Kyle Busch charged late at 5 Flags Speedway and claimed his second Snowball Derby victory.
The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion entered the prestigious late model race held in Pensacola, Fla., in his own No. 51 Toyota. After Kyle Benjamin practiced the car on Thursday, Busch got behind the wheel for the first time Friday, arriving after the NASCAR awards banquet in Las Vegas where he celebrated a runner-up effort in the championship.
Starting the day 15th, Busch slowly worked his way to the front. After gaining track position, he solidly ran inside the top five for most of the second half of the race and took the lead for the final time passing Jeff Choquette on Lap 284 of 300. Busch went untouched from there.
The victory was his second in the Snowball Derby, having also accomplished the feat in 2009.
“This is awesome. Man, what a day,” Busch said to Speed51 in victory lane. “I didn’t think we had it there for a while, for about 280 laps. Then the final 20, [the car] came to life. Just tried to persevere and save and work my way to those guys and finally be able to get my way around them.
“I wasn’t sure that once I got there I’d have enough to get by them. But they just kind of kept falling off and mine just plateaued and kind of stayed.”
Bubba Pollard finished third with NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Harrison Burton finishing fourth. Cassius Clark rounded out the top five.
Other competitors with NASCAR ties who ran the 300-lap race included Brandon McReynolds (10th), Tyler Dippel (11th), Noah Gragson (12th), Ty Majeski (17th), Spencer Davis (23rd), Corey LaJoie (24th), and Mason Mingus (31st).