Sunday, 1:00pm CT – You can feel it in the air. The drivers are all suited up and gathering near the front stretch. Teams are putting the finishing touches on their pit areas. The Trailers are out of the infield giving fans a view of what is considered by many the premier Asphalt Late Model event of the year.
Pre-race festivities are about to get underway. SPEED Channel’s Bob Dillner will be doing the introductions of the Derby drivers. Dillner will be doing the play-by-play announcing for the Snowball. It will also be broadcast on 98.1 The Ticket, a popular Fort Walton Beach radio station.
While we get ready up here in the tower to bring you flag to flag coverage of the 40th Annual Snowball Derby, the 51-staff has had a little fun looking at some numbers from the big Derby weekend. Enjoy!
SNOWBALL DERBY 2007 BY THE NUMBERS…
Former winners behind the wheel this weekend: 8 – They are Clay Rogers, Eddie Mercer, Stephen Wallace, Wayne Anderson, Gary St. Amant, Bobby Gill, Dave Mader III and Ronnie Sanders
Cars Counts: 57 Super Late Models from 14 different states
68 Pro Late Models from 15 different states.
Total 125 cars from 17 different states
Sponsors: 28 sponsors are on the frontstretch pit wall, including our own “Speed51.com.” There are 15 Billboards as well.
Feeding Frenzy: An estimated 8500 Cheeseburgers have been sold, 2500 Chicken Baskets, 2500 Chicken Baskets, 7200 Fry Baskets and 6000 Drinks.
Porta-potties: There are 27 porta-potties in the infield.
Parrotts in the Pit Area: 0 Parrotts were in the pit area at the Derby because Dave Mader did not bring his bird this year. “I left my baby home,” said Mader.
Open Trailers: 1 Late Model was brought to the Derby/Snowflake weekend on an open hauler.
Hoosier Tires: They have mounted an estimated 3,000 tires for the Derby weekend.
Car with the number 44: 4 cars have the double-4 on the door (Three of which all ran the Snowflake after time trialing back to back to back)
Parking spots left in the main parking lot by 1PM: 0 parking spots are left but there are remote lots with shuttle services.
Disqualifications: 16-cars and counting have been disqualified from the strict tech-area at the Derby during the weekend (including The Kyle Busch ride and the Steven Wallace #66car)
Double-Duty Drivers: 4 Drivers will be pulling double-duty by starting today’s Snowball Derby after running last night’s Snowflake 100. Those drivers are pole sitter Cale Gale, Augie Grill, Jason Young and last night’s Snowflake winner Ryan Crane.
Speed51.com race coverage staff: 6 “51-guys” will have been covering the Snowball Derby.
Sunday, 12:40pm CT – We are 20 minutes away from the pre-race festivities.
Sunday, 12:30pm CT – A few notes from this morning's driver's meeting.
Roll call was taken during the meeting. All drivers were there except for Heath Hindman. Officials told Speed51.com he will not receive a penalty for not attending.
Pit road speed will be 30 miles per hour.
If any car pits out of sequence while under the yellow flag or come on to pit road when it is closed, they go to the tail end of the longest line. If a driver pits when the pits are closed under a red flag, they receive a one-lap penalty.
The race is 300 laps. Caution laps do count until lap 295. At that point there must be five green-flag laps (not consecutively) to complete the race.
If the yellow flag comes out on the white flag, the drivers will race back to the finish. The only exception is if the officials throw the red flag for the track being blocked in turn three, four or the front stretch.
Sunday, 12:00pm CT – The cars are running through the pre-race tech.
Sunday, 11:45am CT – Ryan Foster shook the rust off this weekend squeaking into the Snowball Derby by winning the second last-chance race. It has been a while since Foster has been behind the wheel. In fact Foster has not raced at all this year. His father told us that they sunk all the money they had into running ARCA last year and could not afford to run anything this year until the Derby.
Sunday, 11:42am CT – Mike Fritz looked a little groggy during the driver's meeting. That is because he didn't have much sleep. He and the Chet Morrison team were busy working on the #86 until 2:30am because of a cracked cylinder head.
Sunday, 11:35am CT – We have just put up a Gary St. Amant audio diary from this morning. It is an interesting listen. For the recent entry as well as the past entries from this weekend, click here. Sunday, 11:25am CT – For the story of Ryan Crane's Snowflake 100 win, click here.
Sunday, 11:00am CT – Worship services have completed here at Five Flags. The haulers are out of the infield and the anticipation is mounting.
Sunday, 10:45am CT – The driver's meeting has concluded. The worship service is taking place on the front stretch.
Sunday, 10:00am CT – Driver's meeting should be starting shortly.
Sunday, 9:45am CT – The haulers are leaving the infield and are being pulled into spots outside the track. Just the cars and the pit equipment will be left in the infield for the race, giving the fans a clear view of the complete racing surface during the event.
Sunday, 9:35am CT – For those that have missed last night's action, here is a short blurb.
Both Steven Wallace and Kyle Busch's cars were qualified into the Snowball Derby via the last-chance races (Jason Hogan raced Busch's car), however both cars were bounced from the field after failing post-qualifier tech. Both drivers were upset with the calls. Speed51.com spoke to both of them and will have more next week on what happened from all angles.
NASCAR Busch East champ Joey Logano was going to race the #49 Stanley Smith car, but Smith and the team decided to load up the car after receiving minimal damage during practice yesterday becuase they didn't want to risk wrecking the car in the last-chance qualifier. Smith would have had to race the car in from the seventh position, or if Logano would have got in the car he would have had to start from the back due to not being in the car himself to qualify it (he was in New York for the NASCAR award's banquet).
Benny Gordon, after having a frustrating weekend trying to get the handling right on his car, finally got it right, racing his way into the Snowball Derby. Unfortunately the team used a wrong wheel on the car, which caused him to fail tech due to a width issue. He went home for the day, but accepted the call since he knew they made an error.
John Webb didn't even get to attempt to race his way into the Derby as he was bounced for having soaked tires. He was escorted off the grounds.
Sunday, 5:42pm CT – Word came from the tech area that all three top drivers passed tech.
Sunday, 4:54pm CT – With damage on the front of his race car, Augie Grill takes the checkered flag in the 40th Annial Snowball Derby. Matt Hawkins cross the line second with Jeff Fultz third. Eddie Mercer and Clay Rogers round out the top five.
We are heading down to get reaction from the drivers. We will be back with more information, including race results. Do not go anywhere as we still have plenty of coverage coming here on Speed51.com.
Sunday, 4:50pm CT – Matt Hawkins has moved all the way up to second and currently sits behind Augie Grill with just five laps to go.
Sunday, 4:46pm CT – Eddie Mercer has worked his way around Jeff Fultz to put himself in the third position. Augie Grill still leads.
Sunday, 4:44pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 275. Top five is; Augie Grill, Clay Rogers, Jeff Fultz, Eddie Mercer and Matt Hawkins.
Sunday, 4:40pm CT – The YELLOW is out on lap 271. Korey Ruble’s door panel came off and ended up on the track on the back stretch.
Sunday, 4:39pm CT – Augie Grill finally got under and by Clay Rogers for the lead on lap 265.
Sunday, 4:39pm CT – Augie Grill is all over the back of Clay Rogers for the lead.
Sunday, 4:38pm CT – Clay Rogers has moved by Grant Enfinger for the lead on lap 262.
Sunday, 4:36pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 259.
Sunday, 4:35pm CT – Top five at lap 257: Grant Enfinger, Clay Rogers, Augie Grill, Jeff Fultz and Johnny Clark.
Sunday, 4:33pm CT – Dave Mader has pulled it into the pits as he is out of the event.
Sunday, 4:32pm CT – The YELLOW is out on lap 254. Matt Hawkins got into Dave Mader, sending Mader around in turn four. Hawkins also lost many spots.
Sunday, 4:31pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 252.
Sunday, 4:29pm CT – A few drivers did not pit, so here is the top five after the pit stops from the leaders:
1) Grant Enfinger, 2) Mike Fritz, 3) Dave Mader, 4) Matt Hawkins and 5) Clay Rogers.
Sunday, 4:29pm CT – Matt Hawkin's crew has been smoking on pit road. Once again, his crew gets him out first from the pits. Clay Rogers came out second and Augie Grill came out third.
Sunday, 4:27pm CT – All of the leaders are hitting pit road.
Sunday, 4:26pm CT – The YELLOW is out on lap 225. Ryan Foster and Chris Gabehart went for a slide in turn two.
This should set up the final round of pit stops.
