When most short race fans hear the words, “Snowball Derby” they don’t think of just the 300 laps run on a December Sunday in Florida. Fans and racers alike think of the atmosphere at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway as a whole and all of the events during the entire week preceding the Derby. One of those events is the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100, which over the past few years has become a staple of the Derby weekend and has, in years past, even drawn more cars than the Sunday race.
Five Flags Speedway owner and promoter, Tim Bryant, is proud of what the Snowflake 100 has become and is excited for the great competition sure to be found in this year’s running.
“One of the many highlights that we have during the Snowball Derby weekend has turned into the Snowflake 100,” said Bryant. “That race has turned into, in many people’s mind, the biggest race of the weekend. The entry list is sitting on 64 as we speak today. We’ve got some pretty heavy hitters coming in for the Snowflake and several drivers pulling double duty in both the Snowflake and the Snowball Derby, and that’s always a challenge for our local racers that have been here all year long. It’s definitely going to be very much like the Snowball, it’s going to be a tough field just to qualify for but it’ll certainly be a competitive race.”
Not only are there several Snowball Derby competitors who will be taking a shot at the Pro Late Model Snowflake 100, but several impressive strictly Pro Late Model racers entered in the event. One of those competitors is a driver with a mound of success at the Pensacola track supporting him going into the December 5th show. Ronnie Smith ran into some luck at the end of the season and was crowned the Five Flags Speedway 2009 Pro Late Model Champion and is looking forward to continuing his string of great runs into the Snowflake.
“We’ve had a really great car this year,” said Smith. “We just had a little bit of luck at the end of the season where one of my close competitors had some misfortune in post-race tech, which allowed us to lock up the Championship.”
Although the trophy and the check are nice, the award Smith is most grateful for out of the championship is a guaranteed starting spot in the Saturday night showdown.
“The best part is going into it without having to worry about qualifying,” explained Smith. “We’ve got a provisional since we locked up the championship and we’ve got the option to use it as needed. We’ve been working over out of Panhandle Motorsports shop right now trying to prepare our cars. Their support has helped a tremendous amount, since they’ve had so much success at the track in recent years. Just having access to their knowledge and their equipment helps a ton and gets us caught up to speed with everyone else without having to go out there and do a lot of research on our own.”
The 42nd Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off on Wednesday, December 2nd with the Fifth Annual Cat Country 98.7/WEAR-TV Green Flag Party at Five Flags Speedway. Fans will be able to meet their favorite drivers and enjoy live music, food, drinks and other fun activities at the track. On-track action starts on Thursday, December 3rd with practice for the Snowball Derby and Allen Turner Snowflake 100 cars as well as feature events for Sportsmen and Bombers. Friday, December 4th is WXBM Pole Night for the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby, featuring Super Late Model qualifying and features for the Modifieds and Super Stocks.
The Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models will take center stage on Saturday, December 5th, with qualifying and then the green flag for the 100-lap feature. Last-chance qualifying events for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models will also be held on Saturday.
Then on Sunday, December 6th, it’s the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby, where the best racers in the country will take to Five Flags Speedway for 300 grueling laps.
Tickets and camping spaces are available by calling the Five Flags Speedway box office at (850) 944-8400 and order forms can be found online at www.snowballderby.com.
For more information on the Snowball Derby, contact Five Flags Speedway by calling (850) 944-8400 and be sure to visit www.snowballderby.com and www.fiveflagsspeedway.com.