Wilson
  7. Jeremy Pate
  8. Erik Jones
  9. Kyle Bryant
  10. Jerry Artuso
  11. Mason Mingus
  12. Casey Smith
  13. Cole Powell
  14. Chad Finley
  15. David Ragan
  16. Paul Shafer, Jr.
  17. Stephen Nasse
  18. T.J. Reaid
  19. Clay Rogers
  20. Dwayne Buggay
  21. Chris Wimmer
  22. Justin South
  23. Spencer Davis
  24. Mark Kraus
  25. Tim Martin
  26. Hunter Robbins
  27. Steve Dorer
  28. John Flemming
  29. Kyle Grissom
  30. Johanna Long
  31. D.J. VanderLey
  32. Derek Thorn
  33. Chris Davidson
  34. Logan Boyett
  35. Ben Kennedy
  36. Alex Labbe
  37. Brady Boswell
  38. Landon Cassill
  39. Junior Niedecken
  40. D.J. Shaw
  41. Mike Garvey
  42. Preston Peltier
  43. Allen Karnes
  44. Kyle Benjamin
  45. Mason Massey
  46. Josh Hamner
  47. Scott Mulkern
  48. Cale Gale
  49. Anderson Bowen
  50. Dennis Schoenfeld
  51. Ross Kenseth
  52. Bubba Pollard
  53. Augie Grill
  54. Grant Enfinger
  55. Nathan Davis
  56. John Hunter Nemechek
  57. Lonnie Sommerville
  58. Dalton Grindle
  59. Jeff Fultz
  60. David Rogers
  61. Chase Elliott
  62. Tyler Miles