(Editor’s Note: Snowball veteran and local fan favorite Junior Niedecken will tell his Derby tale right here on Speed51.com. We'll follow along with Junior after each day, right here on Speed51.com)
SUNDAY, DEC. 4
We’re just trying to get everything ready for the race right now. We had to run the consi last night to get into the show. We got into a little skirmish on the initial start. A guy cut down on top of me and it kind of bounced me into the inside wall. We’re just making sure everything’s cool with the car.
Junior Niedecken (right) talks with Dave Mader III race day morning. (51 Photots)
The car drove good last night, it was a little tight off, but if you want any problem at Five Flags, tight is an okay one to have. I really feel like we have a good race car for today. Starting that far back we just have to stay out of trouble, keep the nose clean, and not get too excited. I’ve done this enough, I never get too excited.
If you’ve been racing for 31 years and grew up around a race track, you know how to run a long distance race. I’m a better long distance racer than I am a little short racer. I just have to step up my qualifying effort. Sometimes I can bonzai it, sometimes I can’t. I just took it a little easy in my qualifying run and didn’t get in and had to go through the consi. Today I think we’ll have a good car.
Junior Niedecken has been around the Derby for quite some time. (51 Photots)
They are starting earlier and earlier in go-karts and Legends cars. They are learning controllability. The best car they can get into for that is a Legends car. It is such a short, twitchy car. The guys that come out of those cars seem to be pretty good. You have probably five or 10 of those youngsters in there, then you have a bunch of us old guys. The biggest thing the youngsters have to learn is patience. The veterans know patience. You have a few of them are pretty savy.
Overall, from the first Snowball to this Snowball, it isn’t much different. Everyone who is anyone comes from everywhere. The biggest thing that has changed is the racetrack and the technology. Technology has really changed.
FRIDAY, DEC. 2
We had a good car in practice. We did a mock qualifying run and the car was pretty good. It stayed off the race track and turned in the center of the corner. The driver just didn’t drive the car hard enough in qualifying. I left something out on the table and it is haunting me right now. I’m somewhere around 35th, so I left something out there.
Junior Niedecken had a tough day on Friday. (51 Photots)
I’ll just go out there tomorrow and get my car running good and think about what I’ve got to do during that race. Hopefully the car is good enough to stay under me for however many laps it is. Hopefully, I can get the car good enough for that race and hopefully win the thing or just finish up there and stay out of trouble. I just want to get into the show.
There isn’t really anything we can learn in that (last chance) race. It is late in the afternoon where we race during the afternoon on Sunday. The track is slicker during the day and it is supposed to be around 70 on Sunday. We just have to stay out of trouble and keep from getting knocked around. There are some good cars that are going to be in that race too.
I am disappointed. There are a bunch of other guys in this pit area that are just as disappointed as me. I just didn’t drive it hard enough. Nothing you can do about it now.
THURSDAY, DEC. 1
You have a lot of young lions out there. Heck, I still call them kids. They are trying to make a name for themselves. There are some pretty good little shoes out there.