By the Numbers: 52nd Annual Snowball Derby

Sunday brings forth the biggest race in pavement short track racing, the Snowball Derby.  37 of the finest Late Model racers in North America will do battle for 300 laps at Five Flags Speedway (FL) for a place in history.  Fans can watch Sunday’s race live on Speed51 by clicking here.


To preview Sunday’s race, here is a look “By the Numbers” at the event’s history entering its 52nd running.


0: Number of times the Snowflake 100 winner has gone on to win the Snowball Derby the next day.  Derek Thorn will look to be the first to accomplish the feat after winning Saturday’s Allen Turner Snowflake 100.


3: Per our records, there has not been one chassis to win three straight races since the Chevelle days in the 70’s.  Rowdy Manufacturing would be the first after wins from Kyle Busch (2017) and Noah Gragson (2018).


4: Three different car numbers have won the race three times: the 45, 51 and the 112.  Rich Bickle and Gene Morgan drove the No. 45 to wins, while the No. 51 was driven to victory lane by Kyle Busch, Jeff Purvis and Erik Jones.  The No. 112 pulled into victory lane with Augie Grill and Gary Balough behind the wheel.


11: This year’s Snowball Derby field will feature 11 drivers making their first appearance in the Derby, ranging from young guns such as 14-year-old Jake Garcia to 43-year-old NASCAR Cup Series veteran David Gilliland.


17: Eddie Mercer waited 17 years to win his first Snowball Derby in 2005.  Mercer holds the record, but Jody Ridley is close behind after waiting 14 years for his first win in 1985.


17: A total of 17 times the winner of the race has come from the states of Florida or Georgia. Florida holds the edge here by a 9 to 8 advantage going into the 2019 running of the race.


19: There were 19 drivers looking to start the Snowball Derby for the first time this year.


52: This will be the 52nd running of the Snowball Derby. The No. 52 went to victory lane with Tammy Jo Kirk in 1994.


110.585: Derek Thorn averaged 110.585 miles per hour around Five Flags Speedway to capture the pole for the Snowball Derby during Country Pleasin’ Pole Night on Friday.


112: Augie Grill will be looking to do triple duty after competing in the Pro Late Model and Modified as well.  Grill has won the last three Modified races to go along with his two Snowball Derby wins and three Snowflake wins.


192: Of the 58 cars on the entry list there are 192 starts in the Snowball Derby.  A total of seven former wins are represented between Rich Bickle and Augie Grill.


303: The most laps led by a driver without a win in the Snowball Derby belongs to Bubba Pollard with 303 laps led.  Pollard led 156 two years ago and was third. Ty Majeski is close behind with 204 laps led without a victory.


336: In 1996 the lap count was finished off on lap 336.  The race traditionally would be 300 plus what year the event was.  It was done away with and now 300 is the distance, but the race has gone past the 300 mark with late cautions.


10 Years Ago: It was 2009 and it was of the coldest Derby races in recent memory. Kyle Busch outlasted Eddie Mercer and Steve Wallace for his first Snowball Derby win.  Two-time Derby winner Bobby Gill was fourth in his final Snowball start.


20 Years Ago: 1999 was one of the most infamous races in Snowball Derby history as the outcome was a $100,000 bonus for one driver, but a check of the scoring took it from Bobby Gill and gave it to Rich Bickle Jr.  The race went well into the night after electrical problems at the track and a rain delay.


-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent

-Photo credit:

By the Numbers: 52nd Annual Snowball Derby