“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 when his car went over the wall.  He would have many more chances, but the best he could do was a second in 1987.  That just happened to be his only top-five run in the prestigious race. 


David Rogers races with Ross Kenseth during the 2014 Snowball Derby. (Speed51.com photo)

David Rogers races with Ross Kenseth during the 2014 Snowball Derby. (Speed51.com photo)

David Rogers

Starts: 31

Top Fives: 1

Top 10s: 8

Best Finish: 4th (1979)


Another short track ironman, David Rogers, has hit the 31 mark when it comes to Snowball Derby starts.  Rogers was fourth in 1979 which was his best career finish in the race.  Over the years, he has logged eight top-10 finishes and he’s still active.  Rogers has entered this year’s Snowball Derby and could tie Red Farmer this season for most starts.  


Bobby Allison

Starts: 17

Top Fives: 4

Top 10s: 8

Best Finish: 2nd (1968)


One of the founding members of the Alabama Gang, Bobby Allison had 17 starts in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.  His best run came in the first race when he finished second to Wayne Niedecken in 1968.  Despite three other top-five runs and eight top-10 runs, Allison never won the Derby.


In 1975, Allison won the pole for the race but lost a lap after an altercation with Ronnie Sanders; that day his brother Donnie won the race.


Rusty Wallace

Starts: 9

Top Fives: 3

Top 10s: 4

Best Finish: 2nd (1979 and 1985)

1982 pole winner


Wallace was a short track ace before his NASCAR days and the Derby was a perfect example of that.  In 1979 and 1985, he came home the runner-up.  In all, he had three podium finishes but never ended up at the top of the podium at the Snowball Derby.  Wallace was always fast at Five Flags Speedway, and that proved to be especially true in 1982 when he claimed the pole.  In 2004, Wallace watched his son Steve win the Snowball Derby, a first for the Wallace family.


Junior Niedecken is regular at Five Flags, most notably in the Pro Late Model division. (Speed51.com photo)

Junior Niedecken is regular at Five Flags, most notably in the Pro Late Model division. (Speed51.com photo)

Junior Niedecken

Starts: 28

Top Fives: 3

Top 10s: 10

Best Finish: 2nd (1990)


For his entire racing career, Junior Niedecken tried to do what his father did before him by winning the Snowball Derby.  After 27 career starts in the race, the Pensacola, Florida driver has 10 top-10 runs and a career-best second in 1990 to Rich Bickle.  He is third in all-time starts behind David Rogers and Red Farmer.  


Scott Carlson

Starts: 16

Top Fives: 2

Top 10s: 6

Best Finish: 4th (1999)


Carlson was a local hero for many years and even won six Blizzard races, but the Snowball Derby never went his way.  He started from the pole in 2001 and led 63 laps before finishing fifth.  His best finish came in 1999 when he finished fourth. He posted six top 10 runs in 16 starts.  


Freddie Query

Starts: 9

Top Fives: 3

Top 10s: 3

Best Finish: 3rd (1998 and 2001)



Freddie Query holds a Snowball Derby record that he’d rather not be known for.  Query is the all-time laps leader for drivers who have not won the Derby.  In all, he led 398 laps which is more than a full race.  He has posted three top-five runs in nine starts, with his best coming in 1998 and 2001 when he recorded third-place runs.


300x250 Snowball Derby (Oct) 2017Dick Trickle

Starts: 4

Top Fives: 2

Top 10s: 3

Best Finish: 5th (1979 and 1984)


The king of short track racing did a lot in the south and a lot all around the county, but he never won the Snowball Derby. In 1979, he was fifth and he would repeat that effort again in 1984.  To our knowledge, Trickle completed every lap he ever ran at the Snowball Derby, but it was never enough to get a win.


Bob Senneker

Starts: 5

Top Fives: 2

Top 10s: 4

Best Finish: 4th (1977 and 1991)


The ASA king Bob Senneker was a master of extra-distance races.  In addition to his unprecedented seven Winchester 400 victories, Senneker also scored big wins in the All American 400 and Glass City 200. However, the Snowball Derby was never his cup of tea. He was a footnote fourth in 1977 with the Waltrip-Sanders scoring mess.  He was also a footnote fourth behind an epic Rich Bickle and Jeff Purvis battle in 1991. Senneker tried and the Derby was one thing he couldn’t add to his resume. 


Scott Hansen

Starts: 8

Top Fives: 5

Top 10s: 7

Best Finish: 2nd (1999)


Hansen, who hails from Green Bay, WI, gave the Derby a go on eight occasions with a best finish of second coming in 1999.  Hansen led 38 laps over two Snowball Derbys and posted five top-five runs along with seven top-10 runs.  Considering his success back home and on the ASA Tour, it’s a shocker that he never took home the Tom Dawson trophy.


-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

-Photo credit: Dave Pavlock

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