Lessard Leaning on Last Year’s Experiences for Snowball Success

After a smashing season of success, which included a CARS Tour Super Late Model title in 2016, Raphael Lessard took on the challenge that is the Snowball Derby last December with his eyes wide open. During the week, the teenager from Quebec would face challenge after challenge, which included a difficult racecar, a struggle to make the 300-lap feature and a great climb through the field. Despite all the early troubles, Lessard and David Gilliland Racing overcame the circumstances to score a strong top-10 finish. With last year’s experiences now behind him, the 16-year-old Lessard is ready for his return to Five Flags Speedway for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on December 3. “I can’t wait to go back, you’re in the car every day for four days and it’s pretty awesome,” Lessard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “Last year was challenging.  We had to go to the last chance race, [...]

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TECH CLARIFICATION BULLETIN: November 9, 2017

Under the following rules and guidelines the following change and clarification will be in place immediately for the 50TH Annual Snowball Derby. A. Eligible Cars and Bodies Guidelines 5. Cool-down units will be allowed. 13. No Data Acquisition equipment/wiring is allowed in or on car the car for the entire weekend starting on Wednesday. E. Suspension 3. No cockpit, driver adjustments, other than (1) one brake bias adjuster. I. Safety 4. All cars must have an working unaltered OBERG fuel shut off valve in placed at the point the fuel exits the cell. Any Questions call or email: Ricky Brooks [email protected] 850-324-6821

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50 for 50: Original Snowball Derby Polesitter Still Racing Today

When people talk about racing’s greatest ironmen, those in the Deep South short track racing circles will tell you to look no further than one of the sports living legends who still has no desire to hang up his helmet. Red Farmer is not only one of the founding members of the prestigious ‘Alabama Gang,’ but also its oldest that still races to this day, a career which began in 1948. For 32 seasons from the very first Snowball Derby in 1968 to 1999, he made every single Derby he attempted.  While he never was able to take home the trophy, he always managed to leave his mark. This includes the infamous 1968 edition, where he sat on pole and led the majority of the race. Though he does not remember too much about the inaugural Derby, it was the beginning of a long relationship with the Derby and Five [...]

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Gragson Geared Up for His Best Shot at Snowball Derby Victory

The year 2017 has been a challenging but rewarding experience for Noah Gragson in his first season with Kyle Busch Motorsports, navigating his rookie year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series while continuing his effort to become a better Super Late Model driver. After much work and a few struggles, Gragson was rewarded with a fantastic month of October, getting his first major Super Late Model win in the Winchester 400 and following it up with his first Truck Series win just three weeks later at Martinsville Speedway. Now with the season winding down, momentum is still on the side of Gragson as the Truck season concludes and the Las Vegas native prepares for his third appearance in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL) to cap things off. But like his first season in Trucks, Gragson’s experience the past two years in Pensacola has been a learning [...]

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Speed51.com to Offer Television-Style Broadcast of Snowball Derby

For the fourth consecutive year, the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL) will be available to a worldwide audience via a television-style broadcast on Speed51.com.  Five Flags Speedway officials and Speed51.com announced Wednesday that the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will be broadcast live through a pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 TV. Like all things that go along with the 50th Annual Snowball Derby, the live broadcast on Speed51.com will be bigger and better than ever in 2017.  Beginning on Wednesday, November 29, all five days of racing from Pensacola, FL will be available for race fans to view worldwide. Five-day video packages can be purchased now for a discounted price of $74.99. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE VIDEO TICKETS Highlighting the list of additions is 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter of Deforest, WI. Sauter, fresh off a NCWTS victory at Texas Motor Speedway, will be making his Snowball Derby debut [...]

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Snowball Derby Super Late Model Entry List Grows to 63

As the time remaining until the 50th Annual Snowball Derby winds down, the number of entry forms being received by the Five Flags Speedway office is ramping up.  On Wednesday afternoon, track officials released the latest look at the entry list that now includes the names of 63 Super Late Model racers from throughout the United States and Canada. CLICK HERE TO VIEW ENTRY LIST Highlighting the list of additions is 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter of Deforest, WI.  Sauter, fresh off a NCWTS victory at Texas Motor Speedway, will be making his Snowball Derby debut driving his own No. 5 Super Late Model. In addition to Sauter, another champion has also thrown his name in the mix.  2015 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South champion Tate Fogleman of Durham, NC has mailed in his entry form and has intentions to make his first Snowball Derby start in [...]

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Speed51.com to Provide Free Stream of Snowball Derby Preview

Preparations for the 50th Snowball Derby are well underway for all divisions participating during the five-day race weekend in Pensacola, Florida. Beforehand, teams will be heading to Five Flags Speedway early to see what their cars are capable of. The best opportunity to do so will be during the day-long Snowball Derby Preview on Saturday, November 18, and once again fans worldwide will be able to watch part of the day’s action live on Speed51.com. The Snowball Derby Preview includes a full day of rotating practice for the Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman, and Pure Stocks from 9 a.m. CT to 7 p.m. CT. Speed51.com’s video stream will go live at 4 p.m. CT for the final three hours of practice. “We’re glad to be able to work with the Bryant family and the staff at Five Flags Speedway to give race fans a taste [...]

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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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