Sunday, 4:23pm CT – Augie Grill has about a five car-length lead at lap 237. Most all of the leaders have another set of tires available to use, so if there is there is a caution soon, it is going to get interesting.
Sunday, 4:21pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 230. The top five is: Augie Grill, Josh Hamner, Matt Hawkins, Clay Rogers and Jeff Fultz.
Sunday, 4:15pm CT – Matt Hawkins has lead 99 laps today. He is currently in third.
Sunday, 4:15pm CT – The report is transmission issues with Robbins's car.
Sunday, 4:13pm CT – The YELLOW is out on lap 222. Hunter Robbins has slowed to a stop in turn two.
Sunday, 4:13pm CT – The damage on the front nose of Augie Grill's car appears to be getting just a little worse. The hood is pushed up a bit, which might be catching some air around the track. It looks like the right front hood pin might not be in.
Sunday, 4:12pm CT – Augie Grill made a move to the inside on the restart to take the lead from Matt Hawkins. Josh Hamner also passed Hawkins, putting him in second.
Sunday, 4:10pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 215.
Sunday, 4:10pm CT – We are working lap 213 under the yellow. The top five are: Matt Hawkins, Augie Grill, Josh Hamner, Clay Rogers and Jeff Fultz.
Sunday, 4:06pm CT – The YELLOW is out on lap 208 for J.R. Roahrig spinning in turn two.
Sunday, 4:05pm CT – Grant Enfinger has dropped off the pace, going from fourth to 18th.
Sunday, 4:04pm CT – Jeff Fultz has moved into fifth, the first time for him to be in the top five today.
We are working lap 206.
Sunday, 4:03pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 201. The top five are: Matt Hawkins, Clay Rogers, Augie Grill, Josh Hamner and Frant Effinger.
Sunday, 4:02pm CT – According to Ryan Crane, a couple of lapped cars got together to cause the big mess on the front stretch.
Sunday, 4:01pm CT – There are 20 cars on the lead lap.
Sunday, 4:01pm CT – Wayne Anderson is out of his car on pit road, so it appears he is done for the day.
Sunday, 3:59pm CT – Scott Carlson's car is being loaded up on a flat bed while Ryan Crane was able to drive his car back to the pit area, but with heavy damage.
Sunday, 3:58pm CT – The YELLOW is out just a lap after going green for a multiple car wreck on the front stretch. Scott Carlson, Ryan Crane, Wayne Anderson, Chris Gabehart and Gary Helton were all involved. Hunter Robbins also has some damage to his car.
Sunday, 3:54pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 188.
Sunday, 3:53pm CT – Courtesy of 98.1 The Ticket, Heath Hindman broke a drive shaft.
Bob Dillner of SPEED Channel and Speed51.com is part of 98.1's live broadcast from the track. Make sure to tune in to their broadcast on the radio, or visit www.sportstalktheticket.com to listen on the net.
Sunday, 3:51pm CT – Top five at lap 184: Scott Hantz, Grant Effinger, Matt Hawkins, Scott Carlson and Clay Rogers.
Sunday, 3:48pm CT – Matt Hawkins won the race off pit road. Scott Carlson picked up a bunch of spots as he came off pit road second.
Sunday, 3:45pm CT – Just about everyone on the lead lap has pitted.
Sunday, 3:45pm CT – The YELLOW is out at lap 177. Heath Hindman, who had made up three laps to be on the lead lap, slowed going into turn three and was slow going down the front stretch. He locked up his rear tires and ended up hitting the inside wall.
Sunday, 3:43pm CT – Grant Effinger has been turning the fastest laps during this section. He is on newer rubber and is on the lead lap.
Sunday, 3:40pm CT – The field is now strung out all over the track.
Sunday, 3:40pm CT – Matt Hawkins has shown some strength moving into the leader position at lap 166.
Sunday, 3:39pm CT – Clay Rogers has now been shuffled back to the fourth position. In front of him are Ryan Crane, Matt Hawkins and Augie Grill.
Sunday, 3:38pm CT – Ryan Crane has worked his way to the lead at lap 157 around Clay Rogers.
Sunday, 3:36pm CT – 150 laps are in the books, which means we are at halfway in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby.
The current top five are: Clay Rogers, Ryan Crane, Matt Hawkins, Augie Grill and Hunter Robbins.
Sunday, 3:35pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 146. Clay Rogers leads Ryan Crane.
Sunday, 3:32pm CT – Cassius Clark has a ratchet strap holding up his rear spoiler after damage from an earlier wreck.
Sunday, 3:31pm CT – The YELLOW is out at lap 140 for the #14 of Ken McFarland spinning down the front stretch. He stopped just past the flag stand backwards. He was able to loop it around and continue on.
Sunday, 3:29pm CT – Heath Hindman was down three laps at one point, but has made up all of them by driving around the leaders on restarts. He is currently running in front of the leaders on the lead lap.
Sunday, 3:28pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 137. Clay Rogers leads Ryan Crane into turn one.
Sunday, 3:27pm CT – Johnny Clark has been on and off pit road during the last few yellows.
Sunday, 3:23pm CT – When Donald Long went into the wall on lap 116, it was due to getting caught up with another car trying to get back up through the field after he lost a battery and had to pit.
Sunday, 3:23pm CT – The YELLOW is out at lap 131 for Tim Martin spinning in turn two. Scott Carlson was right there and they might have made contact causing the spin.
Sunday, 3:21pm CT – The #21 car of Scott Carlson is all over the track. He has bounced off many cars over the last three laps. His car is reacting like he has a tire going down.
Sunday, 3:21pm CT – Justin Drawdy has damage from the last yellow.
Sunday, 3:20pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 123.
Sunday, 3:19pm CT – There are 28 cars on the lead lap at lap 120.
The current top five are: Clay Rogers, Cale Gale, Ryan Crane, Hunter Robbins and Brian Campbell.
Sunday, 3:17pm CT – Matt Hawkins has the freshest tires on the track right now. He is currently running ninth.
Sunday, 3:15pm CT – The YELLOW is out at lap 116 for Donald Long nosing his car into the turn three wall.
Sunday, 3:13pm CT – Chris Gabehart has some interesting strategy. On the earlier pit stop he took two tires. On the most recent stop he took three.
Sunday, 3:11pm CT – More information is coming in from the pits on the Ryan Sieg and Grant Effinger situation. Sieg is blaming the incident on Effinger for his wild driving.
Sunday, 3:09pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 103.
Top five on the restart: Clay Rogers, Brian Campbell, Cale Gale, Ken McFarland and Korey Ruble.
Sunday, 3:06pm CT – None of the leaders appeared to have any adjustments to their cars during the pit stops ... just tires (and possibly air pressures).
Sunday, 3:06pm CT – Matt Hawkins won the race off pit road. Eddie Mercer was second. Johnny Clark had trouble with the left rear and was slow getting off pit road. He also ran over the jack leaving the pits.
Some drivers didn't pit, so the leader board is going to be shuffled.
Sunday, 3:03pm CT – A massive amount of cars hit pit road. Just about all the leaders appeared to have ducked down to get fresh rubber.
Sunday, 3:03pm CT – The YELLOW is out at lap 84 for Jason Young and Tim Martin spinning in turn four.
Sunday, 3:03pm CT – Scott Carlson’s #21 has a left front fender rub. He is currently fourth.
Sunday, 3:01pm CT – The #99 of Casey Smith jumped the restart and was sent to pit road. Smith is 50 laps down. He was trying to get one of his 50 laps back on the start.
Sunday, 3:00pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 88.
Sunday, 2:58pm CT – Jeff Choquette lost a lap in the pits.
Sunday, 2:58pm CT – We are still working the lastest caution as the track crew is completing the cleanup. The top five with 86 complete are: Eddie Mercer, Matt Hawkins, Scott Carlson, Josh Hamner and Augie Grill.
Sunday, 2:55pm CT – Augie Grill has damage to the nose of his car after contact with the #39 of Sieg.
Sunday, 2:55pm CT – Cassius Clark just lost a lap on pit road during the yellow.
Sunday, 2:53pm CT – Scott Hantz and Hunter Robbins are on pit road for four tires.
Sunday, 2:52pm CT – The YELLOW is back out right away as Grant Effinger, a lapped car, checked up in front of Matt Hawkins. The jam up ended up nipping Ryan Sieg, who slammed the wall hard in turn four. His car will need to be pulled off the track.
Sunday, 2:50pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 77. Eddie Mercer leads Matt Hawkins and Scott Carlson.
