CONCORD, N.C. – Travis Braden scored a third-place finish in the 56th running of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. 

Braden, who is a setup mechanic for the No. 48 Ally Racing team of driver Alex Bowman, started the event from the 20th position. He was able to avoid two major late-race incidents to move up in the running order in his No. 21 car. The first one on lap 283 collected a slew of cars running from fifth to 12th. The second incident with seven laps to go collected the top-two cars and put Braden third in the running order. 

"We honestly kind of struggled the first 20 laps of a run," Braden told Racing America’s telecast after the race. "We would get so far behind, almost back to the leader and then we could kind of run with them. Not quite what we needed just to start the runs. We dialed that in towards the end and once we got some track position we were able to keep it at the end. 

"I tried my best to stick it out. I haven’t been in a race car much in the last three or four years. It feels really good to be back."

GET TO KNOW: Short-track success aids Braden in transition as No. 48 mechanic

The Wheeling, West Virginia, native won the 2019 Snowball Derby and the 2016 Winchester 400.

He cut his teeth racing in the Legends Cars Series, winning a Young Lions National Championship by the age of 15. When he was 17, he was crowned the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series State Champion for Ohio. In 2013, he moved into the ranks of Super Late Model racing and became a two-time CRA Super Series champion. In 2015, Braden also won his debut in the ARCA Menards Series at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

William Byron spent much of the 300-lap race at the half-mile track in the top 10. However, the 26-year-old driver was caught up in the big wreck on lap 283 and that ended his race with a 22nd-place finish. This year’s Snowball Derby was the fourth time that Byron was in the event. He finished sixth in the 2022 event, which is his best finish in his attempts to win the prestigious short-track Super Late Model race. 

"We were probably going to run about sixth or seventh," Byron told Racing America's telecast of how his No. 24 machine was faring. "We worked on it the whole time and it just sucks to not finish."

RELATED: Recap Byron's 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season

This race capped off a busy week for Byron as he was in Nashville for NASCAR Champion’s Week festivities. His 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season saw him post a series-best six wins while reaching the Championship 4 for the first time in his career and finishing a career-best third in the final standings.