Trackside Now: 40th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway - Saturday PM
Snowflake 100 Qualifying and Last Chance Races for the Flake and the Ball   (click here for Saturday AM Trackside Now)
40th Annual Snowball Derby
Nov. 28th - Dec. 2nd
Five Flags Speedway
Pensacola, Florida
Saturday, 3:50pm CT – One of the drivers attempting to qualify for the Snowflake 100 tonight is 15-year-old Zach Stroupe.  The young driver from Iron Station, North Carolina drives for BDI Racing, a team owned by SPEED commentator and Speed51.com co-founder Bob Dillner. 

Stroupe has an interesting crew helping get his #51 Lone Star Steakhouse of Pensacola / Hertz of Pensacola Chevrolet up to speed.  Besides his parents, Stroupe has Speed51.com’s Jeremy Troiano and Matt Kentfield wearing the BDI Racing shirts this weekend instead of covering the Snowball Derby events.  John from the SPEED Road Tour Challenge is helping the team this weekend and Nick Stroupe, Zach’s younger brother that also races for BDI Racing in the Legends Car and Pro Challenge Series, is on site to help out.  Dillner’s family is also on hand to cheer on BDI Racing in their first attempt at the Snowflake 100.

Bob Dillner’s brother Matt is also here as part of the Speed51.com crew covering the Snowball Derby week.  While he has been focused on taking photos and grabbing scoop from the pit area this weekend, he is anxiously watching his brother’s race team to see if they will make it into the show.

Stroupe has been in the top 10 in practice sessions over the last few days.

Saturday, 3:20pm CT – Qualifying for the Modifieds is under way.

Saturday, 3:14pm CT – A little note came in from the track officials.  Apparently the #47 of Brian Campbell, the #14 of Ken McFarland, the #1 of Tim Martin and the #91 Heath Hindman all chose to not run with transponders during their practice sections today.

Saturday, 3:04pm CT – Here is the remaining schedule for the day.  Modified qualifying was supposed to start at 2:00pm, but the program was a bit behind, then the funeral next door shut down the track's activities.  We are still in a holding pattern as of now.

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)

Saturday, 12:17pm CT – We have switched to the PM version of Saturday's Trackside Now from Five Flags Speedway for the Snowball Derby event.

For the AM news and information, CLICK HERE.
Zach Stroupe has many hands this weekend attempting to get the BDI Racing #51 Chevy into the show, including Speed51.com's Bob Dillner Jeremy Troiano and Matt Kentfield.
Ken McFarland didn't use a transponder for the practice sessions on Saturday.
Saturday, 7:25pm CT – You couldn’t wipe the smile off of 15-year-old DJ Vanderley’s face when he was announced the official pole sitter for the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100.  
 
Before qualifying, the high school student was very nervous. Those nerves provided a very interesting qualifying run for DJ and the #2 Team.  DJ took the green and put down the quickest lap (17.230) of the night knocking Snowball pole sitter Cale Gale off the Snowflake pole. He then turned off the engine and elected not use his second lap.  This is where it gets interesting, DJ’s father, Dan Vanderley told Speed51.com that his son did not want to hear his lap on the radio. When DJ didn’t come around again, Dan keyed the radio and said, “DJ?” He replied, “Yeah dad.” Dan, “You ok?” The son replied “Yeah.” “Are you ok?” asked Dan. DJ then replied, “Yes.” “Did you crash?” asked the father. “No.  Oh, did I only run one lap?” 
 
The nerves seemingly got to Vanderley when he hit the track causing him to only run one lap. Those same nerved DJ admitted might have also helped him lay down such a blistering time.

Saturday, 7:15pm CT – The B Main has completed for the Modified feature, which takes place later tonight.

The next action on the track are the two last-chance races for the Snowflake 100.  We are currently in a holding pattern.  We will update with more shortly.

