The Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco will make its first of four trips to Five Flags Speedway (FL) this Friday night. In addition to being the third SSS race of the season, the race also serves as the opener for the four-race Blizzard Series at the Pensacola, Florida oval.
To get you prepared for the race, Speed51.com’s resident “Stat Boy” Elgin Traylor gives you a look at the race “by the numbers.”
0 for: Donnie Wilson has made the trip to Pensacola for Blizzard Series races on 27 consecutive occasions. Despite all his success he’s never visited victory lane at Five Flags. He comes in fresh off his success at Nashville (TN) and returns to the track for the first time since a heartbreaking loss in the 2015 Blizzard Series finale. Wilson led 41 laps in that race before losing an engine in the closing laps.
2: Provisional spots will be up for grabs for Southern Super Series drivers and Blizzard Series drivers. Finishing in the top 10 in either series could mean a starting spot in the prestigious Snowball Derby.
7: Since the Southern Super Series started there have been seven different winners in 12 events at Five Flags Speedway. Only Bubba Pollard and Daniel Hemric have won more than once.
26: Bubba Pollard comes back to Pensacola having won the most recent Blizzard Series race. He’s a two-time Blizzard Series champion and has not won this year in Southern Super Series action.
31: Kyle Grissom won the first Blizzard race a year ago and became one of three different faces to visit Five Flags Super Late Model victory lane in 2015. Grissom is due for another win and it could come at Five Flags.
49: This December will be the 49th running of the Snowball Derby. One year before its 50th Birthday the race is known across the nation as the most prestigious pavement short track race in America.
77: Zane Smith had all winter to think about getting passed by Chase Elliott at the end of the Snowball Derby in what ended up being the winning pass. Now he’ll get his first shot at the Pensacola half mile since that event.
125: The events are 125 laps this season. The April race will be the first of four this season for the Blizzard Series which flies under the banner of the Southern Super Series. Return trips to Five Flags include events on May 27, July 22 and September 24 for the series finale and the SSS championship event.
500: The 500 dollar pole award will be up for grabs before the race on Friday. Bubba Pollard has owned the award having won it 17 times. Eight of those were at Five Flags. Pollard will be the man to beat when it comes to the clock.
649: Donnie Wilson comes to Pensacola having led 649 laps in the Southern Super Series. That’s third only behind Bubba Pollard and Augie Grill.
The Beach Crowd: The Pensacola Super Late Model series brings a flock of drivers to town looking get laps before the Derby. Drivers like David Rogers, Wayne Niedecken, Jr., Kyle Bryant, Allen Karnes and others often show up to Five Flags Speedway for Blizzard Series action.
Not Yet KBM: Looking back at the record books the Snowball Derby has been twice won by Kyle Busch Motorsports. However, the Super Late Model team has never won one of the Blizzard Series races during the regular season. They will run three of the four this year with three different drivers.
Keeping Right There: Derrick Scott Jr. has been among the leaders in each of the first two SSS races and comes into Pensacola fourth in the series points. He had a career-best finish of fourth at Nashville.
Moving on Up: Ryan Luza moves up from his Pro Late Model title at Five Flags to run Super Late Model this season. We expect there will be some growing pains, but good things could be coming to this Texas native.
Champion: After winning the Southern Super Series title in 2015, Casey Smith is looking to go one step further and win his first Blizzard Series race at Five Flags Speedway.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com