Snowball Derby - Josh's Journal
Snowball Driver Josh Hamner's Daily Journal
Editors Note: Alabama driver Josh Hamnner is no stranger to the Derby. He has come to the event for years and qualified for the last-two Snowball Derbies. Hamner moved to the area this year to work with Donald Long. He was also a regular competitor at Pensacola this year.
Hamner will log a daily journal on Speed51.com as he attempts to run the 40th Annual Snowball Derby.
Josh's "LeftHamner" #38 has looked good so far.
Thursday - Day One of Practice with the "LeftHamner" #38
Preparation, does it ever stop? I don’t know where to begin. We’re in a unique position because in that last Blizzard Series race we wrecked our car and we needed a clip on it. We had a jig and everything for the Lefthander stuff, and Blake Bainbridge, he’s helping out Clay Rogers, was joking with me that it’s a LeftHamner now. My dad (Engine Builder Jeff Hamner) not only built the engine in it, but now he put the front clip back on it too. So far so good. We didn’t practice much yesterday because there’s a lot of cars out there and we tested last Saturday, and everything went pretty good. We know we have a good racecar and we just have to fine tune it now and build some adjustment into it. It’s a solid chassis, and now we have to build some adjustment to it for a 300-lap race.
This is one of the most fun races to come to and you have so much going on, like last night at Fast Eddie’s go-kart track. All the other competitors are down from all over,
because nobody else is racing. There’s no Cup races or other races going on, so we got people coming down from North Carolina and stuff. It’s almost like a holiday and everybody’s coming home for Thanksgiving or something. I've got people from all around coming down to see me and help. It is the race of the year. It’s a very fun race.
It would mean the world to me to have my name on that trophy. You got guys like Charlie Bradberry who won it. I think Speed51’s right in the story they wrote by saying that legends are born here. My name being on that trophy would be awesome. I don’t know if I can tell you what it’ll be like until it happens.
Friday - Hamner Overcomes Pressure Packed Qualifying
(Editors Note: Josh Hamner will line up 7th for the 40th Annual Snowball Derby)
I can breathe now. I got a pretty good racecar. I’m not saying I left a lot on the table, but I was just very smooth and very conservative and I just did what I had to do to get into the show. I told my guys that as soon as we win this race, then we can go and try to sit on the pole.
I think we’re starting ninth and there’s a lot of good cars, you know, like Bobby Gill, some big names that are running last chance races tomorrow. It’s just amazing to make it on time and not have to worry about it. We’d like to run a little faster, but you always want to run faster.
When we were done practicing today it was like ‘oh what are we going to do?’. I just didn’t want to hang out there and wait, and I didn’t even want to be around here, so I just got away and talked to a few customers (Hamner Race Engines) and stuff. When it got closer my stomach started knotting up. It’s just nerve-wracking. Just look at the caliber of drivers here. Wow, we’re in the Derby!
Saturday - Day Three Brings A Sigh Of Relief Mixed With Anticipation
All the worries are over with. It’s time to go racing. We’ve just been working on our long runs. My old crew chief, Michael, is back from Joe Gibbs Racing. He came down to help me out. Like I said, all the worries are over. We’re in the show and now we’ve just been fine tuning, and we just turned a few extra laps, and now we’re done. I’m confident we’re ready for the Snowball Derby.
Today was actually one of the easiest days of the whole weekend because we are in the show and we can just sit back and watch.
Josh was a front-runner for the entire Derby.
Sunday - A Successful Derby
Start to finish it was a great Snowball Derby. Friday night qualifying was very nerve racking. You know it seamed like the Derby would never get here but it also went by so fast. We have been working on this thing for the last month and a half trying to get it back together. Also we have been working on Donald (Long) and Johanna’s (Long) cars as well. It seamed like this day would never come and when it finally got here it went by fast.
This was only my third Snowball and it's amazing to look at the caliber of drivers that we raced against today. You know a lot of these guys short track race for a living so they have real good equipment. You've got big names like Eddie Mercer, Jeff Fultz, Augie Grill and Clay Rogers out there. It was a fun race and I can’t wait for next year.