In 2010, Johanna Long scored one of the most memorable and most popular wins in Snowball Derby history. Long was a Pensacola native winning the biggest race that Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway has to offer, and she did so against the best drivers in short track racing.
Eight years have passed since then and things have changed quite a bit in her life. She now goes by Johanna Robbins after getting married to fellow racer Hunter Robbins in 2016. She also became a mother in 2017.
With family now her utmost priority, Johanna Robbins hasn’t race as much as Johanna Long used to. However, her desire to race still burns, and that is why the former Snowball Derby champion will be climbing back behind the wheel of a Late Model to run in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Saturday, December 1 in a car owned by Mike Williamson.
“I knew a guy that had a Snowflake car. I’ve been wanting to get back in the crate car to race hard with those guys. The car came open for the Snowflake and I wanted to do it,” Robbins explained.
Since it has been almost a year and a half since her last race, Robbins is heading to Mobile International Speedway in Mobile, Alabama this weekend to get ready for the Snowflake 100 in December. The Pro Late Models will race at Mobile on Friday, October 26 and the distance will be 100 laps, the same as it will be at Five Flags Speedway in just over one month’s time.
“We wanted to make the last race at Five Flags but we weren’t able to. So we wanted to be able to get in the seat and get 100 laps under my belt since it has been a while. Just to get more comfortable.”
Robbins has made eight starts in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 with a best finish of seventh in 2012. Her most recent Snowflake 100 start resulted in a 21st-place finish in 2015.
Robbins said the race is one of the hardest to win because of the drivers that come from all over the country to run.
“There’s guys that come from all over the country to run this race. It’s a big deal. For the crate cars, that’s their Snowball Derby. It’s a big race on a prestigious weekend. To be able to put your name on that is just big.”
It would be even bigger for Robbins should she visit victory lane. Even though she already owns a Tom Dawson Trophy for her triumph in the Snowball Derby, the Snowflake 100 win has eluded her.
“It would be awesome. My dad has won the Snowflake. My husband has won the Snowflake. To add another trophy to that would be a really big deal.”
Johanna Robbins will go for the victory in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway on Saturday, December 1. Speed51.com will have coverage all week long as the official news site of the 51st Annual Snowball Derby.
Racing will begin on Wednesday, November 28 as the Pure Stock division will compete for 50 laps around Five Flags Speedway. Wednesday’s program also includes rig parking for Late Model teams, the Green Flag Pit Party following the Pure Stock race, and the qualifying draw for both the Snowflake 100 and the Snowball Derby.
Late Model teams will take to the track for the first time on Thursday, November 29 in their first rounds of practice. Thursday night’s racing program features 50-lap events for the Sportsmen and Outlaw Stock competitors.
The Friday of Snowball Derby weekend is often called the most intense day in short track racing, as Super Late Model drivers compete in qualifying in hopes of securing their spot in Sunday’s field. The Modifieds will also be in action on Friday night in a 75-lap feature.
Saturday, December 1 is jam-packed with racing action. With qualifying for the Pro Late Model Snowflake 100, last chance races for both the Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby, the Snowflake 100 itself and a 50-lap Pro Truck feature, there is no shortage of excitement for fans at the track.
Finally, the biggest day of the year comes on Sunday, December 2, the day of the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. Pre-race festivities begin at Noon CT, with the class photo at 12:30 p.m. and driver introductions beginning at 1:15 p.m. The green flag will drop on the 51st Annual Snowball Derby at 2:00 p.m.
More information on the 51st Annual Snowball Derby can be found by visiting www.snowballderby.com and www.5flagsspeedway.com.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Speed51.com