PENSACOLA, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2013)- At first glance the blue prints for the 46th Annual Snowball Derby had Chase Elliott capping off his weekend sweep with his second career Snowball Derby victory and defending winner Erik Jones settling for a solid runner-up finish. However, after Elliott's car failed post-race inspection due to an illegal weight, it would be 17-year-old Jones holding the Tom Dawson trophy for the second consecutive year. The Michigan native's name will now forever hold an elite spot amongst Rich Bickle and Augie Grill as the only drivers to ever win in back-to back-years. Additionally, the talented youngster joins Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) owner Kyle Busch and short track legend Gary St. Amant as the only drivers to win the Winchester 400 and Snowball Derby in the same year.
"A win is a win so we will take it," Jones said. "Sometimes it plays out like this, we all come to the Derby knowing about the Room of Doom and everyone has to pass through it. Getting back-to-back wins at the Derby is really special to not only myself but to Kyle Busch Motorsports, James Finch and everyone at Phoenix Construction. It's extremely hard to do such a thing and really puts a nice seal on the 2013 season."
Jones' No. 51 Phoenix Construction Toyota Camry started the race from the 12th position and had settled inside the top-10 when the first of eight cautions flew on lap 75. In need of some help through the center and off the corners, crew chief Chris Gabehart summoned his young driver down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment.
Emerging from pit road in the sixth position Jones was able to quickly maneuver his way into the top five, where he would remain until the eighth and final caution came out with 20 laps remaining. After another four-tire stop, KBM's driver returned to the track in the fifth position, but was the first car to have fresh rubber bolted all the way around.
The talented youngster maneuvered his way up to the runner-up position with 14 laps remaining, but by the time he got there Elliott had distanced himself by over two seconds. When the race proceeded caution free, it appeared that the No. 51 Phoenix Construction racing team would have to settle for a runner-up finish, until Elliott's car failed post-race inspection. After the No. 51 Phoenix Camry passed inspection, Jones was officially declared the winner for the second consecutive year.
Jones closes out his 2013 season with not only a second Snowball Derby trophy but with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, an ARCA Racing Series, and in the Super Late Model a Winchester 400 trophy to add to his ever-growing collection.
Erik Jones and the KBM Super Late Model program would like to thank the following partners for their support during the Snowball Derby: