Trackside Now: 40th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway - Thursday AM
The First Day of Practice for Snowball and Snowflake cars, Bombers Race Tonight
40th Annual Snowball Derby
Nov. 28th - Dec. 2nd
Five Flags Speedway
Pensacola, Florida
Thursday, 12:30pm CT – Practice is about to start back up.  We are going to switch to a PM version of Trackside Now, so this will be the last update in this AM Trackside Now.  Click here for the Thursday PM Trackside Now.

Thursday, 12:09pm CT – 51's Steve Neely just spoke with Mike Fritts after his practice accident. Fritts said that he and the crew are working hard on repairing the #86. Damage included a bent rear-end. They expect to be back on track at some point later this afternoon.

Thursday, 12:00pm CT – Lunch break. Lines are forming for hot dogs and hamburgers. Most teams are thrashing on their cars getting them ready for when practive resumes at 12:30.

Thursday, 11:55am CT – T. Wade Welch is on track in his #13 for the first time although it wasn't the first time his car was on track. Eddie Mercer, who has been helping Welch set up his car, took a few laps to shake down the machine.

Thursday, 11:52am CT – A few racers could try out for a hockey team as goalies after practice today. Steven Davis and Mitch Cobb so far have the saves of the day. Davis saved his #33 after contact with Justin Drawdy entering turn-three. Cobb, a Colorado native, was completely sideways and somehow hung on. Ryan Lawler also had a close call when Jerrod Foley drifted high forcing Lawler's #31 into the marbles.

Thursday, 11:47am CT – Zach Stroupe's #51 Pro Late Model is back on track after busting radiator due to debris on the track that appeared to come off of Cale Gale's car.

Thursday, 11:42am CT – Track officials have pointed out that the #28 of Jack Smith and the #72 of Greg Leachman are on the track for practice without transponders. They have decided to let them continue to practice, however the teams will not be able to get times

Thursday, 11:39am CT – UPS has just arrived at Five Flags and that is good news for Bubba Pollard, Jimmy Garmon and a few possible others.  They have not been cleared through tech due to a rocker-rule. The replacement rockers have just arrived at the track.

Thursday, 11:29am CT – Another session is in the books as the bottom of the hour break has now hit the track.  These breaks are averaging about five minutes a piece.  During the short breaks, teams are using that time to make changes and get back out on the track.

Thursday, 11:16am CT – As practice continues, we have a few more notes that came out of the driver’s meeting. 

Apparently last year someone got caught in the impound area when they shouldn’t have been there.  Officials stated if anyone is caught in that area their credential will be pulled and they will be escorted off the premises, not allowed to return. 

Also, officials said that under no circumstances will tire soak material be allowed anywhere in the facility.  If anyone is caught using soaks, they also will have their credentials pulled and escorted off the track premises.

Thursday, 11:14am CT – Bubba Pollard and a few other competitors still have not made it through tech.  Their cars are alright except for an issue with the rocker arms.  Pollard said they have some replacements on the way.  Speed51.com’s Matt Dillner and Steve Neely are down in the pit area and will be checking into the situation further as the day progresses.

Thursday, 11:11am CT – Track officials are still entering names into their system to match with the transponders, so at this time we do not have the current practice times.  Once they complete the process and distribute the practice list, we will post some times.

Thursday, 11:10am CT – The green flag has been displayed again and practice has resumed.

Thursday, 11:03am CT – The checkered flag has been thrown once again for the top of the hour break in the action.  This session went green flag the whole period.

Thursday, 10:55am CT – According to officials during the driver’s meeting, there has been a recall of certain Bassett Wheels by the company.  Track officials here at Five Flags Speedway have the date codes at the track of which wheels are a part of the recall and heavily suggested to all teams if there is even a question about some wheels they have to come check out the date codes to make sure everything is ok with what they have.

Thursday, 10:44am CT – Cars are back out on the track and the green flag has waved as practice has resumed.

Thursday, 10:35am CT – The track is now silent for a few moments as the officials have stopped the action for the bottom of the hour break.  Besides the early spin by the #86 car driven by Mike Fritts, no other incidents have occurred on the track. Fritts and his crew are working on the car to make repairs.

Thursday, 10:23am CT – The green flag is back out and practice has resumed.

Thursday, 10:16am CT – The first caution is out during practice as the #86 Chet Morrison car driven by Mike Fritts has spun off turn four making contact with the inside wall backwards.  The car doesn't appear to be able to pull off under it's own power as the wreckers are making their way to the car.

Thursday, 10:05am CT – The cars are on the track for the first of the two practice sessions today.  15 cars just hit the track and there is already 15 more in line on pit

Thursday, 10:05am CT – The cars are on the track for the first of the two practice sessions today.  15 cars just hit the track and there is already 15 more in line on pit road waiting to go out.

Thursday, 9:45am CT – Cars are currently lining up on the front stretch to start practice.  With the amount of cars that are here, pit road and the garage area will be a  busy place.  The track officials informed the drivers in the driver's meeting that the car flow on pit road and all access roads within the infield will go counter clockwise, the same direction as they race on the track.  This will keep all sections within the infield from getting jammed up.

Thursday, 9:35am CT – The driver's meeting has concluded and the teams are getting ready for their first practice session coming up in about 25 minutes.

In the driver's meeting, most of what was covered only pertained to today's procedures.  Only 15 cars will be allowed on the track at a time during the practice sessions.  When one pulls off, another will be allowed on the track.  During the two sessions of practice (10:00am - 12:00pm, 12:30pm - 4:00pm), the track will stop the cars at the top and bottom of every hour to clear the back gate.  Cars on the track that want to continue practicing can stop on the track going into turn one and wait until the green flag is put back out.

Also, just like the historic Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) the Five Flags Speedway is situated next to a cemetary.  Sometime today there will be a funeral, so as a courtesy the track will shut down practice and will resume once the funeral has concluded.

Thursday, 8:30am CT – It is a great morning here at Five Flags Speedway for the second day of action for the Snowball Derby event.  Drivers and crew members have made their way to the track for the beginning of a long day of testing.

The driver's meeting starts up at 9:00am this morning, followed by two hours of Late Model practice starting at 10:00am before a lunch break at 12:00pm.  At 12:30pm practice for the Late Model resumes, followed by Bomber practice and some racing action tonight (30-lap Bomber feature).

Speed51.com's Matt Dillner, Jason Buckley and Steve Neely are here to cover the action today.

We going to head down to the driver's meeting and find out what the talk of the day is.
Mike Fritts brought out the early yellow during practice with a spin off turn four.  (51 Sports Photo)
The start of practice had some drivers on the track and others waiting in line.  (51 Sports)
One of tonight's Bomber feature cars rolls in this morning to park.  (51 Sports)
Near disaster for Steven Davis. Davis saves the car after contact with Justin Drawdy. (51 Sports Photo)
Mitch Cobb makes a brilliant save..  (51 Sports)
Eddie Mercer shakes down T. Wade Welch's car..  (51 Sports)
Jack Smith won't be recieving practice times yet until he gets a transponder. (51 Sports Photo)