Qualifying for the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway is a more difficult task than qualifying for any other short track race in the country. Nobody knows that better than Lakeland, Florida driver Steve Dorer.
Dorer, an accomplished racer from the Central Florida region, has attempted to qualify for the Snowball Derby four times, but has only succeeded twice. He’ll attempt to improve his record to 3-2 on Friday, December 5 in front of the crowd in Pensacola, Florida and all of the fans watching worldwide on the 51 TV powered by JEGS broadcast.
“I think it’s the most important thing,” Dorer said of Friday night’s NASH 102.7 FM Pole Night. “You’ve got to be in it to win it and I’ve been 50-50. One time we had a motor issue and the other time I missed the setup with it.”
Dorer is attempting to run the 47th Annual Snowball Derby in his Super Late Model, as well as the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 for the Pro Late Models. There are 67 cars on the entry list for the Snowball Derby, and 80 cars on the list for the Snowflake 100. Like it or not, teams will be heading home.
Dorer, also the owner of Racecar Engineering, is hoping that his team won’t be one of them, and he’s taken steps to accomplish that as well as change his Derby luck.
“I was getting ready to ask you that question,” Dorer said with a laugh when asked what he needs to do to change his luck. “Actually we went about it different this year. I never went up there and tested ever. I always show up that weekend. But this year we pre-programmed for it a couple months out. We got the cars together and actually went up there this past weekend and sorted through some of the problems that seem to plague us for the actual race, so I feel like we are already ahead of the game.”
Drivers outside of the top-30 in time trials, they will have to fight their way into the Snowball Derby by competing in one of the most intense qualifying races in short track racing, the last chance race. Dorer has been in two last chance races. He knows how stressful it is and doesn’t want to experience it again.
“I didn’t like it either time,” he said. “Obviously you feel accomplished when you can qualify in and you don’t have to sweat it and worry about wrecking your car.
“But when you’re out there you don’t necessarily focus on it being a last chance race. You’re still racing. The racing part of it is still exciting. But not having the extra day and putting the extra time on your crew is pretty nerve-wracking. You put everybody under more stress.”
Dorer is hoping he won’t have to deal with that stress again. He’s hoping to instead just qualify his way in and focus on what it will take to win the race.
“Do I think we can win it? I think we have a fair shot if we can get in it,” said Dorer. “It would be huge. It would be the biggest race I’ve ever won.”
The 47th Annual Snowball Derby kicks off on Wednesday, December 3 with the Cat Country/WEAR TV3 Green Flag Party. As the teams unload and begin the tech process, from 5-9 p.m. fans can meet the drivers and see the cars that will compete during Snowball Derby Weekend.
The first on-track activity of the week comes on Thursday, as practice for the Super and Pro Late Models commence. Later that evening, qualifying and feature action for the Five Flags Speedway Butler U-Pull-It Bomber and Beef O’Brady’s Sportsmen divisions will take place.
On Friday, December 5, it is NASH 102.7 Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday’s 300-lap feature. More practice for the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 cars will take place, as well as a full card of Super Stock and Modified action.
Then on Saturday, December 6, it’s the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 time trials, qualifying races and the 100-lap feature, plus final practice for the Snowball Derby cars, a 50-lap Pro Trucks feature and a 50-lap last-chance qualifying race to lock the final cars into the Snowball Derby.
Finally, the 47th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m. ET at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
The full 47th Annual Snowball Derby weekend schedule is available at www.snowballderby.com.
Tickets and reserved camping spots are still available, but going fast. To order tickets or to reserve a camping spot, call the Five Flags Speedway box office at (850) 944-8400.
For more information about Five Flags Speedway and the 47th Annual Snowball Derby weekend, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com, www.snowballderby.com or contact the track by calling (850) 944-8400.
-51 Sports/Snowball Derby Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com