There is nobody better to learn a craft from than the masters. Just playing on the same field, or racing on the same track, as the best athletes of a sport can only help to teach a young rising star the right way to get to the top of their game.
There is no place better in short track racing to run with the masters than at the Snowball Derby, held every December at Pensacola, Florida's Five Flags Speedway. As the most prestigious Super Late Model race in the country, the Derby attracts the top drivers of the sport from places as diverse as Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa and just about everywhere in between.
So it's no surprise that young Ohio native Jimmy Weller, who is on the fast track to success in the Super Late Model world after scoring a surprising PASS South victory at South Boston Speedway (VA) earlier this season, has declared his intent to race in the 43rd running of the Snowball Derby, scheduled for December 1st-5th at Five Flags.
“The only way to get better is to go and race with the best and that is what we are looking to do,” said Weller. “To go down and beat them would be awesome. You always look for the best and put the highest expectations on yourself. You never really do, but we want to go down there and run the best that we can.”
Weller is becoming a quick student of racing on asphalt after graduating from Dirt Modifieds and Sprint Cars a few years ago. Midway through the 2009 racing season, Weller gave up racing at tracks like Lake Erie Motor Speedway (PA), Motordrome Speedway (PA) and Holland Speedway (NY) and packed his bags for North Carolina. Since then, that is where he has been living and working towards his dream of moving up the racing ladder. Since that move, Weller has heard plenty of stories about Snowball Derby week at Five Flags and even got to experience the week last year as he entered the Saturday night Snowflake 100 during Derby week and finished a very respectable ninth in his debut at the track.
“You hear so much about it [Derby Week],” said Weller. “We ran the Snowflake last year. I enjoy the place and I'm looking forward to going back with a big motor.
“Back home, we hit a few tracks and that was it. Down here, we're running with everyone and we're running different tracks. We're running with the best. We're learning, we've had some success and it's been fun. We're having a good time. We would run about 12 different tracks up there, but these tracks here are so much different than the tracks up north. You learn a little more down here I think.”
The 43rd Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off on Wednesday, December 1st, with the Cat Country/WEAR TV3 Free Green Flag Party, where fans can meet their favorite drivers on the Five Flags asphalt. On-track action kicks off on Thursday, December 2nd, with practice for the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 cars, as well as features for the Five Flags Bomber and Sportsman divisions. Friday is qualifying day for the Snowball Derby cars, while the Pro Late Models will get more practice and the Super Stocks and Modified feature events.
The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 will go green on Saturday, December 4th, along with last-chance qualifying races for the Snowball Derby. Then on Sunday, the green flag will wave for the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby.
For more information on the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby, contact Five Flags Speedway by calling (850) 944-8400 and be sure to visit www.snowballderby.com and www.fiveflagsspeedway.com.