Thursday, 11:30pm Central Time - In an amazing finish Kenny Bullard passed Jay Jay Day for the lead with only two laps to go. Day had just gotten the lead back from Daryl Lynchard who took the lead on the final restart. Lynchard ended up second, Day was third, Rusty Powell was fourth and William Goulet was fifth.
That's all from Five Flags Speedway tonight, we will be back bright and early tomorrow morning for all your Snowball Derby action. Goodnight!
Thursday, 11:10pm Central Time - We now have only seven laps to go after another caution flag. Jay Jay Day still leads Daryl Lynchard.
Thursday, 10:45pm Central Time - With 20 laps complete in the Bomber feature Timothy Hendricks has put his car up on it's driver side door. He is ok, but his car is banged up pretty good. Jay Jay Day has led every lap from the pole.
Thursday, 10:15pm Central Time - Randy Thompson hangs on and wins the 50-lap Sportsman feature. He took the lead on a lap 30 restart when Steve Mercer had trouble getting up to speed. Mercer did recover to finish third. Billy Hoover was second, Ricky Johnson and James Patrick rounded out the unofficial top five.
Thursday, 9:02pm Central Time - Lake Brooks wins the Bomber B-Main. Feature races are up next here at Five Flags Speedway.
Thursday, 8:25pm Central Time - Thomas Warren Jr. won the Sportsman B-Main. We also learned that the two cars were disqualified after qualifying in the Bombers class. So the B-Main will take six cars now instead of only four.
Thursday, 8:05pm Central Time - We are ready to go racing with our B-Main events. The top four cars from each race making their A-Main's. The Sportsman B-Main will be 15-Laps, while the Bombers will go 10-Laps for a chance at the A-Main. The Sportsman are up first.
Thursday, 7:29pm Central Time - Qualifying is in the books and Gary Goodwin will be on the pole for the Bombers feature. Steve Mercer has won the pole for the Sportsman feature. The top 20 will be locked in on times, all other cars will go to the B-Main.
Thursday, 6:12pm Central Time - Qualifying is underway for the Sportsman and the Bombers here at Five Flags Speedway. Each division will lock in the top 20 times for the feature events. We have 34 Sportsman and 48 Bombers on site for the races tonight.
Thursday, 5:30pm Central Time - This evening, there are two options for the racers, fans and crew members (as well as media). Some will stay here at Five Flags Speedway for the Bomber and Sportman division features. Others will head over to Fast Eddie's Fun Center for the ninth annual Snowball Showdown Go-Karting event. Registration at Fast Eddie's will start at 7:30pm with racing at 8:30pm.
The event at Fast Eddie's has been known to be quite wild. Speed51.com's Trackside Now coverage will continue here at Five Flags Speedway, but a few of us will be heading over to Fast Eddie's to watch (and some participate) in the events there. Tomorrow morning on Friday's Trackside Now we will have the updates from Fast Eddie's, but stay tuned to Trackside Now tonight for updates on the Bomber and Sportsman events.
Thursday, 5:06pm Central Time - The Sportsman and Bomber classes are now entering in to their practice sessions.
Thursday, 4:45pm Central Time - Just a reminder. Feel free to register and post in the new Speed51.com Snowball Derby discussion forum on MotorsportsLounge.com by clicking here. We are checking the forum and will be interacting periodically with the fans.
Thursday, 4:40pm Central Time - Up next here at the track is the Sportsman/Bomber Practice at 5pm, followed by their qualifying. Their features are scheduled to start around 8:00pm.
Thursday, 4:35pm Central Time - Besides the Snowball Derby happening here at Five Flags Speedway, another big event has made some news.
Late last night at the end of Speed 51 Radio's live coverage on RaceTalkRadio.com, it was revealed that SpeedFest 2009 will be at Lanier National Speedway (GA) on January 24th - 25th. This afternoon, further information was released about the event, which will be a CRA and GAS combo event. Click here for the full story and flyer.
