Ben Rowe ‘Loading Up the Van’ for the Snowball Derby

One of the Northeast’s most established Super Late Model racers is loading up a van full of crew members and heading from Turner, ME to Pensacola, FL.  Ben Rowe, a four-time PASS National champion and two-time Oxford 250 winner, will be making his way to Five Flags Speedway to compete in the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on Sunday, December 3. “It’s one of those races like the Oxford 250 that you always hear about throughout the country,” Rowe told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “I have never even been to it so I think it’d be pretty cool just to go down there and be there.” Rowe will drive the yellow No. 4 Super Late Model for long-time car owner Richard Moody and will have guidance from one of the Gulf Coast region’s most well-known setup experts. “In the last a little over a year we’ve been kind of hiring Mike Garvey as [...]

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Green Flag Pit Party Returns Bigger & Better at Snowball Derby

Race fans who are heading to Pensacola, Florida for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will once again be in for a full week of excitement at Five Flags Speedway beginning Wednesday night, November 29 with the Green Flag Pit Party. This year, the Wednesday night activities are getting a high-octane facelift for the momentous occasion. While the day includes load-in and preliminary technical inspection for Late Model teams, things begin to get cranking at 6 p.m. CT with the qualifying draw for both the Snowball Derby and Allen Turner Snowflake 100. New for this season, the draw will be held in a tent in the fan zone at Five Flags Speedway so that the track can be race ready. For the first time in Derby history, racing will be held as a part of the Wednesday night activities with the 50-lap feature for the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks kicking off the [...]

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Dale Sheen – Bucket List Driver in Snowball Derby

Dale Sheen, a Houston Texas driver with 4 years racing experience in Nascar Pro Trucks has registered for the Snowball Derby. At the Age of 56, He says it is on his bucket list and he is excited to be coming to Pensicola. Dale was 4th in the Whelan Midwest Series in his class in 2014, and 79th in the Nation. Besides racing, he is a Prosthetic Practitioner. For 30 years Dale has provided artificial limbs to amputees. Look for his Bright Yellow 06 truck Dec 2nd.

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50 for 50: The Holy Grail of the Derby

Over the years the readers of Speed51.com have been treated to some amazing numbers, win lists, statistics and random facts in our stories and Trackside Now coverage.  The reason is we take our time, do research and keep lots of records.   The two main people behind this project are Elgin Traylor and Tim Quievryn. Traylor is a long time contributor of 51 and Quievryn runs TheThirdTurn.com.  They have spent hundreds of hours looking at old papers, programs and talking to the right people who know where to look. Some races have been hard to come by and some things are still in the works, but the biggest mysteries out there is the first running of the Snowball Derby in 1968.  Very little is know about the race and officially only the winner and second-place drivers are recorded. “We’ve spent years pouring over all of racing’s major trade papers and local newspapers [...]

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Extra Cash on the Line for Teams at Snowball Preview

While the beginning of December is the main target for teams entered in the 50th Snowball Derby, there are a great number of teams that are set to head Five Flags Speedway in the month of November. The majority of the teams looking for a leg up will be in Pensacola, FL on Saturday, November 18 for the Snowball Derby Preview.  Once again, those teams will also be able to compete for some extra cash as they prepare for the big race. While this open track day is primarily designed to allow for plenty of test time for teams across all divisions, Five Flags is spicing things up to end the day. The fastest teams in each division will each go home with some extra money for the quickest lap time in the final session for their respective division. The quickest Super Late Model team will pocket $500 while the fastest [...]

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50 for 50: ‘Front Row Joe’ Wins Championship at Snowball Derby

The Snowball Derby is by far the biggest pavement short track race there is. It’s the race that every Super Late Model driver dreams of winning. Having your name placed on the Tom Dawson trophy is something that only a select few drivers can say they’ve achieved.  But for a few years, the Snowball Derby had a little bit more meaning to some drivers because a championship was on the line. In 1989, the All Pro Super Series crowned a champion at the Snowball Derby. That champion also earned Rookie of the Year honors. That driver was Joe Nemechek. The man known as “Front Row Joe” didn’t finish at the very front of the field on a cold Sunday in early December in Pensacola, FL but his seventh-place finish was enough to clinch the championship. “I thought we ran pretty darn good in that race,” Nemechek began.  “It’s so hard to remember [...]

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Johnny Sauter to Make Snowball Derby Debut in December

One of the Midwest’s most accomplished racers will be making his way to Pensacola, Florida this December. 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter has filed an entry for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Sauter will make his way to the historic short track racing event with his own team, a couple buddies and a trio of supporters – Smokey Mountain, Triple K Construction and Deppe Enterprises – that helped make his Snowball Derby debut possible. “Better late than never, right? I’ve got some people that want to help me out and go do it,” Sauter told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “That’s probably the biggest reason.  I have no idea what I’m in for.  I’m just going to go down there and have some fun.” The Snowball Derby will not be Sauter’s first Super Late Model race of the season, as he has competed in a [...]

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50 for 50: Ever-Changing Distance of the Snowball Derby

Over the years, we have seen some interesting things at the Snowball Derby.  Wild finishes, heavy attrition and drivers winning with crash damage and/or no hood.  At 300 laps, the Derby is one of the biggest tests of endurance in short track racing.  However, the race hasn’t always been the 300-lap distance it is today. In fact, it’s been ever-changing since the first Snowball Derby.    The first race in 1968 was only 100 laps.  The event returned in 1969 at the same distance and then track promoter Tom Dawson made the call to double the race to 200 laps for the 1970 event.   It was a move that would help put the race on the map and add to the excitement by forcing teams to pit for fuel and tires.  The plan worked to a certain degree.   In 1970, Wayne Niedecken outlasted the field on skinny tires to win the Snowball [...]

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Five Days of Racing for Just $75 at the Snowball Derby

For some people, it may come as a surprise that one of the most sought after tickets in short track racing is also one of the most affordable.  However, that is the case when it comes to the 50th Annual Snowball Derby, one of the most highly-anticipated asphalt racing events ever. With five days of racing, many would expect to at least blow through a $100 bill to get through the gates for all five days. However, that is not the case. A five-day reserved seat ticket for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby is only $75. That’s right, an average of $15 per day to watch one of the biggest events of the short track racing season. With each passing day, the anticipation for the 50th Snowball Derby continues to grow for both competitors and race fans. Every day more and more people make their plans to journey to Five Flags Speedway [...]

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50 for 50: Best Drivers Who Never Won the Snowball Derby

“50 for 50” is a new series on Speed51.com that will tell the 50 best stories to have ever come out of the Snowball Derby. The stories will focus on the legendary tales of the event as we prepare for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on December 3.    Many have tried but only a select few have succeeded at the Snowball Derby. Some of the biggest names in the racing world have failed to win the Tom Dawson Trophy and the list of those who haven’t won the race is almost as impressive as those who have.  Below are the 10 biggest names who, despite their best efforts, have never won the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL).    Red Farmer Starts: 32 Top Fives: 1 Top 10s: 4 Best Finish: 2nd (1987)   Farmer saw the green flag 32 times, but he never saw the checkered flag first in the Snowball Derby.  In 1968, he was leading [...]

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50 for 50: Turner Put Georgia Back on Snowball Derby Map

From the years 1985 to 1996, drivers from the State of Georgia won the Snowball Derby four times.  Over the next few years, it looked as if the Peach State was not going to be a factor in Derby races of the future.  Then came along Ricky Turner, an accomplished driver who had a date with destiny at the 2002 Snowball Derby. Turner could not find the speed to be one of the front-runners in practice at Five Flags Speedway (FL) that year.  He missed qualifying into the race through time trials but was given a provisional in the form of the 34th starting position. Early in the race, Turner got tangled up a few times while trying to work his way through the field and suffered crash damage. “We were kinda in over our heads compared to the other teams that we were pitting against,” Turner told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. [...]

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Snowball Derby Kickoff Party Begins Action-Packed Week

An annual tradition will return in a big way leading into the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL). Prior to the action-packed weekend at the race track, the Snowball Derby Kickoff Party will be held on Tuesday, November 28 at Beef O’Brady’s in downtown Pensacola, FL. The annual party gives racers, race teams and fans the chance to hang out, cut lose and have a good time before the high-intensity that comes with the Snowball Derby. Once again, Speed51.com will be live from Beef O’Brady’s starting at 6 p.m. C.T on Tuesday evening with a show that can be viewed worldwide. Fans will be able to tune in for free for a special on-location version of Short Track Center live from the hub of the Snowball Derby. Race fans tuning in will be able to watch exclusive interviews with drivers including Bubba Pollard, who is one of the fan [...]

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Speed51.com Brings Back Iced-Out Look for 50th Snowball Derby

Thermostats all across America are starting to show a drop in temperatures as the calendar flips ever closer to its last page of 2017. On Wednesday, holiday music started to grace the airwaves on many radio stations, and Speed51.com powered by JEGS turned “Ice Blue” to signify the true start of Snowball Derby season. Speed51.com is celebrating its 17th year as the official media partner of the Snowball Derby by changing the look of the website for the weeks leading up to the 50th Annual Snowball Derby. While the weather in Pensacola, Florida is always an unknown, the iced-out look will help fans get ready for the big race week of November 29 – December 3. “Everyone knows how big the Snowball Derby is and we have fans all across America and in Canada that look forward to us becoming iced-out in the weeks leading up to the prestigious race. This race [...]

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LaJoie Not Stopping Until He Wins Snowball Derby

Corey LaJoie is one of the few drivers that can genuinely say he “made it” as the Concord, NC native competes at NASCAR’s highest level on a regular basis. LaJoie cut his teeth through the ranks of short track racing before moving up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Even though he maintains a busy schedule on the circuit, once a year he makes an effort to climb back behind the wheel of a Super Late Model and compete at the most prestigious race in short track racing, the Snowball Derby. This will be LaJoie’s fourth trip to Pensacola, Florida and this season he is teaming up with Jamie Yelton and Fat Head Racing in hopes that this is the year that they can bring home the famous Tom Dawson trophy. “I sold my car about halfway through the summer and now that I have started going down to the [...]

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50 for 50: The History of Crew Chiefs at Snowball Derby

While researching information for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby, we started to ask former race winners one question that resulted in some interesting stories.   Who was your crew chief? In the early days and even up into the 90’s, the answer to that questions was normally, “the driver.”  However, along the way, we discovered some interesting history about those who have won the race from the top of the pit box.   Let’s start with 1978 when Dave Mader III won the Tom Dawson trophy.  The man calling the shots in the pits that year was another Alabama native, Larry McReynolds.  Years later, McReynolds would work with Davey Allison and won another big race in Florida, the Daytona 500. Six years later, the current NASCAR television broadcaster won the Daytona 500 with the late Dale Earnhardt. As far as we can tell, McReynolds is the only crew chief to win both the [...]

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Miss Snowball Derby Entries Received From All Over the Map

With the 50th Annual Snowball Derby just over one month away, the 4th Annual Miss Snowball Derby Pageant is entering the final countdown as ladies from all across the country continue to throw their names into the mix. The field for this year’s Miss Snowball Derby is already an impressive one, with locals in the Pensacola, FL area well represented. However, the Miss Snowball Derby pageant isn’t just open to those locally; it’s open to women worldwide who would like to compete for the crown. Surrounding areas such as Southern Alabama and Tallahassee are also represented on the list of current entrants, and entries from as far away as North Carolina have also been received. The 2017 Miss Snowball Derby pageant is open to all ladies 18 years or older from anywhere in the land, so long as they attend the pageant on Thursday, November 16 and are present for the week [...]

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50 for 50: Spence Has Witnessed It All at Snowball Derby

“50 for 50” is a new series on Speed51.com that will tell the 50 best stories to have ever come out of the Snowball Derby. The stories will focus on the legendary tales of the event as we prepare for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on December 3.  Dan Spence has seen it all when it comes to the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.  The veteran race director has witnessed his fair share of those races from the flagstand, the tower and even the grandstands in Pensacola, FL. Throughout his years working with NASCAR, the All Pro Super Series and the old ASA National Tour, Spence made it a point to be at the Snowball Derby.  Nearly every December, he would find himself somewhere at Five Flags Speedway watching the prestigious race.  Although we can’t factually say that he’s never missed a Snowball Derby, we can say that he’s only missed [...]

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Lap Sponsorships Now Available for 50th Annual Snowball Derby

The biggest short track race in America is right around the corner and everything to prepare for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL) is in full swing. Lap Sponsorship for the 300-lap feature race is now available for purchase for $50 per lap. This is an opportunity for drivers to cash in an extra paycheck by taking home the extra chunk of change for each lap that they lead in the Snowball Derby on December 3, 2017. As much as $15,000 in lap money is available as the battle for the lead becomes that much more intense f“With the help of our friends at Speed51.com we’ll be making an all-out effort to sell every lap for the Snowball Derby,” said Tim Bryant, promoter of Five Flags Speedway and the Snowball Derby.  “Leading a race like the Derby is where you want to be anyway, but a [...]

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50 for 50: Frigid Temps, Fire and the First Snowball Derby

Elvis Presley was still on tour, Lyndon B Johnson was on his way out of the oval office, America was racing to the moon and Pensacola, Florida was about to become a vacation spot for stock car fans with the birth of the Snowball Derby. Tom Dawson was the owner and operator of Five Flags Speedway and they had big plans for a late season event that would stand the test of time.   It all came together in 1968 when Dawson promoted the first Snowball Derby which paid $1,000 to win.  The event would be held on Sunday, December 15th on a cold afternoon. “One thing I can remember was how cold it was,” said current Five Flags Speedway race director Dan Spence. “It seems like it was one of the coldest days I’ve ever sat in the grandstands.  The purse for the race was $5,000 and that was a big [...]

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Snowball Derby Preview Provides a Chance to Get Race Ready

With the 50th Snowball Derby drawing ever closer, race teams across all divisions are planning their plan of attack to take on the ever fast and tricky Five Flags Speedway (FL). As always, many teams are also planning to arrive in Pensacola, FL early to try and get a leg up, especially given the fast nature of the Derby week schedule. To help out, Five Flags Speedway will once again open its gates early to give teams the time they need with the Snowball Derby Preview on Saturday, November 18. This full open practice day will be available for all divisions competing over Derby week which runs from November 29 to December 3. This includes Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, Florida Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Super Stocks, Sportsman and Pure Stocks. “We realize our schedule is tight during Snowball Derby week. This is an opportunity without the expense of a private [...]

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