Saturday, 7:00pm CT – Brandon Kelley decided to make his qualifying run interesting.  On his warm-up lap he lost it off turn four and ended up spinning all the way down the front stretch past the flag stand.  He was able to keep it off the wall, put it in gear and continued on to complete his qualifying session.  Unfortunately his time was only 35th fastest, so he will have to race his way in the field.

Saturday, 6:52pm CT – Drew Brannon did run two laps in qualifying, but his times were disallowed as he had the wrong rev-limiter chip in the car.

Saturday, 6:46pm CT – The Modified B Main is on the track. 

Our pit reporters have talked to Snowflake 100 pole setter DJ Venderley.  We will have reaction from the pits shortly.

Saturday, 6:30pm CT – Qualifying for the Snowflake 100 has completed here at Five Flags Speedway.  DJ Vanderley has taken the pole position for the race.  Below is the complete list from qualifying.  The top 30 are locked into the field.  The remainder will have to race their way in through the last-chance qualifier races.  The exceptions are the provisionals.  Sammy McMullen and Hal Martin receive the provisionals (they will start 37th and 38th) and David Hole will start 39th on the field as the past champion’s provisional.

1 2 DJ Vanderley ( 17.23 ) - Pole
2 33G Cale Gale ( 17.238 )
3 112 Augie Grill ( 17.31 )
4 38 Shane Sawyer ( 17.324 )
5 23 Paul Kelley ( 17.351 )
6 96 Steven Davis ( 17.375 )
7 4F Kyle Fowler ( 17.393 )
8 44W Mike Williams ( 17.435 )
9 40 Taylor Satterfield ( 17.446 )
10 86 Jimmy Lang ( 17.454 )
11 26 Bubba Pollard ( 17.47 )
12 36 Keith Thorpe ( 17.481 )
13 18S Ronnie Sanders ( 17.498 )
14 51C Brandon Carlson ( 17.507 )
15 12 Joey Senter ( 17.512 )
16 43 Richard Johns ( 17.512 )
17 6 Brandon Bendele ( 17.545 )
18 44B Wes Burton ( 17.577 )
19 14 Brent Seeley ( 17.591 )
20 94 Mitch Cobb ( 17.596 )
21 72 Greg Leachman ( 17.602 )
22 145 Billy Melvin ( 17.603 )
23 44P Michael Pope ( 17.632 )
24 61 Joey Watkins ( 17.633 )
25 10L Johanna Long ( 17.64 )
26 11B Logan Boyett ( 17.65 )
27 16 Andy Pugh  ( 17.651 )
28 83 David Wilson ( 17.658 )
29 77 Brian Campbell ( 17.676 )
30 96 Chris Davidson  ( 17.687 )
(below are not locked in, unless noted)
31 0 David Hole ( 17.69 ) – Past Champion’s Provisional (starts 39th)
32 11 Vance Noland ( 17.695 )
33 10C Ryan Crane ( 17.701 )
34 115 Lloyd Alexander ( 17.702 )
35 71B Brandon Kelley ( 17.712 )
36 17 Sam "Shanky" Smith ( 17.718 )
37 02 Matt Smith ( 17.735 )
38 40 Brad Webb ( 17.737 )
39 1 Stephan McCurley ( 17.737 )
40 28 Jack Smith ( 17.755 )
41 51S Zach Stroupe ( 17.762 )
42 97 Jimmy Garmon ( 17.81 )
43 5 Chase Oliver ( 17.838 )
44 51W Wyatt Webb ( 17.844 )
45 81 Brandon Odom ( 17.845 )
46 51M Sammy McMullen ( 17.873 ) – Provisional (starts 37th)
47 27 Jason Young ( 17.938 )
48 39 Scott Patton ( 17.986 )
49 22 Mike Bargo ( 18.019 )
50 4R Bobby Reuse ( 18.025 )
51 14 John Wilkenson ( 18.053 )
52 45 Dwayne Buggay ( 18.079 )
53 71J Shannon Jackson ( 18.08 )
54 33D Nathan Davis ( 18.092 )
55 39 Hal Martin ( 18.107 ) – Provisional (starts 38th)
56 76 Gary Greenwood ( 18.132 )
57 3 Blake Williams ( 18.157 )
58 64 David Jones ( 18.192 )
59 46 Ron Joyner ( 18.218 )
60 25 Brent Downey ( 18.24 )
61 28 Tommy Praytor ( 18.242 )
62 71D Donny Kelley ( 18.319 )
Disqualified - 108 Drew Brannon ( time DQed for unknown reason )
47 Dakota Stroup ( no time )
65 24 Dennis Royce Harry ( no time )
66 18C Eddie Craig ( no time )
67 02 Steve Renner ( no time )
68 52 Eric Courville ( no time )

Saturday, 6:00pm CT – Word from the pits is the Kyle Busch is back from hospital.  He went there to get his eye flushed out due to getting debris in it during practice.

Saturday, 5:55pm CT – DJ Vanderley has kocked Cale Gale off the pole with a 17.230 second lap.  He was the 41st driver to time in, so there is still plenty of shuffling going on.

Saturday, 5:52pm CT – With 40 qualified so far, here is how they stack up.  Only the top 30 get locked in the show.  The remainder will have to race their way in through the last chance races.

1 33G Cale Gale ( 17.238 )
2 112 Augie Grill ( 17.31 )
3 38 Shane Sawyer ( 17.324 )
4 23 Paul Kelley ( 17.351 )
5 96 Steven Davis ( 17.375 )
6 4F Kyle Fowler ( 17.393 )
7 36 Keith Thorpe ( 17.481 )
8 18S Ronnie Sanders ( 17.498 )
9 12 Joey Senter ( 17.512 )
10 43 Richard Johns ( 17.512 )
11 72 Greg Leachman ( 17.602 )
12 145 Billy Melvin ( 17.603 )
13 61 Joey Watkins ( 17.633 )
14 10L Johanna Long ( 17.64 )
15 16 Andy Pugh  ( 17.651 )
16 83 David Wilson ( 17.658 )
17 77 Brian Campbell ( 17.676 )
18 96 Chris Davidson  ( 17.687 )
19 0 David Hole ( 17.69 )
20 10C Ryan Crane ( 17.701 )
21 71B Brandon Kelley ( 17.712 )
22 17 Sam "Shanky" Smith ( 17.718 )
23 40 Brad Webb ( 17.737 )
24 28 Jack Smith ( 17.755 )
25 51S Zach Stroupe ( 17.762 )
26 97 Jimmy Garmon ( 17.81 )
27 5 Chase Oliver ( 17.838 )
28 81 Brandon Odom ( 17.845 )
29 51M Sammy McMullen ( 17.873 )
30 27 Jason Young ( 17.938 )
31 39 Scott Patton ( 17.986 )
32 22 Mike Bargo ( 18.019 )
33 4R Bobby Reuse ( 18.025 )
34 14 John Wilkenson ( 18.053 )
35 45 Dwayne Buggay ( 18.079 )
36 71J Shannon Jackson ( 18.08 )
37 39 Hal Martin ( 18.107 )
38 25 Brent Downey ( 18.24 )
39 28 Tommy Praytor ( 18.242 )
40 71D Donny Kelley ( 18.319 )

Saturday, 5:27pm CT – With 20 qualified so far, here is how they stack up.

1 33G Cale Gale ( 17.238 )
2 36 Keith Thorpe ( 17.481 )
3 72 Greg Leachman ( 17.602 )
4 145 Billy Melvin ( 17.603 )
5 10L Johanna Long ( 17.64 )
6 16 Andy Pugh  ( 17.651 )
7 77 Brian Campbell ( 17.676 )
8 0 David Hole ( 17.69 )
9 10C Ryan Crane ( 17.701 )
10 71B Brandon Kelley ( 17.712 )
11 17 Sam "Shanky" Smith ( 17.718 )
12 51S Zach Stroupe ( 17.762 )
13 5 Chase Oliver ( 17.838 )
14 81 Brandon Odom ( 17.845 )
15 27 Jason Young ( 17.938 )
16 14 John Wilkenson ( 18.053 )
17 71J Shannon Jackson ( 18.08 )
18 39 Hal Martin ( 18.107 )
19 25 Brent Downey ( 18.24 )
20 71D Donny Kelley ( 18.319 )

Saturday, 4:58pm CT – Qualifying has begun for the Snowflake 100.  John Wilkenson, a late entry, will start it off.  We will try to update sometime during the session.

Saturday, 4:53pm CT – Kurt Jett, who loaded up his Late Model because it wasn't up to speed, ended up on the pole for the Modified feature event held tonight after the Snowflake 100.

Saturday, 4:45pm CT – We are in a holding pattern right now for qualifying.  The Snowflake cars are getting lined up on the pit road awaiting qualifying to start.

Saturday, 4:09pm CT – Modified qualifying has concluded.  The exciting Snowflake 100 qualifying will start momentarily.
DJ Vanderley was the fastest in qualifying, giving him the Pole for the Snowflake 100.
Shane Sawyer had the look of determination before qualifying started.
Paul Kelly timed in fifth fastest in qualifying.
DJ Vanderley went out ready to rumble.
Saturday, 9:45pm CT – We have now switched to a NEW Trackside Now page for the Snowflake 100.  Please visit us while we cover the racing action tonight by clicking below (we will have more post-Derby qualifying updates there as well).

CLICK HERE FOR THE SNOWFLAKE 100 TRACKSIDE NOW COVERAGE

Saturday, 9:28pm CT – Officials told Speed51.com that Jack Smith's disquaification was due to a weight infraction.

Saturday, 9:25pm CT – We have just learned that Steven Wallace was found to be light when crossing the scales after tech. They let the team roll off the scales and roll back on. During that time he was caught trying to put sockets in his pockets. The team has been excused from tech and will be loading up to go home.

Saturday, 9:23pm CT – Steven Wallace has just been DQ'ed in post-heat-race tech. He will not be in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby.  

Saturday, 9:22pm CT – The rest of the second Derby qualifier went green to the finish after the lap-five caution.  Jason Hogan won with Ryan Foster and Benny Gordon taking the final two transfer spots.

Those who didn't make it include: Rohrig, Bagwell, Sanborn, Hole, Crawford, Marks and Gabehart.

Saturday, 9:17pm CT – Top five at lap 15: Hogan, Foster, Gordon, Rohrig and Sandborn.

Saturday, 9:16pm CT – Jason Hogan took the lead at lap 11.

Saturday, 9:14pm CT – Green flag at lap five with Ryan Foster leading Jason Hogan.

Saturday, 9:12pm CT – The yellow is out on lap five.  Chris Gabehart got into the back of David Hole coming off four.  Hole spun into the front stretch inside wall.  Officials are sending Gabehart to the rear for the contact.

Saturday, 9:10pm CT – Rohrig appeared to have missed a shift on the start, backing up the outside lane. 

Saturday, 9:09pm CT – Green flag.

Saturday, 9:07pm CT – The second Snowball qualifier is on track.  Here is the starting grid.

1)10 – Foster
2)24 – Rohrig
3)51 – Hogan (driving for Kyle Busch)
4)1 – Gordon
5)10 – Bagwell
6)29 – Sanborn
7)49 – Smith (DNS)
8)0 – Hole
9)14 – Crawford
10)9M – Marks
11)9J – Jett (DNS)
12)17 – Gabehart

Saturday, 9:02pm CT – Checkered flag.  Steven Wallace crossed the line first with Kory Ruble second.  Bobby Gill gets the final transfer spot.

Those who didn't make it include: Roger Reuse, Stephan McCurley, Dwayne Buggay, Trevor McKinley.

Saturday, 8:59pm CT – Green flag racing.

Saturday, 8:58pm CT – The yellow has come out with four laps to go.  Matt Merrell got in the back of David Rogers, who was protecting the low groove coming off turn four.  Rogers spun and hit the inside wall hard.  His car appears to be toast as the wreckers are hooking up to it.  Merrell has been sent to the rear for rough driving.

Top five at lap 21: Wallace, Ruble, Gill, Reuse and McCurley.

Saturday, 8:54pm CT – Merrell just got by Gill with a little contact and is hunting down the last tranfer spot held by Gill with just five laps remaining.

Saturday, 8:52pm CT – Top five at lap 15: Wallace, Ruble, D. Rogers, Gill and Merrell.

Saturday, 8:50pm CT – Steven Wallace made his move on Korey Ruble for the lead on lap five down the back stretch.  Ruble let him have it and dropped into second behind him.

Saturday, 8:48pm CT – Korey Ruble raced Wallace hard into turn one on the start and pulled down in front of him.  Contact appeared to have been made but Ruble stayed out ahead of Wallace ... for the moment.

Saturday, 8:48pm CT – Green flag is in the air.

Saturday, 8:43pm CT – The first of the two Snowball Derby qualifiers is on the track.  Due to Fincher not starting, Steven Wallace is on the pole with Korey Ruble  on his outside.

The Starting Lineup
1)33 – Fincher (DNS)
2)66 – Wallace
3)73 – Ruble
4)11 – Rogers
5)5 – Gill
6)8 – Reuse
7)1 – McCurley
8)03 – Merrell
9)99 – Niedecken (DNS)
10)45 – Buggay
11)87 – Webb (DNS)
12)83 – Mckinley

Saturday, 8:39pm CT – Another Derby DQ and this time it comes before a race.  John Webb, who was slated to start sixth in the first heat race for the Snowball Derby, has been caught with soaked tires. Officials have said that they are taking his tires and he is being escorted off the premises.  Officials have made clear all weekend that there is a zero-tolerance policy in regards to using soak.

Saturday, 8:38pm CT – Jack Smith just can't seem to steer clear of controversy. Officials have just told Speed51.com that he is being DQ'ed and his transfer spot as a result of finishing second in the heat race is gone. Brent Downey slides up the list and will now be in the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100.

Saturday, 8:35pm CT – The checkered flag is out for the second Snowflake 100 qualifier.  Ryan Crane won the event with Zach Stroupe in second.  Stephan McCurley took the final transfer spot.

Those who didn't make it include: Dwayne Buggay, Brandon Kelley, Matt Smith, Chase Oliver, Brandon Odom, Scott Patton, Bobby Reuse, Nathan Davis, Blake Williams, Ronnie Joyner, Tommy Praytor, Dakota Stroup and Drew Brannon.

Saturday, 8:33pm CT – We are back green.

Saturday, 8:32pm CT – The yellow is out on lap 19 for Matt Smith spinning off the bumper of Dakota Stroupe in turn two.  

Top five: Crane, Stroupe, McCurley, Odom and Buggay.

Saturday, 8:31pm CT – The front-three cars are pulling away from the field and are spaced out.  Unless something happens soon the top three are going to the feature.

Saturday, 8:29pm CT – Chase Oliver has made his way onto pit road with the front end of his car bowed up.  It appears he received damage possibly on a restart by running into someone.

Saturday, 8:28pm CT – Zach Stroupe has moved into the second place a lap after going back green.

Saturday, 8:27pm CT – We are back green again.

Saturday, 8:23pm CT – On the restart, Bobby Reuse brought out the yellow with a spin in turn four.  Seven laps are in the books and the top five haven't changed since the last restart.

Saturday, 8:22pm CT – Green is back out.

Saturday, 8:19pm CT – The yellow is out on lap 6 for a two-car tangle in turn one involving Scott Patton and Ronnie Joyner.  Joyner drove off, but is heavily damaged.  Patton's car is being tended to by the track workers.

Current top five: Crane, M. Smith, Stroupe, McCurley, Odom.

Saturday, 8:15pm CT – Zach Stroupe has moved into the transfer position in third place.

Saturday, 8:15pm CT – We are green flag once again.

Saturday, 8:12pm CT – The #39 of Scott Patton has spun in turn two, bringing out the yellow on lap 1.

Top five: Crane, M. Smith, McCurley, Stroupe, Odom

Saturday, 8:12pm CT – Chase Oliver hit the wall on the front stretch but kept going.

Saturday, 8:11pm CT – The green flag is out as Ryan Crane jumped out to an early lead.

Saturday, 8:06pm CT – The second Snowflake 100 qualifier is on track.  Ryan Crane is on the pole with Brandon Kelley outside pole.  The rest of the starting grid is Matt Smith, Stephan McCurley, Zach Stroupe, Chase Oliver, Brandon Odom, Scott Patton, Bobby Reuse, Dwayne Buggay, Nathan Davis, Blake Williams, Ronnie Joyner, Tommy Praytor, Dakota Stroup and Drew Brannon.

Saturday, 8:02pm CT – The first of the two Snowflake 100 qualifying races is in the books.  Jason Young took the checkered flag ahead of Jack SmithJohn Wilkerson took the final transfer spot. 

Those who didn't make it include: Brent Downey, Vance Noland, Lloyd Alexander, Sam Smith, Brad Webb, Jimmy Garmon, Wyatt Webb, Mike Bargo, Shannon Jackson, Gary Greenwood, David Jones, Donny Kelly and Steve Renner.

Saturday, 8:01pm CT – Jack Smith is on the move again.  With five laps to go, he jumped into the second position.

Saturday, 7:59pm CT – Just a few laps after the green, Jack Smith moved into the third position, the final transfer spot for the event.

Saturday, 7:59pm CT – The green flag is back in the air.

Saturday, 7:52pm CT – The yellow is out a third time on lap 14 with a wreck in turn two.  The top group was real tight going through the corner.  The #71 of Shannon Jackson spun, and while he was sideways Lloyd Alexander piled into the side of him.  Also involved but with no damage was the #51 of Wyatt Webb and pole setter Vance Noland, who dropped back a bit after going high a few laps earlier in turn two.

Current top five: 1) Young, 2) Wilkenson, 3) Downey, 4) J. Smith, 5) Noland

Saturday, 7:48pm CT – We are back green flag racing.

Saturday, 7:45pm CT – The yellow is back out at lap 9.  Jack Smith got under Lloyd Alexander going into turn three.  Coming out of turn four Smith and Alexander touched, sending Alexander into a spin.  Wyatt Webb also spun and hit the outside wall.

Officials put Smith to the tail of the field for the contact. 

Top five: 1) Vance Noland, 2) Jason Young, 3) John Wilkinson, 4) Shannon Jackson, 5) Sam Smith.

Saturday, 7:40pm CT – The field has come down and taken the green flag once again.

Saturday, 7:33pm CT – The green flag was thrown, but the yellow came out right away before all the cars could cross the finisl line as the #40 of Brad Webb appeared to have spun the tires coming up to speed in turn four.  He was wagging his taill back and forth as the field tried to avoid him.  The #51 Wyatt Webb finally got into the back of him and turned Brad into the wall on the front stretch. 

Brad Webb's car was leaking fuel while it sat against the wall.  The wreckers are working on getting the track cleared.

The field is stopped on the back stretch until cleanup completes.

Saturday, 7:29pm CT – The first of the two Snowflake 100 qualifier races is on track.  Twelve cars are on the track trying to transfer into the race tonight.  There are only three transfer spots from this event.

Vance Noland and Lloyd Alexander are starting on the front row.
Lloyd Alexander spun after contact with Jack Smith.
Brad Webb smacked the wall after wrecking on the start of the race.
The field lines up for the first of two Snowflake heat races.