The preliminary entry list for the 2017 Snowball Derby was released on Wednesday but didn’t include longtime participant and current NASCAR Xfinity Series star Daniel Hemric.
At least, not yet.
The Richard Childress Racing driver has participated in every Snowball Derby since 2012 and has spent the last week debating his return. He discussed the possibility on Wednesday while testing a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He says he spent his final off-weekend of the season in Mexico with his former Super Late Model team owners and the question came up over the weekend.
“That’s really funny you ask because I found myself in Mexico with Jake and Deanna (Carswell,) and they’re going through a rough patch right now in trying to find the next driver to carry their program like we did together,” Hemric said. “So we threw some ideas back-and-forth.
“I don’t feel like I ran enough of those races this year to feel like I’m prepared enough for something like the Snowball Derby. You can’t go down there half-stab, you have to go all-out and be all-in.”
The familiar blue and white Carswell Motorsports No. 98 was driven by four-time World Crown 300 winner Paul Kelley this season but the pairing only produced four top-10s. Hemric hopes any Snowball Derby entry with the Carswells would prepare them for a return to form in 2018. Together, Hemric and Carswell won the 2013 Southern Super Series championship and 12 total races across the Southeast and Midwest.
“So the racer in me wants to do this,” Hemric said. “And to me, Jake and Deanna have done so much for short track racing and if I do what I’m capable of doing, I can put them in position to contend. And hopefully, that puts them in position to be able to find the next driver to do what I’ve done, and that’s make a name for yourself in a Super Late Model and hopefully make it to NASCAR.
“So don’t be surprised if I show up in December.”
In his five Snowball Derby appearances, Hemric has an average starting position of seventh and a best finish of 11th in 2015.
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