Gill Brings Pro Cup Championship Winning Form Back To Derby
After Winning His Fourth Pro Cup Title, Bobby Is Looking For Derby Victory Number Three
Gill proved that he isn’t going to give into the Generation X and Y movements anytime soon by earning his fourth-career USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series National Championship this past season, and beating a 16-year-old in the process of doing it. And even when he’s not racing in the Pro Cup Series, Gill still doesn’t let the kids beat him. He proved it by crossing the line second in last year’s annual Super Late Model bash in Florida, the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
Now, Gill is planning to return to the Derby in 2007 and hopes to earn his third-career Snowball Derby victory in the 40th Annual running of the event. With the kind of year he’s already had, it might not be that difficult.
“The Derby is the last race of the year and it’s a race to go to and just have fun,” said Gill. “I just love going down there. Heck, I’ve won a bunch of races down there. I won in Hooters, All Pro and I have won the Derby a couple of times. We just look forward to going down there and having a good time.”
Bobby Gill drove his #51 to a second-place finish in last year's Derby, even though he eventually got DQed in post race tech, proving that the old guys can still get it done.
Gill has competed in the Snowball Derby a total of 18 times, with his two best finishes coming when he pulled into victory lane in 1994 and 1997. The 2007 race could be his third.
At 49 years old (Gill turns 50 in June), Gill proved this past season that he has no problem competing with kids half his age. Gill won three races in the Pro Cup Series, finished second in the Southern Division point standings, then tore through the Championship Series to earn the National Title. It was Gill’s fourth title overall and first since 2001.
“I couldn’t tell you my secret,” said Gill. “I’ve just been doing it for so long. I’ve just been lucky to be able to do this. I started racing for a living in 1985. I have been doing it ever since. There is nowhere else for me to go, so this is what I have to do to keep making a living and hope I can get three or four more years out of it. To me, the Hooters Pro Cup Series is the place to go for the older guys to race, if you aren’t in Busch or Cup, [and want] to make a living at it.”
If you look at the names that grace the starting lineups of any short track these days, it is obvious that the sport is getting younger and younger. Many fields are filled with drivers 20 years old or younger. Sometimes, they are even 14 or 15-years old. And where does that leave the veterans 45 or older? Well, most people just expect them to fade away. But one driver hasn’t faded away at all. That driver is Bobby Gill.
Gill won his fourth Pro Cup title this season.
Gill has seen plenty of changes in the sport since he started racing full-time in 1985, but he’s always rolled with the punches and found himself being successful.
“What changes I’ve seen has always been for the better. It ain’t been for the worse or nothing. You do it for so long; you just have to change with the times. I am fortunate to get to drive for people who have the money to race and let me do what we need to do.”
One of the biggest changes Gill has been able to see in the Pro Cup Series over the past couple of years in the way the cars have changed and the fact that the series has moved to some bigger tracks, including a date in 2008 at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina.
“I kind of like the bigger tracks better, even though I’m a short track guy. The last couple of times we’ve been to Iowa, we’ve had a chance to win. Then you look at Lakeland; that is one of the biggest tracks we run; and we always do good there (Gill has won 13 races in his Pro Cup career at Lakeland).
“I think Rockingham will be great. Over the years, I’ve watched Rockingham and watched (Dale) Earnhardt and always wanted to race there. So we finally get our chance to go. We can’t run against those guys, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
But before he gets to Rockingham and 2008, it’s off to the Derby for Gill. And hopefully, off to win number three.
“You always want to go down and win the thing. But at least you get some enjoyment out of it, no matter how you do. You have three or for days there where you can just relax and have fun.”
Tickets and RV Parking spots for the 40th Annual Snowball Derby weekend are still available, but they are going fast. Four-day advance Reserved seats are only $70. For more information on tickets and RV passes, contact Five Flags Speedway at 850-944-8400 or order tickets online at www.snowballderby.com
For more information on the 40th Annual Snowball Derby event, contact Matt Kentfield at (704) 788-2134 x 5 and visit www.snowballderby.com.