Butcher Hoping Everyone Knows His Name After First Derby Start

Many in Super Late Model racing across North America don’t know Cole Butcher’s name just yet, but there’s a good chance that can change at the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on Sunday, December 3. Butcher is making a 2,000-mile trek from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida hoping to become the first Canadian to win the Snowball Derby. While it would be Butcher’s first Derby start, this won’t be his first trip to the legendary half-mile near the coast of Florida’s panhandle. Butcher scored a top-10 finish in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race last December. “It would be very impressive on your resume, especially with this being my first Derby and I’ve only raced down south a handful of times. I remember at the last Snowflake everyone saying ‘Who is Cole Butcher?’” If you don’t know who Cole Butcher is yet, here’s some background [...]

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Nasse Focused on ‘Wins and Wins Only’ at Snowball Derby

Throughout his career Stephen Nasse has never been afraid to share what’s on his mind, whether it’s about a fellow competitor or even himself. The former was on full display at the Snowball Derby one year ago, but the latter has also been demonstrated as Nasse and the No. 51 team prepare for the 50th Snowball Derby on December 3 at Five Flags Speedway. Nasse enters this year’s Snowball Derby on the heels of a championship season with the Southern Super Series. But despite showing consistency en route to the championship, Nasse didn’t reach victory lane. That is something that he’s focused on accomplishing as he heads to the biggest race of the year in Pensacola, FL. “I feel like when we go out there we always have a shot at a top ten,” Nasse said. “I think in everyone’s eye that’s a consistent and good finish. But I didn’t get [...]

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Brooks & Staff More Prepared Than Ever for Snowball Derby Tech

If Ricky Brooks has one goal for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby week, it’s to see all race cars pass through technical inspection on their first try. While the chances of that realistically happening may be slim, the Chief Technical Inspector and his staff are doing everything they can to make sure that racers know what they’re getting into before they arrive at Five Flags Speedway. “We’ve been working on stuff for probably a month now getting prepared for it with personnel and basically the information sheets we hand out on Thursday,” Brooks told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’re just trying to make things be smoother. It’s been smooth but this year we’re just putting in a lot more effort to make sure people are aware of what’s going on, when it’s going on and all of that. In all honesty, when we show up on Wednesday, if we can [...]

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Snowball Derby Kickoff Party & Show Just One Week Away

The 50th Annual Snowball Derby is almost here. The big race itself is less than two weeks away. But before the cars and teams and fans file through the gates of Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway, it’s time to have some laid-back fun. The Snowball Derby Kickoff Party is less than one week away, and we can’t wait. Speed51 will once again host the Kickoff Party at the Beef O’Brady’s location in historic downtown Pensacola on Palafox Street on Tuesday, November 28. This year, the Kickoff Party will have a new twist as Speed51 will be live with a special episode of “Short Track Center” presented by JRi Shocks and PFC Brakes on location from the Kickoff Party. Fans are encouraged to come down and eat some good food, have fun with family and friends, play some games and mingle with their favorite drivers and teams. Admission into the Kickoff Party [...]

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Top 50 Snowball Derby Drivers of All-Time: 31-40

As we approach the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway, it only makes sense to put together a list of the top 50 drivers who have helped shape the history of the prestigious race. We start today with a look at #31 through #40 on the all-time list. If you haven’t viewed #41 – #50 on the all-time list, you can do so now by clicking here. 40 – Bobby Allison Starts – 17 Wins – 0 Top Fives – 4 Top 10s – 8 It’s hard to swallow the fact that Bobby Allison never won the Snowball Derby; his numbers were impressive at times. Among his four top-five finishes in the race, he finished second in 1968. Allison also had a pole run in 1975, the year his brother Donnie won the race. Allison ran the race 17 times before his NASCAR injury in 1988. 39 – Rusty Wallace Starts – 9 Wins – 0 Top Fives [...]

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50 for 50: Bradberry Goes From Snowstorm to Snowball Victory

Forward written by Speed51.com’s Executive Editor Bob Dillner Although some time has passed, I certainly have not forgotten about Charlie Bradberry. To me, he was a buddy, who just happened to be a helluva race car driver. We tragically lost Charlie in a highway accident in 2006, just three years after winning the NASCAR Southeast Series (All-Pro) championship and more importantly, the Snowball Derby. The friendship between Charlie and I began years before he ever hoisted the Tom Dawson Trophy at Five Flags Speedway, but our history with the Snowball Derby was forever cemented that weekend. As I mentioned, Charlie had won a NASCAR Touring Series title that year and was invited to New York for the Cup Series banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria. I was there as well, covering the banquet for the now defunct SPEED Channel. We spent some time together in the Big Apple that weekend and laughed when [...]

