In 2014, Garrett Jones made his Snowball Derby debut. It didn’t go as well as the then 15-year-old driver would have hoped. He was involved in an early crash, and finished 13 laps down. Now the Florida native is headed back to Pensacola, Florida for the 48th Annual Snowball Derby, and the teenager is having a tough time containing his excitement.
“I’m really excited to be going down to the Derby this year,” said Jones. “I’m going to run Tracy Goodson’s car again so I’m excited for that. Their cars are really fast and Mike Garvey has those things tuned in really good down there at Pensacola.”
Jones raced with Goodson and Garvey for the second half of the Southern Super Series season and he raced their Pro Late Model at Five Flags Speedway and nearby Mobile International Speedway in Alabama as well. They had some strong runs and some good finishes, but now they’re headed to the Derby, the biggest short track race of them all. No other races matter anymore except this one.
But before you race the Derby, you have to get into the Derby. Jones is well aware of that.
“Really qualifying is what has me nervous,” he said. “I was talking to Harrison Burton and Zane Smith and we just want to make it into the race before we even worry about the race. We’re all worried about the race, but qualifying is the biggest thing.”
Jones and Garvey are doing everything they can to be fast for those two laps they get on WXBM 102.7 Pole Night. They participated in the IP Casino Snowball Derby Preview at Five Flags on November 21, and spent most of the time making qualifying runs. He said that he and the team were encouraged by their speed all day long, even though they didn’t win the $500 bonus money for having the fastest lap during the timed session.
“We were real fast at Pensacola at the test,” said Jones. “We focused a lot on qualifying there during the Preview. Unfortunately, the actual timed run at the Preview we didn’t go as fast as we thought but we figured out the issue. We have a test on Black Friday. We’re going to tune it in a little bit more this weekend.”
Even though he knows he has to get in the race first, Jones is already dreaming about what it would be like to win the Snowball Derby.
“I’d be ecstatic. I’ve been thinking about that a lot,” said Jones. “It would be number one in my career. I’ve thought about it and I’m ready to go down there and do it. It’s hard to even tell you how awesome that would be.”
The 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off with the Cat Country/WEAR-TV3 Green Flag Party on Wednesday, December 2. On-track activities start Thursday, December 3, for the opening practice rounds for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models and Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models. The Five Flags Butler U-Pull-It Bombers and Beef ‘O’Brady’s Sportsman divisions will also have feature events on Snowball Derby Thursday.
The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 4 during WXBM 102.7 Pole Night at Five Flags. The Five Flags Faith Chapel Super Stocks and Modifieds will also battle in their Snowball Derby features after Super Late Model qualifying.
The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 takes center stage on Saturday, December 5 as the top Pro Late Model racers in the country qualify and battle for 100 laps at Five Flags. In addition, Saturday’s action features the final 50-lap qualifying event for Snowball Derby drivers to make one last effort to qualify for the 300-lap Super Late Model race. The Better Built Tool Box Pro Trucks will also have a 50-lap feature on Snowball Derby Saturday.
Then on Sunday, December 6, the green flag will drop on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at 2 p.m. CT at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.
Fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida for the Snowball Derby can watch all of the action through a live online TV style pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 TV. A four-day video ticket can be purchased now for $59.99 allowing fans to watch all of the action from Five Flags Speedway. Single-day video tickets are also available. Visit Speed51.com for more information.
For more information on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway, visit www.snowballderby.com. All media credential requests and inquiries for the Snowball Derby can be sent to Matt Kentfield at [email protected] and/or Pat Bryant at [email protected]
For more information on Speed51.com and the rest of the 51 Companies, contact Jana Wimmer (Director of Business) at 51 Sports via email through [email protected] and visit Speed51.com. Speed51.com is on Twitter at @speed51dotcom and on Facebook by searching Speed51.com.
-51 Sports/Snowball Derby Press Release. Photo credit: Bruce Nuttleman/Speed51.com