PENSACOLA, Fla. – If anyone is going to win the 54th running of the Snowball Derby, they’ll have to go through Derek Thorn to do it.
The California driver topped two of the three Snowball Derby practice sessions Thursday at Five Flags Speedway as he looks to win the prestigious super late model event for the first.
Thorn turned the fastest lap of the day in the third and final practice, topping the charts with a 16.443-second lap. He was also fastest in the first practice of the day, where he lead the way with a 16.522-second run around the half-mile asphalt oval.
Corey Heim, the ARCA Menards Series championship runner-up, was second fastest in the final practice session of the day and overall at 16.443 seconds.
Luke Fenhaus, the Slinger (Wis.) Super Speedway super late model track champion and Slinger Nationals victor, was third fastest in the final practice. NASCAR Cup Series star Erik Jones and ARCA Menards Series East champion Sammy Smith followed.
The second practice was paced by two-time ARCA Menards Series West champion Jesse Love with a 16.675-second lap. Perennial super late model contender Preston Peltier was second, followed by Canadian Cole Butcher, Daniel Dye and Thorn.
In the first practice it was Thorn who led the way, followed by Peltier, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Derek Kraus, West Coast star Jeremy Doss and Midwestern racer Casey Johnson.
In addition to leading Snowball Derby practice, Thorn was also among the fastest drivers in practice for the Snowflake 100 pro late model race. Thorn topped the final of three practice sessions with a 17.154-second lap, but it was Brandon Oakley who turned the fastest lap overall at 17.065 seconds during the second practice.
Thorn’s fastest lap of the day in Snowflake 100 practice also came in practice two, where he was second fastest with a 17.074-second lap.