David Ragan, driver of Roush Fenway Racing's No. 6 Ford, begins his off-season from NASCAR racing by competing in the Snowball Derby, a 300-lap Super Late Model stock car race held annually at the 1/2-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida the first weekend of December.
Fellow Cup driver Kyle Busch won the event last season and many NASCAR veterans from Rusty Wallace to Darrell Waltrip have won the race in the past.
"I have never been down there, and I have built a late model car over the last off-season just to go race around the Southeast and I thought, ‘Heck, let’s go down here and run it,’ ” Ragan said.
Ragan said he has no illusions of going down to the Derby and winning just because he's a Cup driver, but he does enjoy another opportunity for competition.
"The first Cup off weekend in December there is usually no racing going on, so this is the perfect time of year to go race. It is the best of the best of short track racers down there. It is going to be a challenge," he said.
"If it was going to be a cake walk I don’t think anybody would want to go down there. It is a tough race. For me, it is all about learning something else, being competitive and seeing what I’ve got."
Besides more racing, is there anything else Ragan likes to do in the brief NASCAR offseason?
“The biggest thing is to spend time with my family. So much over the racing season they are always second or third," he said. "Anytime I can spend some time with my girlfriend or go back home to Georgia and spend a few weeks seeing my grandparents really means a lot.
"Once Daytona rolls around we are testing and I just don’t get a chance to see them."