Trackside Now: 40th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway - Saturday AM
Tons of Racing Action On Tap Today, Including Snowflake 100 Feature
40th Annual Snowball Derby
Nov. 28th - Dec. 2nd
Five Flags Speedway
Pensacola, Florida
Saturday, 2:58pm CT – We are now switching over to the PM-version of Trackside Now.  There is a ton of action coming up including Snowflake Qualifying, Snowball last chance races and the Allen-Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. 
click here to go to the PM version

Saturday, 2:58pm CT – David Hole is one of a few drivers attempting to race both big races this weekend.  Hole said he is not too tired and is ready to go.  He is hoping for better luck tonight with his Pro Late Model as his Super Late Model had shock problems in qualifying.

Saturday, 2:55pm CT – Wayne Niedecken, Jr. will not compete in the heat races so he will not be in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby.  The Five Flags veteran stuggled on Friday due to problems with his Trakstar rear-end differential. The problem has led to his decision to pull out of the race.

Saturday, 2:54pm CT – Here is the top three from the final two sessions.  We are still having trouble with the entire list.  If possible, we will upload all practice times from today later this evening.

Session 3: Super Late Models (Pros didn't practice this round)
1st) #82 Grant Enfinger (17.684)
2nd) #66 Steven Wallace (17.689)
3rd) #84 Wayne Anderson (17.693)

Session 2: Super Late Models
1st) #73 Korey Ruble (17.498)
2nd) #54 Johnny Clark (17.577)
3rd) #03 Marr Merrell (17.616)

Session 2: Pro Late Models (final practice)
1st) #6 Brandon Benedele (17.603)
2nd) #77 Brian Campbell (17.646)
3rd) #45 Dwayne Buggay (17.725)

Saturday, 2:45pm CT – Mike Fritts cracked a cylinder head during practice.  After shopping around the infield for an extra head, Fritts’ owner, Chet Morrison, made a phone call to an engine builder in Wildwood, FL to get the necessary part.  Morrison is personally flying down to get it, and they plan to assemble it tonight in preparation for the race tomorrow. 

Saturday, 2:30pm CT – Word is that Kyle Busch got something in his eye during practice.  He apparently flushed out his eye at the track but it was still irritating him.  He went to the hospital to try to flush it out there and get it 100% perfect before returning to the track.

Jason Hogan will run the car in the last-chance qualifier as planned, even though Busch practiced the car today.

Saturday, 2:19pm CT – We apologize for getting the practice times a bit late.  Here are the top 10 times for the first of three total sessions today.

Super Late Models - Top 10 Practice Times  (session 1 of 3)
1.#112 Augie Grill (17.497)
2.#51 Kyle Busch (17.537)
3.#66 Steven Wallace (17.640)
4.#72 Eddie Mercer (17.692)
5.#12 Justin Drawdy (17.802)
6.#84 Wayne Anderson (17.821)
7.#33 Richard Fincher (17.848)
8.#45 Dwayne Buggay (17.874)
9.#18 Hunter Robbins (17.874)
10.#99S Casey Smith (17.897)

Pro Late Models - Top 10 Practice Times  (session 1 of 3)
1.#11 Logan Boyett (17.615)
2.#96 Steven Davis (17.685)
3.#2 Daren Vanderley (17.700)
4.#81 Brandon Odom(17.733)
5.#86 Jimmy Lang (17.794)
6.#112 Augie Grill (17.810)
7.#5 Chase Oliver (17.811)
8.#10 Ryan Crane (17.830)
9.#40 Taylor Satterfield (17.855)
10.#16 Andy Pugh (17.890)

Saturday, 2:00pm CT – With the waving of the checkered flag, the final practice of the Snowball Derby weekend has concluded.  We are going to check in with the officials and our pit reporters to see what scoops are happening.

Saturday, 1:47pm CT – The track is back hot again as the Super Late Models are circulating around the track for their final practice session of the weekend.

Saturday, 1:42pm CT – We are still working on getting practice times from the officials.  They have the times in their system, but are having trouble getting it exported out from their system so we can post them.  We will have them as soon as we can.

Saturday, 1:40pm CT – There is a short break in the action while the officials clear the gates.  We will be back green here shortly for the final practice of the day, ending around the 2:00pm time frame.

