Whether it’s at the race track, away from the race track or on their race car, Derek Griffith and his race team like to have fun. As they gear up for their second attempt at the prestigious Snowball Derby, they’re planning to do much of the same with a new and comical Christmas-themed race car in tow.
Griffith, who finished 22nd in his Derby debut at Five Flags Speedway last year, has already made the long haul south from Hudson, New Hampshire to Pensacola, Florida in advance of this year’s race. Along the way, his team picked up a brand-new Fury Super Late Model that he will use throughout the Snowball Derby week, December 4-8 at Five Flags.
“We had that [older] car since the Derby last year and we hadn’t run anything else but that car back home. Even at Hickory and Canada and all that, we ran the same car,” Griffith told Speed51. “We’re just super limited with our setup with swapping motors around. The rules packages are so different down here than they are back home, so we wanted a car that was almost ready with a big motor anytime, rather than a crate motor back home. That’s where the thought about the new car came. We did it last year and I have a lot more time in these Fury cars now. I feel more comfortable, so what better time to get one than the Derby?”
In addition to the new chassis, the No. 12G will be sporting a new look that will be sure to grab the attention of race fans watching at Five Flags Speedway and on Speed51’s broadcast. The wrap, which was designed by Modified racer Timmy Solomito and wrapped by fellow racer Spencer Davis, features a variety of features that will make you laugh.
“We wanted an idea of having a Bad Santa almost,” Griffith explained. “We come down to Florida and we have some fun down here. It was cool to have some sort of different wrap; it’s definitely a little different than most of the wraps you’ve seen at the Derby. I think it’s a little more original than just slapping Santa Claus on the side of it.”
Whether it’s putting a fun wrap on their car or having a few adult beverages after the races, Griffith and his crew have built up a reputation of being fun off the track and successful on race day. It’s something they have done since the very beginning, and something that they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon whether they’re racing in Florida or at home in New England.
“It’s been that way since we first started. We come down here to Pensacola, we’re here a little earlier, go out and have some fun,” Griffith stated. “At the race track, we always try to be laughing, joking and having fun. We go out and have our fair share of beers and hang out with a lot of racers that end up doing the same thing. We take it as a vacation that you have to hustle on a little bit.”
In addition to having fun at the Snowball Derby, Griffith and his team led by Louie Mechalides are focused on improving their performance from one year ago. While qualifying for the race was a huge feat for the team, they’re hoping to be more of a factor on race day this time around.
“We learned a lot from last year and I think we’re coming into this a little bit more comfortable with the race,” Griffith said. “We kind of know how everything works. We went down the first time to watch and then last year it was more like a big practice for us than anything. It’s a tough track for sure. I’m just looking forward to getting out there with this new car and hopefully it all comes together.”
Race fans looking to make the pilgrimage to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
Thanks to Speed51’s Black Friday 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: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Derek Griffith