Thursday, 4:25pm Central Time - The #51 Beef O Brady’s Super Late Model of Ryan Preece retired a few minutes early from the final Snowball Derby practice session of the day. That was because several teeth broke off on the flywheel. No further damage appeared to have been done and the team is repairing it now. They do not anticipate any problems to transfer to tomorrow.
Thursday, 4:15pm Central Time - The final round of practice times have been released. Donald Long (SLM), Shane Sieg (SLM), Brian Ickler (SLM), Taylor Satterfield (SLM) and Jeff Choquette (PLM) were the fastest five drivers during the session.
Thursday, 4:05pm Central Time - Practice for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models and Snowflake Pro Late Models has concluded for the day. While the final session was fairly clean, there was a few issues and a lot of hard racing and close calls on the track.
John Robicheaux went for a spin on the front stretch, nosing his car into the inside wall past the start-finish line. His car had to be towed off the track by a wrecker. He told us in the pits that it was an operator error situation on the track. Robicheaux said the car was way too loose and he stayed out a bit too long. They are looking over the damage and have not made a decision if they are done for the weekend or not.
Also, a few sprinkles during the session were felt on the track grounds, but nothing major fell and it didn't stop the action. A check of the weather radar showed a small cell of light precipitation moving over the area, but it was racing it's way across the area fast, so it shouldn't be an issue.
The times from this session as well as other action happening here at Five Flags Speedway will be coming soon.
Thursday, 3:24pm Central Time - Cars are back on the track and we are back into practice mode.
Thursday, 3:20pm Central Time - We have seen a lot of cars on the track today, but a few Super Late Models we have not seen on the track include Bubba Pollard, Josh Hamner and Scott Carlson. All three drivers will be waiting until later in the week to test their Super Late Model rides.
Thursday, 3:15pm Central Time - The second round of practice times have been released. Shane Sieg, David Rodgers, Johanna Long, Mitch Cobb and Jason Young were the top five.
Thursday, 3:05pm Central Time - A few updates from the pits:
We have talked a lot about Johanna Long, the 2008 Pro Late Model track champion here at Five Flags Speedway. Brandon Odom finished second in points to Long and has a guaranteed starting spot in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100. Odom has made a few runs today looking for the right combination for Saturday’s qualifying. Just like Long, Odom also won his first career race earlier this season at Five Flags Speedway.
John Bolen out of Jasper, Alabama, is here and plans to run both races. With nearly 130 cars in the pits, it’s hard enough to dial in one car, let alone two. However Bolen has had a few good runs here at Five Flags Speedway this season and hopes to add to his win total, which includes a pair of wins at Birmingham earlier this season.
Thursday, 3:00pm Central Time - The track is now silent for the funeral next door. Practice will resume in 15 minutes.
Thursday, 2:51pm Central Time - The track is back hot for about nine more minutes.
Thursday, 2:49pm Central Time - We are under caution for the #32 Pro Late Model of Skip McCord. His car put out a heavy trail of smoke going down the frontstretch. It appears that the car is still running and McCord did not spin or hit anything. The culprit could have been a power steering issue.
Thursday, 2:45pm Central Time - It looks like the track will go quiet from 3-3:15pm out of respect for a memorial service at the cemetery next door to the track. We expect practice to continue after that until 4pm CT.
Thursday, 2:30pm Central Time - One of the drivers who has not come back after the rain delay was Stanley Smith. His trailer is locked up tight and the racecar is safe inside. It appears that his helicopter ride out of the track was a one-way trip for today.
Thursday, 2:15pm Central Time - Texas is here in full force. We caught up with Thad Felton from Channelview, Texas. He told us that it’s nice to come and race here at Pensacola. A few years back he tried one of the Super Late Model Blizzard races with limited success. This weekend he is trying out the Pro Late Model race. He is parked along the inner loop with fellow Texans Stephan McCurley from Humble, Matt Smith from Houston and Brandon Bendele from La Vernia.. The group hopes to stick together and bring a victory back to the Lone Star State.
As practice gets back underway, the tech line still remains busy. Everything is still going according to plan, as lots of teams are rolling through with checks and rechecks on small things like weight and ride heights.
Thursday, 2:10pm Central Time - Cars are on the track as practice has resumed.
Thursday, 2:00pm Central Time - Just a look around the pit area from up above here in the media booth, it appears that some drivers and teams must have decided they had enough practice for the day or that maybe we wouldn't be getting back under practice as multiple lift gates are closed with their cars inside.
Thursday, 1:55pm Central Time - We should be just a few more minutes away from the restart of practice. The last call for the spotters has gone out to cross the track.
Thursday, 1:51pm Central Time - Officials have announced they will not stop practice, once started, until the funeral starts or 4:00pm, which ever comes first. Usually they break at the top and bottom of the hour, but due to the rain delay, that will not occur.
Thursday, 1:50pm Central Time - We want to sent a special hello to Joey Senter’s mom, who is watching our Speed51.com Trackside Now coverage from her Georgia home. Senter is here running his Super Late Model and is thinking of his mother, who is recovering from her recent surgery.
Thursday, 1:50pm Central Time - From the Goodson team camp we found out that Hunter Robbins has been having some issues with a skip in his motor. This rain delay has given them time to work on the problem. Also, Benny Gordon has used this rain session as a chance to change a steering column on their number 66 car.
Thursday, 1:45pm Central Time - Five Flags Speedway, just like Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina, is adjacent to a funeral home. Out of respect, the track and the funeral home work together as much as possible. There is a funeral scheduled for today to start at 3:30pm, so they will call the track when they are about ready to start. Once that occurs, the track will go silent and that will be the end of the Late Model practice.
Thursday, 1:43pm Central Time - Officials have just said they are looking to put cars on the track in about 10 minutes.
Thursday, 1:40pm Central Time - We’ve had a smoker on the track, but practice has not even restarted yet. The Five Flags Speedway track truck was headed down the frontstretch when heavy smoke billowed out of its bed. Apparently, a fire extinguisher went off and sprayed its chemical solution all over the place. The truck safely came to a stop in turn two and the problem was fixed. It is now back making laps to dry the track without leaving a trail behind it.
Thursday, 1:37pm Central Time - Not every driver here is hot to practice today. We found David Hole walking around the infield in his street clothes and noticed that his team hadn’t unloaded either their Snowball Derby or Snowflake cars.
Hole had spent Saturday and Tuesday testing at Five Flags Speedway, so he didn’t need much track time today. In fact, he reported that if (and that’s a big if) he does get on track today that it just be to shake down his car and nothing more.
“There are too many crazy people out there today,” said Hole.
Hole learned that lesson the hard way. Long-time 51 fans might remember that a few years back on Derby week, he scrambled to get ready after getting caught in a practice crash.
Thursday, 1:35pm Central Time - This year’s Snowball Derby marks the first time that NASCAR Whelen Modified driver Ryan Preece is racing a car with full fenders. A quick check with him after the morning practice sessions shows that a racer is a racer no matter what he is wheeling. Preece told Speed51.com that he already felt comfortable in his Beef O Brady’s #51 Chevrolet.
Thursday, 1:30pm Central Time - Track drying continues. It is looking better on the track, but I think we are still a short bit away from firing up the engines.
Thursday, 1:25pm Central Time - Most loyal Short Track Fans are used to seeing Speed51.com co-owner Matt Dillner in the corner of the track, taking photos while the cars circulate around. This Snowball Derby though, MD has taken off the Speed51.com hat and replaced it with a BDI Racing hat as he is helping his brother Bob's race team. He has a few duties this weekend, including the gas man. During the break though, his chef duty was what we enjoyed. MD was cooking burgers for the team (and us Speed51.com staffers).
Thursday, 1:08pm Central Time - Just about three minutes ago, it was announced that the track will be ready to go in about 15 minutes, so we have made it back here after eating some lunch and are ready to bring you more updates from the track.
Thursday, 12:25pm Central Time - Since we are in a weather delay, we are going to take a break from the Trackside Now updates, get some lunch and chill out for a bit. We will be back soon with more updates from Five Flags Speedway.
Thursday, 12:20pm Central Time - We have times from the first practice session. Ryan Sieg (SLM) paced the field, followed by Donnie Wilson (SLM), Donald Long (SLM), Justin Drawdy (SLM) and Josh Hamner (PLM).
Thursday, 12:15pm Central Time - We have a correction. The #14 that wrecked wasn't Larry Foyt, rather it was the team car, Carl Smith. The car has been loaded up and it looks like Smith will not be racing this weekend. Foyt still plans on racing his car this weekend.
Thursday, 11:50am Central Time - We checked with a few drivers in the pits to see how there cars were after an hour of practice.
From the Kyle Busch camp, we found out that Alex Haase is pretty happy with his car while his teammate Brian Ickler needs some more work done to get his ride right. Ickler has never race here at Five Flags Speedway.
Donnie Wilson brought both of his cars here this week to see which one would better suit him for the Snowball Derby. His choice was his crate-engine car over his 9:1 motor.
Shane Sieg was also happy with his car. The Georgia driver said he thought he was pretty good. We asked him if he was ready for qualifying, and he said, “No way man. We still need to work on that.”
Thursday, 11:35am Central Time - Track officials have made the announcement that the rain delay will also serve as the lunch break. Once the rain stops and the track is dried, practice will resume straight through to 4pm local time.
Snowball Derby driver Stanley Smith appears to have some big lunch plans of his own. The driver of the #49 car took off in his helicopter and headed west from the track right after the rain started.
Thursday, 11:20am Central Time - Korey Ruble is here today after finishing up his classes yesterday at the University of Alabama. Ruble will be look for three victories this weekend. A Snowball Derby win in his own car, a Allen Turner Snowflake 100 win in Royce Johnston’s car and a SEC Championship win for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. Ruble will return to the Tuscaloosa campus on Monday to take his finals to finish up his Bachelors degree.
Thursday, 11:15am Central Time - The sprinkles have picked up a bit, so we are in a holding pattern right now as the track is silent.
Thursday, 11:13am Central Time - Officials have told us that 66 Pro Late Models have drawn for Saturday Night’s Allen Turner Snowflake 100. We understand that there are still a few that have not pulled for their qualifying order position. It looks like we will have close to 70 cars taking time on Saturday afternoon.
Thursday, 11:10am Central Time - The second session has ended. There were only a few minor spins on the track, including Bill Tutchtone II in turn four.
A few rain drops were felt during the end of the session.
Thursday, 10:35am Central Time - The first practice session has concluded. The only other incident on the track during the first session was a quick loop in one by Ryan Preece, but he was able to right his car and head back to the pits.
Also, during that first incident, Johanna Long did receive a small bit of nose damage after spinning, but appears to be fine.
Thursday, 10:25am Central Time - Just 20 minutes into the first practice session, we had our first wreck of the weekend. Larry Foyt looped his black and red #14 Pro Late Model in turn one and backed into the wall hard. There is heavy body damage to the left rear corner of the car and it remains to be seen if it will be repairable it time for Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 qualifying. Foyt was able to limp his car back to the pits without the assistance of a wrecker.
Thursday, 10:20am Central Time - There are plenty of current-year champions gathered here for the Snowball Derby and Allen Turner Snowflake 100 this weekend. That roster includes Benny Gordon (USAR Pro Cup), Alex Haase (PASS South), Johnny Clark (PASS North), Scott Hantz (CRA Super Series), Josh Hamner (Blizzard Series), Paul Kelley (Lanier Super Six Series) and Danny Bagwell (ISCARS Dash).
There was almost at least one other champion here as well. ASA Midwest titlist Dan Frederickson wanted to make the trip to the Derby, but couldn’t round up the sponsorship that he needed to enter the race.
Thursday, 10:10am Central Time - The track is hot as the cars are now up to speed and practice has begun for the Snowball and Snowflake events. These are combined practice sessions today.
The officials will stop and the top and bottom of the hour for a few moments with lunch occuring from 12:30pm - 1:00pm.
Thursday, 10:06am Central Time - The cars are rolling onto the track for a few warmup laps before they turn them loose.
Thursday, 9:55am Central Time - Up here in the tower, the officials are well aware of the rain coming this way. The talk is that it isn't a matter of if, but when, how much and how long.
Thursday, 9:50am Central Time - The drivers have already lined up at the end of pit road, ready to go out on the track for the first practice session. Wayne Anderson appears to have won the race to the end of pit road as he will be the first car to roll out onto the track in about 10 minutes.
Thursday, 9:45am Central Time - The Thursday drivers’ meeting for the Snowball Derby/Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 competitors has wrapped up. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we will give you the high points of the meeting.
There is a lot going on over the next few days here and to make it all work correctly, track officials preached to teams that cooperation is key.
“We’ve got a tight schedule here,” said track owner Tim Bryant. “We need to work together because it is important to get the races all started on time.”
“There are three keys words to making this weekend work,” said Race Director Dan Spence, Sr. “Those are patience, patience and patience – on and off the track.”
Weather could be an issue today or according to Spence, “We might get lucky and dodge a bullet.” He said that if the track is lost, it will be dried as soon as possible and scheduled adjustments will be made as needed. Everything possible to get the local divisions underway will be done as track officials know that this is the biggest race of the year for those guys. There shouldn’t be much of a conflict either. Derby/Snowflake practice wraps up at 4pm and practice for the local divisions doesn’t even start until 5pm.
Technical Director Ricky Brooks had a few strong words for the competitors. He doesn’t want any funny business going on this weekend and will react strongly and swiftly if there is.
Brooks said that there will be “absolutely” no soaked tires allowed on racetrack property and that anyone caught with soaked tires will be immediately escorted off the premises. He is also going to guard the tire impound area like Fort Knox. Crew members will only be allowed to bring “an air hose, a tire pressure gauge, a tape measure and your body” to the impound area. If anyone is caught sneaking around the impound area after hours, they will be “going straight to jail”.
Teams will have to pass through a set of body templates again before qualifying. If they don’t fit the templates, they will lose a lap of qualifying in addition to having to fix the issue. If they come through and fail a second time, they won’t be allowed to take part in first round qualifying and will be stuck at the end of the field for their last consi race.
Once through pre-qualify technical inspection, teams will only be allowed to adjust tire pressure and hook a heater up to their car. No other service will be allowed.
Brooks also unveiled a no-tolerance policy for loose lead weights. If lead comes off a car during practice, they will be forced to come in and load up.
“If you aren’t smart enough to secure your lead on your car, you aren’t smart enough to race this weekend,” Brooks said.
Teams were also told that 15 cars at time will be allowed to practice. Once a car comes off the track, another one will be allowed to go out in its place.
And finally, teams were told that they aren’t allowed to camp in the pit area. If anyone is staying in their toterhome or tow rigs overnight, they need to unhook and head to the parking lot at the end of the day.
Thursday, 9:00am Central Time - The driver's meeting is about to begin at the tech shed.
Thursday, 8:55am Central Time - There are a few late entries for the Snowball Derby and Allen Turner Snowflake 100 today. Defending Derby winner Augie Grill finally rolled on to speedway grounds last night, and will be practicing his #112 again today. A few other non-descript toterhomes arrived too, but until they unload we aren’t sure whose racecars are inside. Also appearing last night was the team of Jack Smith – who will run the Snowflake 100. That team was nice enough to have his name decaled upon the side of their trailer.
Thursday, 8:45am Central Time - Five Flags Speedway owner Tim Bryant isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The former racer can be seen doing just about anything on speedway property this week – including working the microphone. When there was nobody else in the announcer’s booth this morning, Bryant took over the controls of the PA system himself to make all of the necessary morning announcements about driver meetings, tires and such.
Thursday, 8:35am Central Time - The track workers at Five Flags Speedway sure know how to do things right. We’ve noticed for years how clean and tidy everything at the track is and this morning we figured out what the track’s secret is. Early this morning, before a single crew member passed through the pit gate, there were a few different crews of track workers marching through the pit area with trash bags in hand, picking up garbage and spiffing up the grounds.
Thursday, 8:30am Central Time - Yesterday, Stephan McCurley's tires were caught by the sniffer in the tech area for having something on them. Late last night, as we were wrapping up the Speed 51 Radio program, we were told that Ricky Brooks released the tires. Apparently gas was spilled on the tires causing the issue in tech. After further review from the tech officials, the tires were found to be legal and they were given back to the team to use in practice.
Thursday, 8:25am Central Time - Unfortunately, weather is going to become an issue here today. A system is moving east across the country, and as of 8:20am, it was just hitting Mobile, Alabama, coming straight towards Pensacola and the track here. The good news is that it appears it will not wash out the day, but as of right now we are in the direct path of the rain.
Thursday, 8:20am Central Time - For the second day in a row, there is a long line of racecars heading into the pits this morning. Today’s line isn’t made up of Super Late Models and Pro Late Models in big enclosed trailers though. Instead, we have quite an impressive display of Bombers lined up – many on open trailers. There will definitely be a full field for tonight’s 30-lap feature race. In fact, the line of trailer with cars this morning extends through the parking lot of Five Flags Speedway and then turns around in a “U” in a second row of the parking lot.
Thursday, 8:15am Central Time - Yesterday, Speed51.com and MotorsportsLounge.com opened up the official Speed51.com Snowball Derby discussion forum. View and join the discussion on this week's racing action here at Five Flags Speedway. We will be poking in there from time to time, and if we can, we will answer your questions about the happenings at the track. Click here now for the discussion forum (or click the link at the top of the Trackside Now pages). Thursday, 8:10am Central Time - If you missed the live Speed 51 Radio show from Five Flags Speedway on RaceTalkRadio.com last night, do not worry. You can listen to the archive online now. Guests on the show included Jeff Fultz, Hunter Robbins, Tracy Hamner (Josh's mom), Mitch Cobb, Stephan McCurley, Johanna Long, John Wes Townley and Tim Bryant. Click here now to listen to the show that was originally supposed to last one hour, but we were having so much fun we went over by almost 20 minutes.
Thursday, 8:05am Central Time - Just a quick reminder for the East Coast folks. The track and the updates will be in the Central Time zone.
Thursday, 8:00am Central Time - Good morning from Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on practice day for the 41st Annual Snowball Derby event. We are just getting set up here this morning as drivers and teams arrive at the track. We will get you caught up on yesterday's news and what is happening today. First, here is today's schedule:
8:00 AM Pits Open
9:00 AM L M Drivers Meeting, Tech Opens
10:00 AM-4:00PM Late Model Practice
4:30 PM Sportsman/Bomber Meeting
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Sportsman/Bomber Practice
6:15 PM SP Qualifying Lock in 20 (2Laps)
Bomber Qualifying Lock in 20 (1Lap)
7:45 PM Pre Race Festivities
8:00 PM SP B-Main (Trans 4) 15 Lap
Bomber B-Main (Trans 4) 10 Laps
Sportsman Main (50 Green)
Bomber Main (30 Green)
Also, for yesterday's Trackside Now coverage of tech day here at the track, starting with news and information at 9:00am, all the way up to the pit party, click here now.