Saturday, 1:30pm CT – Practice continues for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models.  Their practice will run up to 2:00pm, when qualifying for the Modifieds is expected to take place.  However we have heard that a funeral is scheduled for 2:00pm next door, and just like the last two days the track shuts down during that time as a courtesy.  The last two days the downtime has been around 30 to 45 minutes, so we will see how much that will move the program.

We will continue with Trackside Now AM coverage until the end of Snowball practice, when we will shift to the PM version for qualifying and the rest of the evening's program, including the last-chance races and the Snowflake 100.

Saturday, 1:18pm CT – We have an update on Casey Smith.  After originally not making the top 30 in qualifying but later made it into the Snowball Derby when a few competitors had their times disallowed, Smith had clutch issues earlier today.  The team is now changing his transmission out and hopes to get out for this last round of practice.

Saturday, 1:15pm CT – Johnny Clark told Speed51.com that they are not planning on practicing any more today. 

Saturday, 1:13pm CT – The Modified practice session is over and the Snowball Derby Super Late Models now are on track for their final practice session.

This is a Snowball only practice as the Snowflake cars are done with their practice and are currenty going through pre-qualifying tech.

Saturday, 1:00pm CT – Joey Logano will not be competing in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby. The original plan was for Stanley Smith to put his #49 in the show and for Logano to take the wheel on Sunday.

Logano flew down from the NASCAR awards banquet in New York with Kyle Busch and arrived in Pensacola around 3AM this morning. Smith was involved in a practice crash that tore the right-front fender off the car.

Logano was shocked to see the #49 car and equipment packed up in the hauler when he arrived shortly after morning practice.

Smith and the team told Logano that they didn’t want to risk wrecking the car in the heat race. Smith was slated to line up 7th in the 25-lapper.

“I was very surprised to see it all packed up,” said Logano. “We tested here with Stanley and were pretty fast. We flew down here from New York this morning and to see it loaded up like that when we got to the track is a surprise. The Snowball Derby is one of the coolest races of the year and I really wanted a chance to run it.”

Saturday, 12:45pm CT – There is still no movement at the back of the #49 hauler as the car sits inside.  The pit box was pushed inside earlier and the back end is all but closed up.  We are still waiting to find out what specifically is going on and if Joey Logano will be racing the car.

Saturday, 12:40pm CT – Speed51.com's Steve Neely has found out a few updates from the pit area.

David Wilson says his #83 car has felt the best it has all week in the last practice session.  He said he has a pretty good shot at qualifying, but his concern is on the race.

Curt Jett packed his #9 Late Model up because his car is slow.  It was a new car that they have been struggling with getting it up to speed since they got it.  He plans to race a Modified today instead. 

Casey Smith lost a clutch in the last few moments of the practice session.

Saturday, 12:32pm CT – The Modified cars are getting ready for their practice session. 

Officials should be getting the practice times for the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models to us shortly.

Saturday, 12:17pm CT – Joey Logano arrived at the speedway and was surprised to see the #49 car loaded up on the trailer and packed up apparently done for the day.  Logano and the #49 team are discussing the situation in the hauler.  As soon as we find out more information we will post it.

Saturday, 12:13pm CT – Dakota Stroup is fighting overheating issues.  The water temperature hit 230 degrees.  The car is very tight and they were working on freeing it up in the final moments of practice.

Saturday, 12:07pm CT – Shane Sawyer went out for a shakedown today.  He is confident he can place his car in the top 30 after being fast yesterday.  All he says he needs is a little luck.

Saturday, 12:02pm CT – The track is currently silent as the Late Model practice has concluded.  The track will be down for 30 minutes for a lunch break and will resume back again at 12:30pm with Modified practice.

Saturday, 11:52am CT –   Zach Stroupe's #51 BDI Racing car suffered some damage this morning during practice, but it didn't happen on track.  The #3 of Blake Williams ran into the left front fender of Stroupe's car on pit road. The damage appeared to be just cosmetic and Stroupe has since returned to practice.

Saturday, 11:45am CT –   Speed51.com's Elgin Traylor checked with the Jimmy Garmon and Eric Courville camps to find out what happened with both of their cars.

Garmon's damage was left over from earlier this weekend.  The team is going to fix it, but they wanted to go out and shake the car down real quick.

On the Courville side, they blew up their new motor.  They are done for the weekend.

Saturday, 11:40am CT –   The officials are working on getting us practice times for the earlier session.  Once we have them we will post them up.

Saturday, 11:38am CT – Jimmy Garmon's #97 car came off the track with the left side front body peeled back.  He is on the way to the pits to get it fastened back down.

