Sunday’s 49th annual Snowball Derby will offer a sneak peek of some of NASCAR’s top up-and-coming talent.
The 300-lap Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., frequently referred to as the “Super Bowl of short track racing,” annually features the top short track talent from across the country.
Also usually mixed in are some of NASCAR’s top young prospects.
Recent winners of the Snowball Derby include this season’s Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, Chase Elliott (twice); Truck series Chase contender, John Hunter Nemechek; Xfinity Series Chase contender, Erik Jones (twice); and 2015 Cup series champion Kyle Busch.
This year is no different.
Among the 70 entries for this year’s race are several with NASCAR connections:
Nemechek, 19, a two-time winner in Trucks this season, returns for another attempt at the title. He will also compete in Saturday’s Snowflake 100.
Harrison Burton, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton, who finished seventh in his first K&N Pro Series East season and made one Truck start this year.
Noah Gragson, 18, who will move full-time to the Truck Series in 2017 with Kyle Busch Motorsports and won four races in the K&N Pro Series East and West series this season.
William Byron, 19, a rookie record seven-time winner in Trucks this season who will move full-time to the Xfinity Series in 2017 with JR Motorsports.
Christopher Bell, 21, who advanced to the Championship 4 in the Truck series this season and won last year’s Derby until his car failed to pass post-race inspection.
Todd Gilliland, 16, who won the K&N Pro Series West title this season behind six wins and 11 top-five finishes in 14 races.
Others with NASCAR experience include Brandon McReynolds, Kaz Grala, Dakoda Armstrong, Dalton Sargeant, Corey LaJoie, Ty Majeski, Kenzie Ruston, Grant Enfinger and Spencer Gallagher.
Qualifying for the Derby is 7 p.m. ET. The 100-lap Snowflake 100 is 8 p.m. ET Saturday and the Derby is set for 3 p.m. ET Sunday.