One of the top Pro Late Model racers in the country will be strapping into a Super Late Model for his first attempt at the Snowball Derby this December. Michael House, a former track champion at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, will take on the tough challenge with two-time Derby winner Bobby Gill calling the shots as crew chief.
House will take a two-car team to Five Flags Speedway for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby with himself in a Super Late Model and former Derby winner Wayne Anderson in a Pro Late Model for the Snowflake 100.
While it will be his first time behind the wheel for the Snowball Derby, he is no stranger to the event. House has made the trip south for several years now, including for the Snowflake 100 last year.
“I’ve been going for a long time now. I think my first year going was in 2002 or something like that. To finally be able to attempt to be in the big race is pretty cool,” House told Speed51.com. “To be able to be in such good equipment and have such a good shot at running good. I’ve got a guy who’s really been good around here, I just hooked up with him recently. It ought to be a pretty good deal.”
The person mentioned is none other than two-time Snowball Derby champion Bobby Gill, who will serve as crew chief for House.
“I can’t put it into words how grateful I am to drive such a good car and work with good people and have everything come together here,” House stated. “We tested about two weeks ago and I think we got most of the bugs worked out, so we should have a good shot at running good.”
After making sporadic starts in a Super Late Model for father-in-law Sterling Marlin over several years, he and car owner Jonathon Brown built a Super Late Model over the offseason. House has made four Super Late Model starts in 2019, including the Blizzard Series finale at Five Flags in late September. After spending the year working out the bugs of a new car, he feels like they are ready to put on a strong showing in the Snowball Derby.
“I’ve felt like we’ve had some speed, I missed the boat a little bit on some stuff,” he said. “We run Pro around here, that’s all we’ve ran. Then I’ve ran a couple one-off races for Sterling (Marlin) here and there in Supers, but the majority just Pro. I got hooked up with Jonathan (Brown) and we built a Pro and won the championship at Nashville. We built a Super and I ran a few races and found out really quick what you can and can’t do as far as moving setups over back and forth. We’ve kind of come up with a different deal with Willie Allen and I feel like we’ve got most of the bugs worked out. We had short run speed but not really long run speed, but I feel like now we’ve got the speed we need to compete.”
The Snowball Derby presents challenges not seen at any other race. Among them is qualifying, which is touted as one of the most intense qualifying sessions in all of racing. While House is not as concerned for qualifying as other drivers, he still sees it as perhaps his biggest challenge going into the weekend.
“I want to say qualifying but I’ve always been pretty decent at qualifying, but that’s so much of a different deal down there by account of where you go out. I’m probably going to say qualifying is going to be my biggest challenge,” he said. “If not qualifying, just trying to keep the tires on it and keep up with the race track as much as the race track changes throughout the week. Not trying to get sidetracked by the change of people going out on tires, just not worry about the stopwatch, worry about the feel of the car and where we’re at and try to keep a good balance on the race car.”
With an up-and-down 2019 season in both Pro and Super Late Models, House’s goal for the Snowball Derby remains a simple one.
“We’ve had so much bad luck this year, crazy one-off stuff just happening, just to have a good, solid finish and finish on the lead lap,” he stated. “I feel like if we accomplish that, we’ll have a decent finish.”
Race fans looking to make the pilgrimage to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
For fans unable to make the trip, they can tune in to Speed51’s pay-per-view broadcast of the event. Now is the perfect time to order your video ticket and take advantage of early-bird savings.
To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
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: Koty Geyer, Speed51 State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com