Short Track Classic Set For This Weekend at Five Flags Speedway
The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule is a grueling one with 36 points-paying events on it.  Bob Dillner, NASCAR television commentator for SPEED Channel, attended all of those events.  Plus, Dillner covered NASCAR Busch and Truck Series events, several test sessions and press functions, in addition to this weekend’s NASCAR Champions Week festivities in New York City.
While Dillner makes a living working the pit areas of NASCAR’s big leagues, his heart still remains with the short tracks of America.  That is why there is no place Dillner would rather be this Sunday than at the 39th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.  Dillner will be making the trip from New York to Pensacola as a Guest of Honor at this year’s Derby.

“I can't wait to get to the Snowball Derby; it is the most prestigious Super Late Model race of the year in my opinion," said Dillner.  "I missed it last year and that was the first time in about a decade that I wasn't there.  And with our friend Charlie Bradberry (former Snowball Derby winner) passing this year, it is going to hold more meaning than ever for me to be there.  I'll be in New York for the NASCAR banquet again this year and then travel to Pensacola, just like Charlie and I did in 2003 when he won the Derby.  Hopefully there won't be a blizzard this year though."
Bob Dillner, interviewing Tony Stewart after a NASCAR Modified event at New Hampshire earlier this year, will be spending his off-time at the Snowball Derby.  (51 photos)
Track owner Tim Bryant is happy to have Dillner at the race.

“In 2004 we had Bob Dillner with us, he wasn’t able to be here last year, but the rest of the Speed51.com [the short track website co-founded by Dillner] crew was here,” said Bryant.   “As far as Bob goes, we are glad that he is coming back with us this year.  Of course with his presence on SPEED Channel and on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Circuit it brings some credibility along with him.” 

Dillner will get the chance at the Derby to also do what he does best during Cup weekends – talk to racers with a microphone in his hand.

“What we see Bob Dillner doing is for us at Five Flags Speedway is interviewing the stars of the future where as he spends his summer interviewing the stars of today,” said Bryant.

One thing that Dillner has found in the Cup garage is that there is a ton of interest in the Snowball Derby at the top levels of the sport.

"The Snowball Derby is the race that everyone talks about all year long," said Dillner.  "When I'm walking in the NASCAR garages everybody asks about it.  From Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin to Buddy Baker and Scott Wimmer and everyone in between, they all want to know what's the scoop about the Derby.  Tim Bryant and his staff took over the event a couple years ago and they've done a fabulous job with it.  I am honored they have asked me to come down and be a guest of honor on Sunday.  I know I want to be a part of the Derby for years to come."

Dave Mader, III is among the Derby favorites who may get to speak with Dillner in Victory Lane on Sunday.
“We are busy paying attention to what we are doing and we don’t really concern ourselves on what is being said elsewhere, but on the same token I would be lying if I told you that we weren’t aware of what was being said in the Cup garage and that we weren’t proud of that fact,” said Bryant.  “So many of those guys have been through Five Flags and have actually raced in the Snowball Derby on their way to the Nextel Cup circuit and a lot of them are familiar with the event.  The thing has just continued to grow.  I think that is why the Snowball Derby is still a buzzword no matter where you go in racing.”

A few drivers with Cup ties will also be at Five Flags this coming weekend.  Among the entries for Saturday night’s Snowflake 100 is David Stremme.  Former NASCAR Cup drivers Buckshot Jones, Butch Miller and Dave Mader, III are entered in Sunday’s Snowball Derby.

“We have several Cup guys racing,” said Bryant.  “What I tell people is, that maybe the name recognition isn’t there with a lot of guys but this is the most elite short track racers there are in the country so I think that it is really an accomplishment when the NASCAR guys can come in and race wheel to wheel with what are known as the best short trackers in the country.”   

The Snowball Derby features three days of practice and preliminary events that lead up to a 200-lap feature on Sunday, December 3rd.  The race will go green at 2:00pm CT.