Normally rig parking and technical inspection is not the biggest of deals to short track racing fans, but it is the Snowball Derby.

 

On the final day without on-track activity the atmosphere was still abuzz at Five Flags Speedway (FL) from mid-morning when the first hauler of Stephen Nasse’s entered the facility until late in the evening with live music and the Jack Link’s Qualifying Draw.

 

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Most notably two-time Snowball Derby winner Augie Grill was not present, as he is not expected to arrive until Thursday after preparing both his Super Late Model and Pro Late Model for the weekend back at his shop.  However, 135 other Late Models were on the grounds.

 

One of those Late Model drivers in attendance was 2014 SRL Southwest Tour champion Derek Thorn, who could not compare a day like Wednesday to any other event he participates in throughout the year.

 

“Without a doubt, no other race in this country this time of year has this atmosphere, amount of talent, the level of competition, caliber of teams,” Thorn told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “It’s cool to get so many haulers all crammed in here as fast as they do to get all these guys through tech with Ricky Brooks with the ‘Room of Doom’ getting everybody as fair as possible.  It kind of leaves pretty much the race down to the drivers and the teams to try and make it all happen.”

 

Technical inspection is always a long and grueling process throughout the afternoon hours, but the Californian was happy with how it all turned out for the 2014 running.

 

“We have to paint some lead and mark it, but that’s about everything,” continued Thorn.  “That’s a big check off our list.  When I was here the first year we spent six or seven hours trying to get our car to pass tech.  After the first time we kind of have a better idea and now we can come down here, squeeze through tech, and be able to focus on all of the intricate details, make sure we run some laps, and cross our T’s and dot our I’s.”

 

While many haulers were pulling into the facility with big rigs, one Pro Late Model team entered with an open trailer.  J.T. Schild from outside of Houston, Texas is not concerned with the big rigs he is up against or the fact that this is his first time ever at Five Flags Speedway.

 

“My grandfather always told me ‘we ain’t racing haulers; we’re here to race cars.’  Hopefully we can make the show.  I feel not having any laps at this track I am an underdog, but I’m pretty confident that we can get the car dialed in on Thursday for the race on Saturday.”

 

The qualifying draw during the Wednesday Night Green Flag Pit Party always shows its importance for the crucial time trials occurring on Friday late afternoon into early evening.  Two-time and defending Snowball Derby winner Erik Jones drew in the top half of the qualifying order, a spot normally not preferred for Friday evening, but the Michigan native was satisfied.

 

“I’m happy with it,” said Jones following the Jack Link’s Qualifying Draw.  “I think it’s a good spot, one of the better one’s I have been able to draw the few years I have been here.”

 

The unusually constant mild weather being experienced throughout the entire week this year has switched things up a little.  Normally drivers bank on drawing late in the session for a faster best lap when the weather cools down; however, several have agreed that 2014 could slightly differ.

 

“It’s so warm from years past that the dew is not really setting in yet until qualifying gets going,” continued Jones.  “Hopefully we will be able to go out and qualify on a good track and hopefully it will dew up and everybody will slow down.  That’s a perfect world, but last year Chase (Elliott) was last out and sat on the pole.  Who knows if it is really a big advantage or not, but it makes me feel better.”

 

2011 winner and 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Elliott will go out for his qualifying attempt late in the order, much like the previous year.

 

The first on-track activity of the week comes on Thursday, as practice for the Super and Pro Late Models commence. Later that evening, qualifying and feature action for the Five Flags Speedway Butler U-Pull-It Bomber and Beef O’Brady’s Sportsmen divisions will take place.

 

On Friday, December 5, it is NASH 102.7 Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday’s 300-lap feature. More practice for the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 cars will take place, as well as a full card of Super Stock and Modified action.

 

Then on Saturday, December 6, it’s the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 time trials, qualifying races and the 100-lap feature, plus final practice for the Snowball Derby cars, a 50-lap Pro Trucks feature and a 50-lap last-chance qualifying race to lock the final cars into the Snowball Derby.

