32 Drivers Expected from 13 States for Twin Blizzard 100’s. ENTRY LIST ATTACHED

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Super Duper: Rowdy Twin 100s Kicks Off Blizzard Series Season with Doubleheader Weekend

 

By Chuck Corder

Less than six months shy from the 53rd annual running of the Snowball Derby, a blizzard is forecast this weekend at Five Flags Speedway.

The storm will come in the form of Rowdy Energy Twin 100s, as the half-mile asphalt oval will host two nights of racing on Friday and Saturday nights.

The first two Southern Super Series Blizzard Series races of the season at Pensacola’s high banks will feature a who’s who of Super Late Model drivers from 13 different states, giving this weekend a mini-Derby feel. The field will be led by Bubba Pollard, the all-time leader in Blizzard Series wins with 20. 

The stakes are raised as someone could leave potentially with $36,500 if a driver sweeps the weekend and participates in a karaoke contest at Beef O’ Brady’s on Thursday night.

 “We’re excited to get back to Pensacola,” Pollard said. “It’s really a place we call home. And they’re putting the money on the line. That has brought a lotta attention this weekend. We’re eager to get back to Five Flags.”

The SLMs will be joined by the Faith Chapel Outlaws and Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks on Friday night. Then on Saturday, the SLMs and Pure Stocks return with the WCIparts.com Pro Trucks competing in a 35-lap feature.

The grandstand gates open at 4 p.m. each day and admission is as follows: $20 for adults each night or $30 if you pay for both nights at once; $17 for seniors, military, and students (or $30 for both); and children ages 11-and-under get in free both nights.

The Blizzard Series drivers will compete in the #Forever11 100 lapper Friday night, as the race will be a tribute to longtime SLM driver and Derby participant David Rogers, who passed in March after his lengthy battle with cancer.

Pollard and Rogers shared a close relationship, on and off the track, with Pollard driving Rogers’ famed TM Ranch No. 11 SLM en route to a Speedweeks championship in 2017 at New Smyrna Speedway in central Florida.

“You won’t find a better person than what David was,” Pollard said. “When I talked with David, I could always be myself. We were a lot alike in the way we raced and the way we went about things.

“The friendship with David and his team, made me feel right at home. He was a great man. And, what he’s left for the sport of short-track racing, hopefully, that legacy lives on forever.”

Rogers was a fixture the last three decades in Pensacola and made short-track history in December at the 52nd Derby when he made his 33rd start in short-track’s most prestigious race, eclipsing Red Farmer’s previous mark of 32.

Hunter Robbins, who is back in the seat of Ronnie Sanders’ iconic No. 18 SLM, remembered Rogers as the consummate old-school driver.

“He was definitely a hard-nosed racer,” Robbins said. “He’s a legend of the sport. To continue to do it at the age he did, and what he was going through, it’s truly amazing. I took a few years off and I was wondering if I could do it again, and at his age he was and still winning races.”

Robbins is looking this weekend to rekindle what was once a prolific racing career. He quit driving in 2015 when he moved to North Carolina to serve as an engineer on Kyle Busch’s program in NASCAR’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

After three years, Robbins moved to Pensacola to be near family. Robbins married 2010 Derby champion and Pensacola native Johanna Robbins (née Long). The two have a 3-year-old daughter named Rory.

“The whole goal in moving back was to race more,” Hunter Robbins said. “After not driving for four years, I’ve kind of had to learn how to do it again. How much to push the car and how much I could get out of it and not wear the tires out, and actually be there at the end of a 100-lap race. I’m getting my confidence back, and hopeful to contend for the wins this weekend.”

After tests a month ago at Pensacola yielded the results he was looking for, Illinois driver Boris Jurkovic is excited that the doubleheader gives him two bites at the apple.

The 50-year-old Jurkovic plans to run all the Blizzard Series races this season, as he compiles notes for the Derby in December.

“This is gonna be special,” Jurkovic said. “Pensacola is great place to race. It’d be a lot more fun if I was better, but I’m hoping this weekend will be a little different. The car is as prepared as it will ever be. To be able to go there and have a mini-Derby, we’re looking forward to know where we stack up.”

Pollard loves the level of competition that will be in Pensacola this weekend. More so, though, the Senoia, Ga, driver is just happy to be back at a track that has brought him so many memories and joy.

“It has been tough the last several months, but I’m glad to come back down there,” Pollard said. “I feed off the fans, and the excitement to be at the racetrack.

“Pensacola is a place I love. Our team has a lotta fans in that area. Hopefully, we make everybody proud, and get to hang out with friends and family down that way who we don’t always get to see.”