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Query to Call the Shots for Fredrickson at Snowball Derby

Two of the top names in Super Late Model racing will join forces for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Dan Fredrickson is set to make the trip to Pensacola, FL for the biggest race of the year and has tapped veteran driver and crew chief Freddie Query to call the shots on top of the pit box. “For probably 10 or 12 years now I’ve talked to Freddie on and off about racing and different chassis stuff and car dynamics and I’ve always really liked the way he thought about things,” Fredrickson told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “So when I heard he didn’t have a deal going I thought that’s exactly who I need.” “Dan and I have kinda been friends for a long time,” Query explained. “We talk racing every now and then and he called me a couple weeks ago and asked me if I [...]

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Majeski Hoping to Finally Capitalize at the Snowball Derby

Two drivers have dominated the Super Late Model scene the last few years.  No drivers have won more than Ty Majeski and Bubba Pollard. However, neither driver has won the Snowball Derby.  Of those two, Majeski has come the closest the last two years, finishing third each time. Now, the Seymour, Wisconsin driver is hoping that this year, the 50th year for the Snowball Derby, is the year he gets to hoist the Tom Dawson Trophy high above his head. Majeski heads to Pensacola, Florida for the December 3rd race now as a four-time and defending champion of the ARCA Midwest Tour, a three-time Florida Governor’s Cup winner, and with a newly signed partial schedule NASCAR XFINITY Series contract with Roush Fenway Racing all on his resume. He’s also boasting a winning percentage of more than 50-percent. Majeski himself is even unsure of the exact number, but he knows he’s [...]

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Top 50 Snowball Derby Drivers of All-Time: 41-50

As we approach the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway, it only makes sense to put together a list of the top 50 drivers who have helped shape the history of the prestigious race. We start today with a look at #41 through #50 on the all-time list. 50 – Bubba Pollard Starts – 9 Wins – 0 Top Fives – 2 Top 10s – 2 Bubba Pollard has started from the front row twice in the Snowball Derby, but he has yet to score a Tom Dawson trophy. He’s led the race four times and posted a pair of top-five runs. He’s set to make his 10th start in the race this year in Pensacola. More good finishes, especially a victory, would move him up the ladder. 49 – Jerry Lawley Starts – 12 Wins – 0 Top Fives – 3 Top 10s – 4 This list is not just for the winners, but the drivers with longevity. [...]

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50 for 50: GARC Chassis Have History of Derby Success

When Tom Dawson had a vision of a big end-of-the-year race called the Snowball Derby, he probably didn’t imagine that the race would turn into a battle of chassis manufacturers. As we visited earlier in the 50 for 50 series, cars were home built until the mid 70’s before the chassis makers began making the speed plants that would rocket drivers to victory lane. Names like Hamke, Port City, Dillon, Lefthander, Fury and Rander have tasted victory at the Derby throughout its 50-year history. However, one name has stood above the rest over the decades and the wins seem to keep coming from a race shop located in Dolomite, Alabama. That race shop is the home of Grand American Race Cars, which has a long history of success at Five Flags Speedway and the Snowball Derby. “You can look back at the pictures and you can see that over the years [...]

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Snowball Derby Best Appearing Car Contest Returns to Speed51.com

he Snowball Derby is known for its great racing, amazing atmosphere and deeply talented starting lineups. But another thing that the Snowball Derby has become known for recently are the special paint schemes that many teams unveil specifically for the biggest short track event of the year. This year, the Speed51.com Best Appearing Car Contest will return as we expect the 50th Annual Snowball Derby to be the best year yet for special designs. The tradition began close to a decade ago with Johnny VanDoorn and his “ice” design on his Super Late Model. Since then, the special designs have become as fun to see as the race itself. In 2014, Ross Kenseth ran a car that nobody could ever forget. The car became known as the “Ugly Sweater” car, as it was meant to look like many of the tacky holiday sweaters one would see on the racks at many [...]

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Snowball Derby Local Division Entries Flying Into Pensacola

Over the last half-century, the Snowball Derby has gained a reputation as one the greatest and most formidable Super Late Model events in the nation. While both the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models form the core of Snowball Derby week, the 50th running of the Derby will feature a collection of multiple divisions over the course of four days. With just over a week remaining until these racers descend upon Five Flags Speedway, we are getting our first look at who will be participating in the Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman and Pure Stocks. In the Modifieds, 2017 Five Flags Speedway and Modifieds of Mayhem champion Joe Aramendia sets his sight on his first Snowball Derby Modified win on Friday, December 1. Another Florida Modified ace Cody Stickler, who has had much success during Florida Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway, is also after his first Derby win in the [...]

