For decades, one of the signature voices of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway has belonged to Dave Pavlock. This is especially true on Wednesday of Derby week, with Pavlock’s iconic calls of “Now here this…” before introducing each and every driver who enters the premises, along with their hometown.
It’s a tradition dating back 40 years, out of a belief that every driver who competes in the Snowball Derby should be viewed as dignitaries.
“I was sitting here one day watching the trailers come in and I said, you know, these are important people coming in,” Pavlock told Speed51. “These are champions of their hometowns and their areas and nobody’s saying anything about them.”
Pavlock holds these competitors in such high regard because of their accomplishments and stature throughout the country.
“It means a gathering of some of the smartest, craftiest and brightest talent in the racing industry and car builders and car owners. They all come together for one big hurrah.”
The traditional verbiage also includes a connection to Pensacola’s strong military tradition as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation.”
“We decided to do the salutes of them in a military tradition, seeing as this is a military town. We welcome each one of them individually. They do that when they pipe somebody aboard a military ship, somebody important coming on board. The people coming to this race are very important people to us and to the racing community. We think they deserve to be heralded as monarchs.”
As someone who has been around the Snowball Derby for the majority of its storied history, Pavlock is amazed at how much the event has grown and continues to grow.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and each year it gets bigger and more well-organized throughout the country because, for the drivers, this is the pinnacle of their year. We have a lot of very important drivers from all over the country here, and we want to treat them as VIPs.”
Race fans unable to make the trip to Five Flags Speedway for the Snowball Derby can watch live on Speed51. Click here to order four-day or single ticket video tickets now.
For more information on the Snowball Derby, visit Snowball Central by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo