Noah Gragson celebrates his Snowball Derby win with Miss Snowball Derby 2018, Helena Ciappina, before heading to a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series ride next season.PHOTO BY JACOB SEELMAN


Gragson gives KBM back-to-back wins in Late Model showdown


Bad news, good news, Noah Gragson.

Miss Snowball Derby rejected his kiss, but the Tom Dawson Trophy for winning the derby is the only smooch the best short track drivers who travel south to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, each December truly want.

The 20-year-old NASCAR regular held off Ty Majeski on a restart in the Late Model race with six laps to go on Sunday to deliver back-to-back Snowball Derby victories for Kyle Busch Motorsports in his final start for the team before he joins JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series next season.

The boss — Kyle Busch — won the Snowball Derby for a second time in 2017.

But the victory was not without some degree of good fortune as Gragson needed a caution for his strategy to work itself out. That occurred when Kyle Bryant spun in turn three with 20 laps to go.

Pole-sitter Harrison Burton had just taken the lead from Ty Majeski before the previous caution but had used up his final set of tires to get there. Had the race stayed green, Burton most likely would have continued pulling away and won the race.

But with the caution, Gragson and several other leaders hit pit road. Gragson came in third and left first amongst those who came down pit road. He restarted next to Burton on two different restarts and beat him both times.

As a result, Gragson won the Snowball Derby, the fourth for KBM behind the two for Busch, and Erik Jones’ win.

The results are unofficial until after technical inspection and this post will be updated when results are official.

2018 Snowball Derby

Unofficial Results

1.     Noah Gragson

2.     Ty Majeski

3.     Jeff Choquette

4.     Connor Okrzesik

5.     Casey Roderick

6.     Chandler Smith

7.     Donnie Wilson

8.     Tyler Ankrum

9.     Cole Butcher

10. Harrison Burton

11. Jeremy Doss

12. Derek Thorn

13. John DeAngelis Jr

14. Chase Purdy

15. Jesse Dutilly

16. Derek Kraus

17. Jack Dossey III

18. Kyle Plott

19. Spencer Davis

20. Logan Boyett

21. Paul Shafer Jr

22. Derek Griffith

23. Dennis Prunty

24. Kyle Bryant

25. Raphael Lessard

26. Bubba Pollard

27. Stephen Nasse

28. Michael Atwell

29. Corey Heim

30. Kaden Honeycutt

31. Chris Davidson

32. Preston Peltier

33. Perry Patino

34. Stewart Friesen

35. Carson Hocevar

36. Austin Nason