For short track racing fans, Five Flags Speedway (FL) is a mecca of speed playing host this week to the premier asphalt late model race in America: the Snowball Derby.
It can be lost in the ceremony and celebration that Pensacola is part of a region that was devastated earlier this year by Hurricane Michael. Michael was the strongest storm on record to hit the Florida panhandle, and it left insurmountable damage in its wake.
Some of those impacted by the storm included local racers who compete on a regular basis at Five Flags Speedway throughout the year. Three drivers who were directly impacted by the storm are present for the Snowball Derby, escaping the real-life challenges the storm brought them for a day at the race track.
Both Moseley and Skipper suffered significant losses during the storm.
“Basically, we lost our home, race shop, and parts store in the storm,” Skipper told Speed51.com. “We weren’t going to run the Snowball. We decided to run it, basically, to give my dad a break from all the construction. Basically, the car and trailer is all we have left. We’re going to come here and try our luck out."
“We lost the racing trailer,” Moseley said. “Insurance paid for it. Bought a brand-new truck off of the dealership because I lost my truck. It put a tree through my house. We lost my wife’s truck and my wife’s car. Other than that, we’re happy.”
Moseley is staying positive, knowing his losses were material and his family is safe.
“You lose something, it’s just stuff,” Moseley said. “You can replace stuff. Material things don’t matter. It’s the life and the family that you got. That’s what matters.”
For Skipper, the ability to come back to the speedway with his dad carries extra value. Charles Skipper, Sr. was a former competitor in the Snowball Derby, making seven starts in the historic event.
It may not be the 300-lap Super Late Model feature, but the Snowball Derby week carries a lot of weight for Skipper, Jr. thanks to that.
“It’s big,” Skipper, Jr. said.” My dad has been coming here since ’73. It’s big for us.”
Moseley enjoyed returning to the race track and was humbled by the reception of the racing family at Five Flags.
“It feels real good,” Moseley said. “A lot of nice people, a lot of people have come and talked to us, said they’re glad to see us. Kody Brusso and family came right next door first thing and talked to us, they were glad to see us. It’s nice to have people that care something about you.”
Moseley’s only request for the night was to get back home without having to add his race car to the list of things to fix.
“If I could just run the race and go home in one piece, I’m happy,” Moseley said. “I’d like to win, but I’d like to go home in one piece.”
Race fans unable to attend the 51st Annual Snowball Derby in person will be able to watch a pay-per-view broadcast all week long on Speed51.com.. Five-day video tickets can be purchased now for $74.99 ($35 savings) to watch all of the action. Click here to purchase your video ticket today.
The 51st Annual Snowball Derby will take place on Wednesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. For more information regarding the event, visit Snowball Central presented by Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com