For some fans and drivers, the annual Allen Turner Snowflake 100 goes back to the days of the first Pro Late Model season at Five Flags Speedway. The crate engines were to be the new breed of racing at an affordable cost.  After digging up some past history on the Sunday race (Snowball Derby) we found that the Snowflake itself has a rich history.

 

It all began in 1983 when Rick Crawford won a 30-lap Late Model race for local cars.  Several drivers spoke up, saying that they wanted to be a part of the weekend but couldn't afford the big race.  Only 17 cars answered the call that first time out, but it would only get bigger from there. 

 

300x250 Snowball Derby PPVIn 1984, the race was extended to 50 laps as 28 cars took the green flag, but the results were the same with Crawford once again taking the win that year.  Notably, a young Scott Carlson was fourth in the 50 lapper.

 

Thirty-one drivers raced in 1985 as Eddie Mercer pocketed the win.  In 1987, Mike Alexander was the victor in the first 100-lap race over Junior Niedecken.

 

By 1990, the race became as much as a part of the weekend as the main show on Sunday.  Local car dealership Pete Moore Chevrolet became the title sponsor of the race as Jerry Goodwin won the first two runnings in 1990 and 1991.  

 

“I always recalled the time that Pete Orr won the Pete Moore race,” Snowball Derby Promoter Tim Bryant said looking back on the history.  "It was a race for the local guys that could not run the Derby.”

 

Dave Mader III and Gary St. Amant won races to add to their Snowball Derby resume. To date, seven drivers have won both the Snowflake and the Snowball Derby.  

 

In 2004, the change took place when the Pro Late Model became the car of choice for the Snowflake. 

 

“Pro Late Model racing was quickly affordable and popular and we took the Snowflake along those ropes and saw great success,” added Bryant.  “After several years it has become an event that rivals the Snowball in some degrees.”  

 

In one of the earlier years, close to 90 cars filed entries for the Snowflake with 68 taking time in 2007.  Since then an average of 57 cars have taken laps in qualifying.

 

Since the Pro Late Model era began, Chase Elliott and Augie Grill have won the race three times each.  John Hunter Nemechek has four top-two finishes in four starts including a win, which gives him an average finish of 1.7 in the race. 

 

Statistically, the best driver of the early Snowflake era was Junior Niedecken.  He won the race in 1992, but during those other years he was always a factor. He posted six finishes that were on the podium including two seconds and three thirds. This doesn't included the two Limited Late Model races that we discovered he also won. 

 

Through the race's evolution, the Snowflake has become rich in history just like it’s big brother, the Snowball Derby.

 

Past Winners of the Snowflake / Saturday Race

2016

Augie Grill

2015

John Hunter Nemechek

2014

Bubba Pollard

2013

Chase Elliott

2012

Chase Elliott

2011

Augie Grill

2010

Chase Elliott

2009

Augie Grill

2008

Brandon Carlson

2007

Ryan Crane

2006

Matt Hawkins

2005

Hunter Robbins

2004

David Hole

2003

Evan Jackson

2002

Scott Carlson

2001

Stanley Smith

2000

Donald Long

1999

Gary St. Amant

1998

John Wilkerson

1997

Tony Walls

1996

Dave Mader III

1995

Mike Harmon

1994

Mike Oliver

1993

Pete Orr

1992

Junior Niedecken

1991

Jerry Goodwin

1990

Jerry Goodwin

1989

Dan Ford

1988

Mike Oliver

1987

Mike Alexander

1986

Danny Sikes

1985

Eddie Mercer

1984

Rick Crawford

1983

Rick Crawford

 

-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

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50 for 50: Evolution of the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags