Schoenfeld Bringing Momentum into Round Three of Blizzard Series
Veteran Racer Improving In First Starts at Five Flags Since 2002
Dennis Schoenfeld is one of the hardest-working men in the racing industry. He lends a hand with his family’s racing header company based in Arkansas and holds several positions at Billy Ballew Motorsports’ NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, including race-day spotter. All the while he maintains a successful short-track racing team for both himself and IMCA Modified driver Steve Arpin, who will soon be making his asphalt Super Late Model debut in a Schoenfeld-owned #43 later this month in Nashville.
That busy schedule had been keeping Schoenfeld away from Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway in recent seasons. Being on the road and busy in his Concord, NC, shop, the trip to Pensacola had not been in Schoenfeld’s plans since the now-defunct Southern All-Stars Super Late Model tour hit Five Flags last in 2002.
But this season, Schoenfeld formed a new goal of competing in the 41st Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags. In order to do so, gaining valuable seat time in the five-race Blizzard Series was the perfect way to get that experience to succeed in this December’s Derby. Schoenfeld enters round three of the Blizzard Series on Friday, June 27th, seventh in the point standings, but the veteran racer is still getting re-acclimated to the tricky Five Flags oval.
“I didn’t remember how slick it was until I went back down there and how hard it is to get a hold of that place,” said Schoenfeld. “I remembered the tires didn’t last long, but I didn’t remember how slick that place could be. Last time I was there was six years ago and it was slick then, but it got even slicker in those six years in between.”
Schoenfeld is getting the hang of Five Flags Speedway again after a few years away from the track.
Schoenfeld showed some signs of rust in his first Five Flags venture in six years back in April, when the 41-year-old qualified 27th and finished a disappointing 19th. The second time out, however, Schoenfeld showed marked improvement by qualifying 14th and coming home eighth. That boost now has Schoenfeld pumped up for Friday’s round three.
“The first time, we were terrible. The last time, though, we were decent. We weren’t really good, but we could keep up. The first time, we got lapped at halfway I guess. (Blizzard Series round one winner Josh) Hamner had a good car that first race, but nonetheless, there’s no slouch for competition out there and we weren’t on our game. After that first race, I pretty much re-vamped my whole program. Different motor, different headers, different shocks, different springs went on the car for the second time, so now we’re within reach. I think we’re close enough that we’ll be a lot better this time around and should have a lot more grip than I had before.
It’s hard to go down there and get a good feel of the track with how the track eats up tires unless you go down there and test and burn up five or six sets of tires. You can get decent on a long run, but qualifying’s another animal too. We qualified 14th last time, which was pretty good considering we qualified 27th the first time.”
All of this experience in the five-race Blizzard Series, Schoenfeld hopes, will lead him towards his first-ever start in the prestigious Snowball Derby, December 4th through 7th, at Five Flags.
“I’ve got a couple new sponsors, like Rick’s Used Auto Parts back in Arkansas, that would like to see me go, and my dad’s been after me for a few years to go to the Derby. But, I always had a wide-five hub car, and I never wanted to go because of the pit stops. I finally got a new Hamke car that’s a small-five (hub) car, so I’ve got the ability to go.
“The guys back home have shown the interest in wanting to go, so that’s why we’re running these Blizzard shows. We’re getting the track time we need to get the car ready if we do run the Derby. You can’t just go down there for the first time in the Derby and expect to unload and be good, especially when everybody else tests down there a lot and runs the five Blizzard races. You can’t expect to make the Derby your first time there and expect to run well.”
In order to make it to victory lane in the 100-lap third round of the Blizzard Series on Friday, June 27th, Schoenfeld is going to have to tame point leader Josh Hamner, Scott Carlson, Ryan Crane, Grant Enfinger and the winner of last year’s 40th Annual Snowball Derby, Augie Grill.
Tickets for the Friday, June 27th, event at Five Flags Speedway are priced affordably for the whole family. Adults are only $15, while seniors and military personnel tickets are $14. Kids age 6-14 are just $5, while all kids under the age of six are admitted free.
Fans will be treated to a spectacular aerial fireworks display, as well. Joining the Blizzard Series Super Late Models will be the Super Stocks, Sportsmen and Bombers.
For more information on the Blizzard Series and the 41st Annual Snowball Derby event, contact Matt Kentfield at (704) 788-2134 x 5 and visit www.fiveflagsspeedway.com and www.snowballderby.com
Dennis Schoenfeld at speed.