Sunday, 2:49pm CT – There was lead found on the race track from the #8 of Cassius Clark. Officials believe it came out due to the wreck earlier.
Sunday, 2:47pm CT – Ryan Foster has lost a lap in the pits during this yellow.
Sunday, 2:47pm CT – Our pit reporters spoke to Roger Reuse about the contact with Cassius Clark in turn one earlier. He said he felt the leaders came down on him. He did have fresh rubber on his car.
Sunday, 2:46pm CT – A bunch of cars are now on pit road, but none of the leaders came in.
Sunday, 2:44pm CT – The YELLOW is out on lap 70 for Ken McFarland spinning the #47 of Brian Campbell. Campbell was able to continue.
Sunday, 2:43pm CT – With 68 laps in the books, Clay Rogers is now up to 18th. Also, Chris Gabehart is using the bumper in the mid pack to advance some positions.
Sunday, 2:42pm CT – Grant Effinger is off the pace. It appears he has a flat right rear.
Sunday, 2:40pm CT – On lap 59, Eddie Mercer has moved around Matt Hawkins for the lead.
Sunday, 2:40pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 57. Matt Hawkins now leads Eddie Mercer into turn one.
Sunday, 2:39pm CT – Cassius Clark was able to continue after pitting to repair some damage.
Sunday, 2:38pm CT – Jeff Choquette and Clay Rogers have pitted during this yellow at lap 54.
Sunday, 2:36pm CT – The YELLOW has come out as soon as they went into turn one on the green as the lapped car of Roger Reuse on the inside line got into Cassius Clark, taking him all the way up the track and into the wall. Clark did drive away, but appears to have pretty good damage on his car.
Sunday, 2:34pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 51 with Matt Hawkins leading Cassius Clark, Johnny Clark, Eddie Mercer and Josh Hamner.
Sunday, 2:32pm CT – Pit stops are happening for a few drivers during this yellow, including Clay Rogers, Brian Campbell, Ken McFarland, Tim Martin, Chris Gabehart and Cecil Chunn.
Sunday, 2:29pm CT – The YELLOW is out at lap 45 as Ryan Crane has spun in turn two. He was able to continue.
Sunday, 2:27pm CT – The top five at lap 40: Matt Hawkins, Eddie Mercer, Cassius Clark, Johnny Clark and Josh Hamner.
Sunday, 2:25pm CT – Korey Ruble #73 has been progressing through the field. He has moved from 31st to 23rd on the track in just the first 35 laps.
Sunday, 2:23pm CT – According to our pit reporters, Casey Smith is not happy with Bill Tutchtone. He said he was chopped. Tutchtone said he didn't think he was that close.
Sunday, 2:21pm CT – The green flag is in the air at lap 20 with Matt Hawkins leading Johnny Clark.
Sunday, 2:18pm CT – We are hearing that Bobby Gill and Gary St. Amant are out of the event. Casey Smith and Bill Tutchtone are also out.
Sunday, 2:16pm CT – The YELLOW has come out at lap 14 for a wreck in turn one involving Gary St. Amant, Casey Smith, Bobby Gill, Bill Tutchtone II, Dave Mader II and Heath Hindman.
All cars pulled away except the #99 of Casey Smith, who is being hooked up on the wrecker.
Sunday, 2:11pm CT – Matt Hawkins got the early jump on Cale Gale and took the lead on the start heading into one.
Sunday, 2:11pm CT – The green flag is in the air as Cale Gale and Matt Hawkins lead the field past the flag stand.
Sunday, 2:05pm CT – The drivers are waving to the fans in the stands as they wave back for the start of the event.
It has become overcast here at the track. Hopefully any weather issues stay away from the track until all 300 laps are complete.
Sunday, 2:02pm CT – The pace car has started rolling as the 39 Super Late Models start to move on the front stretch.
Sunday, 2:01pm CT – A group of Marines gave the command in commanding fashion... "Gentleman, Start Your Engines."
Sunday, 1:57pm CT – The National Anthem has just finished as more pre-race ceremonies happen on the front stretch.
Sunday, 1:57pm CT – The National Anthem has just finished as more pre-race ceremonies happen on the front stretch.
Sunday, 1:45pm CT – Bob Dillner has introduced all the drivers on the front stage. All drivers are heading to their cars. The National Anthem and the remaining pre-race activities are coming up shortly.