PENSACOLA, Fla. — Georgia driver David Ragan, a Sprint Cup veteran, captured the pole position Friday for the for the 45th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
Ragan was the 29th of the 60 cars to make a qualifying attempt turning a lap of 16.495 on his first lap to bump TJ Reaid from the top spot. He then turned a second lap at 16.485-seconds.
Although there were 31 drivers to qualify after him, including Kyle Busch, Ragan’s time held up for his first career pole position in the Snowball Derby.
John Hunter Nemechek came the closest to knocking Ragan from the pole position with a lap of 16.524-seconds. Nemechek was the 48th driver to post a time.
“It’s a lot of fun coming here,” Ragan said of making another trip to the Florida track. “There are a lot of great racers and great cars here. I want to thank the crew for a lot of hard work.
“This is one of the biggest late model races in the country,” he said. “It’s a cool and a prestigious event.”
Reaid will start third followed by Busch with Chase Elliott rounding out the top five.
The fastest 30 teams are locked into Sunday’s 300-lap race. Mike Garvey, Logan Boyett and Steve Wallace earned provisional spots with the final four positions coming from the 50-lap qualifying race on Saturday.
Nelson Piquet Jr. will start 23rd on Sunday and Johanna Long will roll off 21st.
Ken de la Bastide is a reporter for The Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune.