Snowball Derby

The Snowball Derby is a 300-lap super late model stock car automobile race held annually at the Five Flags Speedway, a half-mile paved oval track in Pensacola, Florida, United States. The race has been contested every year since 1968 and is typically run on the first weekend in December, although in some years it has been run on the second weekend.

Snowball Derby
VenueFive Flags Speedway
LocationPensacola, Florida
First race1968
Distance150
Laps300
Most wins (driver)Rich Bickle (5)
Most wins (team)ste
SurfaceAsphalt
Length0.5 mi (0.80 km)
Turns4

The Snowball Derby has a reputation for attracting some of the bigger names in short track racing, including top series NASCAR drivers (when not in conflict with their year-end banquet) because it is run after most tracks and touring series have concluded their season. For example, the 2009 event was won by NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, and also featured Steve Wallace, Bobby Gill, Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth's son Ross Kenseth, David Stremme, and Cale Gale.[1] As a result, NASCAR moved the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup prizegiving banquet to the Thursday instead of Friday, as in years past, in order to allow drivers to participate in the Snowball Derby.

Because of the "all-star" nature of the race, the Snowball Derby is considered by many to be the most prestigious race in super late model racing.[2] Though most drivers entering the race are from nearby states, some drivers travel across the United States to compete, mainly because of the posted awards and super late model rules, which are very similar to each other regardless of track or tours (the United Super Late Model Rules Alliance).[3]

The Snowball Derby has been won by past and future stars of NASCAR, including five national series champions (one Sprint Cup, one Xfinity (and a second who won both a Sprint Cup and Xfinity), two Camping World Truck, total eight national championships), five Sprint Cup Series, two Xfinity Series, and seven Camping World Truck Series race winners. The 1994 Snowball Derby winner was female driver, and future NASCAR competitor, Tammy Jo Kirk. From 2011 until 2014, the Snowball was won by teenage drivers who have since won on NASCAR's national series. In the 2010s, only one driver (2015) was in his 20s and one driver (2017) was in his 30s.

Over the years, the race format has varied between 100 laps, 200 laps, and a unique 300 laps plus additional laps equalling the number of runnings of this race. The format has settled into a straight 300 lap event, though a late yellow flag can create a green-white-checkered finish that extends the race beyond 300 laps.

The Snowball Derby is an independent event, meaning that it is not officially sanctioned (for a fee) by a racing organization. However, it is associated with both the United Super Late Model Rules Alliance and the Southern Super Series, a series of Super Late Model races in the region including Five Flags Speedway, with officials from that series, most notably Ricky Brooks as chief steward, officiating the race. Most Super Late Model races are run with the USLMRA package, regardless of tracks or regional series (although the track requires Hoosier tires, while some tracks may use American Racer or Goodyear), various series will encourage drivers to attend the event (CARS Tour, PASS North and South, Southern Super Series, ARCA Jeg's/CRA). In the past the Snowball was sanctioned by Bob Harmon's All Pro organization, and for one year by NASCAR when it acquired All Pro.

List of Snowball Derby winnersEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kallman, Dave (December 6, 2009). "Rowdy, Prunty and the younger Kenseth". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Panure, Matt. "Midwestern Cinderella Preps for the (Snow)Ball". Racing Online. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2010-12-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ http://www.scenedaily.com/news/articles/sprintcupseries/Kyle_Busch_wins_Snowball_Derby_Super_Late_Model_race_.html
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2012-07-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Chase Elliott wins Snowball Derby". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Erik Jones wins Snowball Derby". Yardbarker. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  9. ^ Inabinett, Mark. "Erik Jones gets second straight Snowball Derby victory after Chase Elliott disqualified". Alabama Media Group. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  10. ^ Bonkowski, Jerry. "John Hunter Nemechek rallies to win 47th Snowball Derby". NBC Sports. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  11. ^ Allaway, Phill (December 6, 2015). "Chase Elliott Wins Snowball Derby After Christopher Bell DQ'd". Frontstretch. Retrieved December 7, 2015.

External linksEdit