If Ricky Brooks has one goal for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby week, it’s to see all race cars pass through technical inspection on their first try. While the chances of that realistically happening may be slim, the Chief Technical Inspector and his staff are doing everything they can to make sure that racers know what they’re getting into before they arrive at Five Flags Speedway.
“We’ve been working on stuff for probably a month now getting prepared for it with personnel and basically the information sheets we hand out on Thursday,” Brooks told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’re just trying to make things be smoother. It’s been smooth but this year we’re just putting in a lot more effort to make sure people are aware of what’s going on, when it’s going on and all of that. In all honesty, when we show up on Wednesday, if we can get everybody to go through tech the first time and not have to come back, that would be a perfect weekend for us. Every time a car comes back, that’s just more work.”
On November 9, Brooks released a tech clarification bulletin to teams, highlighting one change and a trio of clarifications about previous rules in the rule book.
“We had gotten a bunch of questions leading into the Derby about a few items and once we started getting those and answered, we wanted to just put out a little sheet clarifying stuff to where there’s no miscommunication whatsoever,” Brooks explained.
“There was one change per se to the rule book and that was on cool-down units. We’re allowing them at the Derby because it doesn’t pay anything to win practice and we got wind that people were getting these big gigantic fans and all of that kind of stuff to cool down motors. Technically, that’s a cool-down. Rather than going through that and getting 30 people running to me about somebody running a big fan, it’s easier to just say that cool-down units can be used and just eliminate that hassle.”
The tech clarification bulletin released by Brooks also clarified that no data acquisition equipment or wiring may be used beginning on Wednesday. Brooks did clarify that this specific rule did not apply to teams testing at Five Flags Speedway prior to Wednesday of Snowball Derby week.
Additionally, teams will not be allowed cockpit or driver adjustments in the car other than one brake bias adjuster.
All cars must also have a working, unaltered OBERG fuel shut-off valve in place at the point the fuel exits the fuel cell.
In addition to the tech clarification bulletin sent out, Brooks also plans to step up the technical inspection process on Wednesday to make it a smoother experience that day and throughout the entirety of the Snowball Derby week.
“We’ve stepped up our Wednesday pre-safety tech; we’ve added some stuff to that before the cars ever come to tech,” he began. “We’re still going to do our top 10 in points in Pros and Supers, they get to come first and everybody else will go on jackstands. That has helped us keep the line flowing. We’re still going to get everybody through at least one time before we allow anybody to repeat. We’re actually even going to check more than we have in the past on the Wednesday pre-tech. There won’t be a whole lot left after the race or qualifying.
“We have tried and stepped up what we’re checking. Basically, if it’s not weight, something that a team has done intentionally or a motor issue, then it’s pretty cut and dry.”
Race teams will first visit the technical inspection area on Wednesday, November 29 during Hauler & Rig Parking Day. They will then have multiple opportunities to go through the technical inspection line during Thursday and Friday’s practice sessions, leading into pre-qualifying tech on Friday evening.
The 50th Annual Snowball Derby takes place on Sunday, December 3 at Five Flags Speedway. Race fans unable to make it to Pensacola, FL will be able to watch a live, television-style broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com