CHARLOTTE, NC :: Second generation driver Kyle Grissom has found success in big races before.  He’s a former winner of the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway.  Now, Grissom’s looking to win the biggest Super Late Model race in the country on Sunday in the 46th running of the Snowball Derby.

Grissom, who is the son of former NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Steve Grissom, scored two victories on the season in the PASS South Super Late Model Series tour and six top-five finishes en route to a third place finish in series points.  Grissom’s wins came at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina and Caraway Speedway in North Carolina.  Grissom feels confident about his chances in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Grissom said.  “We tested there a couple weeks ago and we’ve been working for the past month, since Caraway, we’ve been working on the car and getting prepared.  First thing’s first is getting locked in to that top 30.  That’s the whole battle the first couple days.  Everything’s focused on going fast and making qualifying runs on Thursday and Friday.  Hopefully we can get locked in and focus on making the car good for the race.”

Grissom feels the experience he gained in the PASS Series and the level of competition in that tour helps him prepare for the biggest race of his career.

“PASS is a tough series,” Grissom stated.  “You race against a lot of good young guys and guys who have been doing it a long time like Preston and Fogleman.  The PASS deal gets you ready for the competition.  I feel good running the PASS deal.  The main thing in Pensacola is you’re going in to a new territory and guys who race there on a weekly basis.  It’s a totally different deal.  We don’t run on that many big tracks in the PASS Series.  It’s a whole new deal and we’ve got to be aware and ready for it.  I feel like we have our bases covered.  Alex Query is going with us this year.  He’s been down there a lot.  He’s a good crew chief.  We feel good about having him with us this year.  We’ve got high expectations.”

Grissom says it would mean everything to win the Snowball Derby.

“It would mean everything to win this race,” Grissom explained.  “It’s the most prestigious short track race in the country.  If you win the Snowball, it makes your career.  That’s pretty elite company.  My dad raced at the Snowball a lot of years so I grew up hearing stories about how prestigious it is so it’s neat to go down there and hopefully we have a shot at it.  Even if you don’t win, a top five finish there is still a big deal.

“When you go to the Snowball Derby, going to normal races, you’ve got five or six guys you know you have to beat.  When you go to the Snowball, you forget that because you have 66 guys and they’re the best of the best from wherever they come from.  Everyone down there is top-notch and they’ve been working all year long to prepare for the Snowball and they bring the best they have.  You’ve got people from NASCAR ranks also running there.  It’s the most competition I’ve ever run against.  I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I’ll be a part of it with them.”

After the Derby, Grissom will concentrate on next season.  While his plans aren’t solidified, it appears Grissom will continue to compete in the PASS South tour.

“Right now, we don’t have any set plans for next year.  It looks like I’ll be running Super Late Models again.  I’d like to move up but we don’t have anything materialized yet.  We’ll keep running PASS and try to venture out and run some bigger tracks.”

Grissom did comment about the PASS schedule, saying he’s excited about the new venues the tour will visit, including New Smyrna and Lonesome Pine.

“The PASS schedule for next year looks really good.  We get to go to New Smyrna and to these different tracks we haven’t been to the past few years.  That’s really exciting.  Going to different tracks might bring out some new people who haven’t run PASS.  New Smyrna will probably bring out the guys who run there.  I’ve raced at Lonesome Pine and that’s a really fun racetrack.  The PASS schedule looks really good.  It’s neat Tom Mayberry worked to spice it up and go to different racetracks.”

While he’s not certain about next season, Grissom hopes to bathe in the prestige that comes with winning Super Late Model racing’s most important race this weekend.