Clay Jones qualified 15th for the 49th Snowball Derby, which was supposed to be run on Sunday afternoon. Instead of starting the race and contending for the win, Jones will be at his home in Goldsboro, North Carolina instead.
The Snowball Derby was supposed to be run on Sunday afternoon but persistent rain in Pensacola, Florida forced race officials to postpone the race until Monday night. However, continued persistent rain has cast doubt on whether the race can be run on Monday either. That forced Jones to relinquish a chance of victory.
(UPDATE: The Snowball Derby has been postponed to Tuesday night)
Well after everybody busting their butts for six long days, not only making the race out of 58 of the best super late model teams in the country, but the best starting spot we have ever had qualifying in on time (15th) here at the Snowball Derby with a car I truly believe had a chance a winning the damn thing,” Jones said in a Facebook post. “We are pulling out of line and heading home because that’s what Curtis Venable wants to do. All of the hard work we put in, guys missing work because we all have regular 9-5 jobs and to just pack up and leave one day from the 49th Snowball Derby.”
Jones continued, apologizing to fans for withdrawing from the event.
“I’m sorry to all of the friends, family, and fans that have paid to watch us race on the live stream,” Jones continued. “The ‘Blue Goose’ will be back next year looking better and stronger than ever. I am truly thankful for all the opportunities that he has given me and wouldn’t have been able to do them without him. But it goes back to having fun and if you’re not having fun the you shouldn’t do it. I think this situation kind of speaks for itself.”
Jones’ car owner, Curtis Venable, said in a Facebook post that the decision was due to the forecast, which is calling for more rain on Monday night.
“With more bad weather in the forecast I have made an executive decision to pack up and head home,” Venable said. “Several of us are flying of course the weather is s***ty for flying as well, this has been a bad week here. Hats off to the track and officials for doing everything they could to get the track ready yesterday. I’ll be ready for Snowball Derby 2017.”Top of Form
Jones was poised to be a potential spoiler in a race that features heavy hitters such as John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell and William Byron, among others. He finished 15th in the Snowball Derby last year, driving for Venable.
Jones is a regular in the Late Model scene in the Carolinas, having competed in the CARS Super Late Model Tour for the past two seasons. Jones continues to race in Limited Late Models on a part-time basis – having scored a win at Carteret County Speedway back in September.
The 49th Annual Snowball Derby is currently scheduled to take place at 6pm EST on Tuesday, December 6th. The race will be broadcast live in its entirety on Speed51.com.