Saturday, 11:35am CT – The green is back out as practice has resumed.

Saturday, 11:30am CT – The yellow is out for a big plume of smoke coming out behind the #52 Eric Courville as he entered turn three.  His car was able to make it to pit road, but had to be pushed back to his pit area by a four wheeler.

Saturday, 11:25am CT – The Snowball and Snowflake cars are now back on the track as practice has once again resumed.  This practice session is scheduled to go until 12:00pm.  While the Snowball cars will get one more round of practice, this is it for the Snowflake cars before they qualify.

Saturday, 11:20am CT – The Modifieds have completed their practice.  The Super Late Models and Pro Late Models will be back on the track shortly.

Saturday, 11:11am CT – Kyle Busch is here helping his team work on his car.  Both Busch and Jason Hogan are in their driver's uniforms with the crew.  Hogan was seen with a headset and it appears Busch might have been in the car for part of the first practice. 

We will post more information on the happenings in the #51 pits as things progress.

Saturday, 11:05am CT – Big news in the pits. They are changing the engine in Steven Wallace's #66 car.  The team is taking the engine from Richie Wauter's back up car, the #5 and putting it into the Victor Ford machine.

Saturday, 10:55am CT – Benny Gordon hasn't had a good-handling car since he unloaded here.  While his #1 car looks good with the complete body wrap, it is not handling anything like he wants it to.  When Gordon came in after practice concluded, he exited his car and explained to his crew that it is binding really bad.  He said he doesn't have any roll speed and appears frustrated with the car.

Saturday, 10:50am CT – Bubba Pollard, who has had drama all weekend with rocker arm issues and tech, told Speed51.com's Jason Buckley before the practice session started that the team doesn't have any drama yet this morning.  There are no issues with his car and they were planning on hitting tech one more time then going out on the track.  His black #26 machine did make it out on the track during the first session.

Saturday, 10:45am CT – Josh Hamner, who qualified seventh for the Snowball Derby, decided to wait until the second half of the morning hour to get his car out for practice and shake it down.

Hamner just watched the cars practice from pit road until they were ready to roll.

Saturday, 10:35am CT – Practice has concluded for the early session for the Late Models.  The Modifieds are on the track for their practice.

Saturday, 10:32am CT – Steven Davis was first in line this practice session. The #44 of Mike Williamson pulled up behind Davis and put his nose up against Davis's #96 to have some fun with the driver. The two drivers laughed about it but when Davis shook the nose of Williamson's racecar they realized something wasn't right in the suspension of the #44. So Williamson's crew jacked up the #44 and Davis got under it to make the adjustment right before they hit the track.

Saturday, 10:30am CT – Chris Gabehart, who had his outside-pole qualifying effort erased in tech on Friday night, is back in action today.  The #17 has been on the track several times during practice.

Saturday, 10:24am CT – Many of the drivers that are locked into the Snowball Derby have taken the advice of Derby officials and not hit the track in the crowded early session.  Some of those drivers include polesitter Cale Gale, Matt Hawkins, Johnny Clark, Heat Hindman, Augie Grill and Cassius Clark.

Saturday, 10:19am CT – Wayne Anderson said that he got loose and when he got out of the throttle, Stanley Smith was right up on him and got into him causing the incident.

Saturday, 10:12am CT – Speed51.com was mis-informed this morning, Joey Logano is not here and not driving the #49 car yet. Stanley Smith was behind the wheel when the car spun on the backstretch suffering some right front damage. The damage appears to be cosmetic. We will follow up on the story.

Saturday, 10:04am CT – Chris Davidson has spun on the backstretch and did not hit anything. Justin Marks squeaked by Davidson's spinning car.

Saturday, 9:59am CT – The #49 of Stanley Smith has spun on the backstetch. The right-front fender is ripped off of the car. The damage came when he and Wayne Anderson got together.

Saturday, 9:50am CT – Officials told teams at this morning's drivers meetings that due to the popularity and growth of the Pro Late Model Snowflake portion of Snowflake weekend, to expect a few big Pro Late Model shows at Five Flags next year.

Saturday, 9:45am CT – Morning practice for the Snowball and Snowflake cars is underway. It's a little past the scheduled starting time, but they have begun sending 15-cars out on the track at a time.

Saturday, 9:30am CT – In the drivers meeting Dan Spence advised those locked into the Snowball Derby that they will have a "Snowball only" practice later on today and the morning sessions, which will included those not in the show and Snowflake drivers, may not be a good choice for them.