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50 for 50: The Longest Day in Derby History

It was to be the race’s finest hour, but in the end it was a PR nightmare. 1999 was built as the Big Bonus at the Snowball Derby as three drivers had a shot at a $100,000 bonus if they could win the race. The drivers were involved were four-time Snowball Derby winner Rich Bickle, 1992 winner Gary St. Amant and 1993 and 1997 winner Bobby Gill. In the quest for the big money you had seven Derby wins represented. The trio had won all but two Snowball races dating back to 1990. So what could go wrong? The day started with a 30 minute delay because of an issue with the caution lights. From there only 60 odd laps would be run before rain would slow the race for several hours. At this point Gary St. Amant had already been eliminated leaving just two for the money. The Pensacola News Journal [...]

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50 for 50: 1980, The Lap Heard Around the World

Super Late Models came from all regions to Five Flags Speedway and could not master the lap that was laid down in 1980. It was a perfect storm. Temperatures in the mid 50’s. Body rules out the window. Tires soaked right up and finally, a wild man behind the wheel know as Hot Shoe. Gary Balough blistered around Five Flags Speedway during qualifying for the 1980 Snowball Derby and for some it must have looked like he was going to take off on the backstretch. “We did a lot of tire testing for Goodyear back in those days and we helped with their Cup programs all the time,” said Balough. “I had a Goodyear deal with Penske up in the Northeast. I worked real hard with the engineers to make the tires go. We really helped to get the Goodyear deal rolling up there.” Balough’s lap at the click of the stopwatch was [...]

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50 For 50: Scoring Issues the Theme of the Derby in the Seventies

The Snowball Derby was growing and the reach was far and wide by the 1976 season. One year after Donnie Allison tasted victory at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida the fans of the Alabama Gang wanted a repeat, but in 1976 what they got was mess of confusion from three drivers and a big post-race protest. Darrell Waltrip was fresh off a 1976 NASCAR campaign that saw him win at Bristol and run well on all the short tracks. Waltrip started second in the 45-car field and was flagged the winner at the end of the day. However, two other drivers, Harry Gant and Freddie Fryar each claimed that they had won the race. The check of the scoring went well into the night and victory lane photos did not make the papers. “I loved that race because it was the best of the best,” said Waltrip looking back on his [...]

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50 For 50: Gibbs Gives ‘Bama Fans Something to Cheer for at the Derby

Roll Tide. Race fans in Alabama love football. Growing up in the state that has produced National Champions countless times it becomes part of your Saturday as much as going to the race track. 1983 was a dark year for Alabama fans as Paul “Bear” Bryant (no relation to Tim Bryant) retired and passed away over a four week span. In the Alabama racing scene at the Snowball Derby there wasn’t much to cheer about either as they had not won the race since 1978. Enter Mickey Gibbs, a young and up and coming driver who was living in Georgia at the time of the late race season in 1983 when the new race, the World Crown 300 was the buzz. Gibbs ran the $50,000 to win race and wasn’t a factor. “My dad helped promote that race when we were in Georgia,” said Gibbs. “I don’t even recall if we ran it.” Perhaps [...]

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ON TIME, IN THE MONEY FOR THESE 7

Newbies and seasoned veterans worked to iron out the kinks in their setup Saturday at the annual Snowball Preview practice session. When the transponders were turned on to find out who was fastest, these Magnificent 7 were on target to take the best time in their division, and the cash awards Super LM Casey Roderick Pro LM Derrick Griffin Modified Jeff Choquette Outlaw Stock Bubba Winslow Pro Truck Logan Boyett Sportsmen Brannon Fowler Pure Stock Robert Balkum

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50 for 50: Johanna Long’s Fairy Tale Snowball Derby Win

In 1953 Frank Sinatra recorded the song ‘Young at Heart.” In it he proclaimed, “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart.” In 2010 that Sinatra hit became the mantra for an 18-year-old girl at the Snowball Derby. The fairy tale came true for Pensacola’s favorite ‘Lady of Racing,” Johanna Long (now Johanna Robbins). The young aspiring racing star and daughter of veteran racer Donald Long, had the entire short track world stand up and take notice when she defeated the best in Super Late Model racing, on its biggest stage, in the 43rd Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. The chants of “Jo, Jo” reached an all-time high that December day in Pensacola, FL. Her reputation in the panhandle of Florida is that of folklore and it is her Snowball Derby victory that cemented that lore forever more. You see, Johanna became only the [...]

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