The 51st Annual Snowball Derby is just around the corner and the attention of the short track world is ready to shift to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. While much of the attention will go to the Late Models competing, the event serves as the biggest race of the season for all seven divisions that will be competing during the week.
On Tuesday, Five Flags Speedway officials released the first look at the entry lists for all divisions. Race fans can now get the first look at the entry lists for the Pure Stocks, Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman, Modifieds and Pro Trucks on Speed51.com.
As is the case every year at the Snowball Derby, these entry lists will only grow from here as the five divisions listed above don’t require a pre-entry for a pit stall. This means that several competitors normally show up and file their entry on race day.
The Wednesday crowd for the 50-lap Pure Stock feature includes one of the toughest drivers to beat in 2018. The Pure Stock track champion Robert Balkum hopes to add to his seven wins this season and 13 top five runs in 13 starts. Caleb Burkett and Sarah Dority who were second and third in points will be there to keep him honest. Add Brandon Snider and Kevin John Merritt and you have 61 combined top 10 finishes.
Thursday will feature a pair of 50-lap races, one for the Outlaw Stocks and the other for the Sportsman. Okie Mason is a former winner in what is now Outlaw Stocks. He will have to contend with 2018 track champion Kody Brusso who nipped Todd Jones by 11 points for the crown. They will both be there as three-time 2018 winner Donald Crocker is expected to enter.
Last year, the Outlaw Stocks rolled out a stout 29-car field for their Thursday feature.
On the Sportsman side of things, defending race winner Mark Barnhill backed up his Snowball Derby win in 2017 with a track title in 2018 with four victories. B.J. Leytham is a three-time Bombers winner at the Snowball Derby, as several more drivers are expected to enter.
The Sportsman division has averaged 25 cars for their Snowball Derby features since the 2001 season.
Friday of course is pole night for the Snowball Derby, but the other fast class on track will be the Modifieds. The open-wheeled class has been apart of the Snowball Derby since the 70’s off and on. This year, the 75-lap race will serve as the 2018 Modified of Mayhem Tour season finale.
The official entry list is led by Jeff Letson, who is a three-time Snowball Derby Modified winner. Zach Knowles comes into the race looking to clinch the Modifieds of Mayhem championship.
Last year, Augie Grill took the win in the 75-lap event marking his sixth win on Snowball Derby weekend to go along with his two Snowball Derby wins and his three Snowflake 100 wins. Kyle Purvis, a five-time ICAR Modified Tour winner in 2018, joins the entry list alongside multi-time Florida Speedweeks winner Doug Moff and Late Model ace Jeff Choquette.
The Modifieds started a whopping 42 cars for last year’s Snowball Derby feature.
The Saturday support card features the Pro Truck division, which will take to the high-banks in Pensacola for a 50-lap shootout. Defending race winner DJ VanderLey is expected to contend for a second-straight win. The official entry list includes Five Flags Speedway Truck champion Logan Boyett who finished third a year ago and last year’s runner-up Andrew Johnson from Vancleave, Mississippi.
All three podium finishers will have to battle a deep field of what is expected to be 40 trucks from around the southeast.
According to entry list and driver reports, names not on the entry list include Pro Late Model regular Colt James, former track Late Model champion Bubba Gale and Steven Davis who is not stranger to victory lane on the panhandle.
This will be the sixth season for the trucks, who have averaged 32 trucks per Snowball Derby race.
Fans can find the entry lists for all divisions competing in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby by visiting Snowball Central presented by Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.
The 51st Annual Snowball Derby will take place on Wednesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
Race fans unable to attend the 51st Annual Snowball Derby in person will be able to watch a pay-per-view broadcast all week long on Speed51.com. Five-day video tickets can be purchased now for $74.99 ($35 savings) to watch all of the action. Click here to purchase your video ticket today.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com