Saturday, 9:20am CT – Jason Hogan's Butlerbuilt seat is still in the #51 car. The seat is larger than Kyle Busch's seat. The team is keeping Hogan's seat in since he is running the heat race. If Busch wants practice time, they may have to put an insert in the seat.

Saturday, 9:15am CT – Joey Logano's seat is being installed in the #49 car. The team has hinted that it looks as if he will definitely get practice time here in Pensacola and may run the heat race as well. We'll let you know.

Saturday, 9:00am CT – The drivers meeting is taking place down at the tech shed.

Saturday, 8:50am CT – The NASCAR awards banquet is over in New York and two drivers have arrived at Five Flags to compete in the Snowball Derby. Problem is, both drivers are not in the show yet.

2007 Busch East Champion Joey Logano is not in the show. Stanley Smith could not find enough speed to get his #49 in on time on Friday night. The team told us that they will get Logano some practice time today but are unsure if he will be in the seat for the last chance race.  If Logano does choose to run, he will have to start in the rear of the heat race.

NASCAR Nextel Cup star Kyle “Rowdy” Busch is expected to practice his #51 Super Late Model. The car is not in the show.  The team has told Speed51.com that Jason Hogan will race the last chance race instead of Busch so they can maintain their starting spot in that race.

Saturday, 8:45am CT – The Modifieds are in the house. Florida Mods have packed the pit area at Five Flags on Saturday morning. They will have a 75-lap feature tonight.

Saturday, 8:40am CT – Brandon Carlson has finally unloaded his #51 Pro Late Model. The Five Flags regular has been helping his dad, Scott Carlson, tune his Super Late Model. The younger Carlson’s car has been sitting in the trailer for most of the weekend.

Saturday, 8:30am CT – It’s Saturday at Five Flags Speedway and that means a lot of different things to a lot of people. For Snowball teams that aren’t locked into the Derby, it’s time to break out the Tums. For those locked in, it’s a day of getting the car good on long-runs in race-trim.  It’s also a big day for teams competing in tonight’s Snowflake 100. They have two practices to get their cars quick enough to get into the show. Time Trials, qualifying races and the feature make it a very busy day for the Pro Late Models.

Today's Schedule
8:00am - Pits open
9:00am - Driver's Meeting
9:30am - Snowball and Snowflake practice
10:30am - Modified practice
11:15am - Snowball and Snowflake practice
12:00pm - Lunch break
12:30pm - Modified practice
1:00pm - Snowball only practice (final practice session)
Snowflake cars to pre-qual tech
2:00pm - Modified qualifying
Snowflake qualifying (lock in top 30)
Modified B Main
Snowflake Qualifier #1 (25 laps, 3 transfer)
Snowflake Qualifier #2 (25 laps, 3 transfer)
Snowball Qualifier #1 (25 laps, 3 transfer)
Snowball Qualifier #2 (25 laps, 3 transfer)
7:00pm - Allen Turner "Snowflake 100"
Modified feature (75 laps)

Jason Hogan's Butlerbuilt seat is still in the #51.  It appears he will be practicing the car today.
Joey Logano's seat is being taken out of #49 car today.  They put it in last night expecting he would be here this AM, but he isn't at the track yet.
You can see the damage on Stanley Smith's car from the practice indcident.
Kyle Fowler is part of a big field of Pro Late Models at Pensacola for the Snowflake.
Bobby Gill has to race his way into the show.
Benny Gordon said his car was binding real bad after practice.
Josh Hamner watched as the first group of drivers went out for the early practice.
Steven Davis was joking around with Mike Williamson by stepping on the front of his car.  By doing so, he discovered Williamson's shocks were not set right, so he helped him get it corrected.
Zach Stroupe was the third fastest Pro Late Model in yesterday's practice.
Jimmy Garmon's side spoiler wasn't very effective.
The #66 team swapped out engines on his car.
The #49 crew is looking over the damage on the car.  A crew member told Speed51.com that it was minimal damage and could be fixed, but they loaded up the car shortly thereafter.
The #49 crew has loaded up their car.  Neither Stanley Smith nor Joey Logano will race the car today and Logano will not be in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby.
Kyle Busch turned in some fast laps in the #51 car but left the track to visit the hospital because he got something in his eye.
Dave Mader (left) talks to Wayne "Junior" Niedecken.