It seemed like not too long ago that Five Flags Speedway was getting their 2020 season started after the state of Florida reopened amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Just four months after its season opener in May, the Pensacola oval begins crowning champions this Saturday night, September 12.
It has been a trying season for Tim Bryant and his crew, who had to alter the 2020 schedule according to state guidelines. It has made for a busy time at the facility, who also have to prepare for the ARCA Menards Series East on October 10 along with making plans for the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby.
With the four local divisions set for their points finale Saturday, Five Flags Speedway is full speed ahead into the waning months of 2020.
“We’re fixing to get after it, as they say. We coasted through the summer and we knew fall was going to be a very busy time of year. We’re right on the early stages of that,” Bryant said on Speed51.TV’s “The Bullring.” This weekend, we’ve got our Night of Champions, that’s our championship races. It’s hard to believe we’re already running season championship races.”
While racing normally takes place on Friday nights throughout the year, the season finales for both the local divisions and Late Model divisions have traditionally been scheduled for Saturday. Bryant explained the reasoning behind the schedule change that takes place year after year.
“We switch to Saturdays for September. High school football is so big in our area, and that’s even changed somewhat this year. We’re racing on Saturday night, and then the following Saturday night is the one that we’re really looking forward to when we do our Late Model Night of Champions with the Allen Turner Tune-Up 100 for Pro Late Models, and the Deep South Cranes 150 for the Blizzard/Southern Super Series that we do all on the same big night.”
September 12’s event will see the Outlaw Stocks, Pure Stocks, Sportsman and Pro Trucks in action for the final time before Snowball Derby week as four champions will be crowned. Daryl McDonald III (Pure Stocks), Grant Thompson (Pro Trucks), Chad Robinson (Sportsman) and Bubba Winslow (Outlaw Stocks) are the points leaders going into Saturday, but no point lead is safe.
Bryant says to keep an eye on one points battle in particular.
“We’ve got some pretty good points battles. Our best one is in our Sportsman division where Mobile’s Chad Robinson has a four point lead over Pensacola’s Jim Pokrant. Jim’s an interesting story, he’s been a Sportsman racer and I don’t think he’s missed a race there in years there and he’s never been in contention to win a championship. He’s going in there as the underdog and Chad Robinson’s a great racer, so we’ll have some drama there going into Saturday night.”
After the local divisions hit the track for their season championships this Saturday, the two Late Model divisions return for their finales and final tune-ups before the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby. Both divisons have points battles going down to the wire, with Bubba Pollard holding a nine-point edge over Stephen Nasse in the Blizzard Series while Chris Davidson has a 20 point lead over Grant Thompson in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series standings.
Stay tuned to Speed51 for details regarding a live broadcast of Saturday’s Night of Champions for local divisions at Five Flags Speedway.
Fans can watch Bryant’s interview on “The Bullring” by viewing an on-demand replay of the episode by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo