Super Late Model teams from all over North America have started their journey to Pensacola, Florida for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby. While the trek will be long for some, it will be shorter for others, including a pair of drivers who will make the trip across the Sunshine State with hopes of keeping the Tom Dawson Trophy in Florida.
Michael Atwell of Naples and Brad May of Orlando will both be making the trip to compete in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby. For each, the decision was simple. They couldn’t turn down the opportunity to win the Tom Dawson Trophy.
“I couldn’t express what it would mean to me,” Atwell told Speed51. “I’d be so proud for my sponsors, my car owners, and my mom and dad. Everyone who has supported me.”
“That would be the biggest win of my career,” May said. “We race weekly and have entered and won a few big races, but nothing would be as big as winning the Snowball Derby.”
For many driver’s the pilgrimage to Pensacola, Florida is an annual tradition, but for these two drivers the addition of controlled caution pit stops factored heavily into their decisions to run this year in particular.
“You know, I never really thought I would be able to the way they’ve run it in the past,” May said. “I never really had a pit crew that could make stops to be competitive. I’ve never had a car I thought that could be competitive before this year. It’s a combination of those things and I finally have a sponsor that is able to help enough to make it where it’s possible. A lot of things really fell into place to make it happen, unlike in the past, and just between the pit stop stuff and the way they do pit stops now allow us to be able to make it happen.”
“Going from live pit stops to controlled cautions helped us more financially than anything,” Atwell said. “It’s hard for our sponsors to afford a crew that’s going to be competitive with the full-time teams. That’s one big bill that’s out of our way now. I think what’s cool about the Snowball Derby is that it’s the best of the best in short track racing, so I think without pit stops it is more in the hands of the drivers to control their own destiny than those who can pay for the best crew.”
Though neither driver has gotten a lot of track time at Five Flags Speedway in 2019, both drivers have experience coming to the Derby. Atwell had a top 10 run going before a stripped lug nut forced his night to end early last year. May however has run in several Snowflake 100’s and has routinely helped the legendary David Rogers prepare his car on race weekend.
But both driver’s know it’s not what you did last year that counts, it’s what you do this year.
Floridian race fans wanting to see Atwell and May compete in the Snowball Derby can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
Thanks to Speed51’s Cyber Monday sale, you can now also purchase a four-day video ticket for the Snowball Derby for $79.99 and receive a free three-month subscription to the Speed51 Network. Click here to take advantage of this sale now.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
- Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51 National Corespondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
- Photo Credit: Speed51.com