 

Finally, the 47th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m. ET at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.

 

The full 47th Annual Snowball Derby weekend schedule is available at www.snowballderby.com.

 

Tickets and reserved camping spots are still available, but going fast. To order tickets or to reserve a camping spot, call the Five Flags Speedway box office at (850) 944-8400.

 

For more information about Five Flags Speedway and the 47th Annual Snowball Derby weekend, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com, www.snowballderby.com or contact the track by calling (850) 944-8400.

 

-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent  – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

Snowball Derby Draw

1              47           Jordan Sims

2              98           Daniel Hemric

3              7              Paul Shafer, Jr.

4              83           Scotty Ellis

5              99           J.J. Haley

6              1              Tim Martin

7              56           Gus Dean

8              11           David Rogers

9              01           Travis Braden

10           1              Mike Garvey

11           10           Steve Dorer

12           57           Austin Theriault

13           4              Kyle Plott

14           88           Garrett Jones

15           11           Logan Boyett

16           07           Corey LaJoie

17           21           Johanna Long

18           51           Stephen Nasse

19           26           Bubba Pollard

20           05           Bayley Currey

21           2W         Donnie Wilson

22           2              D.J. VanderLey

23           51           Erik Jones

24           5              Jerry Artuso

25           112         Augie Grill

26           29           Anderson Bowen

27           12           Harrison Burton

28           95           Derrick Griffin

29           18           Hunter Robbins

30           2              Spencer Gallaher

31           31           Kyle Grissom

32           43           Derek Thorn

33           12           Garrett Campbell

34           5              Will Gallaher

35           67           Clay Jones

36           43           Dennis Schoenfeld

37           99           Casey Smith

38           41           T.J. Reaid

39           79           Kyle Bryant

40           2              Clay Rogers

41           42           Chad Finley

42           22           Josh Bragg

43           42           Dennis Prunty

44           26           Preston Peltier

45           22           Jeremy Pate

46           7              Casey Roderick

47           8              John Hunter Nemechek

48           129         Spencer Davis

49           5              Dalton Sargeant

50           47           Chris Fontaine

51           3              Ross Kenseth

52           90           Grant Enfinger

53           71           Johnny VanDoorn

54           16           Jacob Gomes

55           37           Brian Hoar

56           29           Jeff Choquette

57           9              Chase Elliott

58           811         Mason Mingus

59           57           Cole Timm

60           9              Mark Kraus

61           45           Dwayne Buggay

62           91           Ty Majeski

 

Snowflake 100 Draw

1 55R Ronnie Osmer
2 97 Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
3 41 Brayton Haws
4 84 Dylon Wilson
5 99 J J Haley
6 04 Corey Roper
7 9 Chris Dilbeck
8 20 Cole Rouse
9 12 Harrison Burton
10 08 Travis Nelson
11 23 Dalton Grindle
12 4 Elliott Massey
13 33 Dillion Oliver
14 11aa Willie Allen
15 99 Wayne Niedecken
16 53 Kyle Ivey
17 5 Dominique Van Wieringen
18 88 Garrett   Jones
19 11 Johanna Long
20 55 Jared Smith
21 21 Larry Blount
22 17 Kurt Guillot
23 5 Scooter   Grice
24 11 Stacey Crain
25 98 Russell Fleeman
26 51 Christopher Bell
28 51 Perry Patino
29 7 Kyle Crump
31 9 Kurt Jett
32 68 John Robicheaux
33 96 Rick Pollaro
34 42 Rick Crawford
35 71 Corey Deuser
37 11 Brad May
38 45 Dwayne Baggay
39 33 Dustin Smith
40 12 Justin Steiner
41 129 Spencer Davis
43 25 J.T. Schild
44 5 Bret Holmes
45 12 Dan Leeck
46 13 Kevyn Terry
47 14 Ryan Luza
48 28 Grant Quinlan
49 18 Korey Ruble
50 05 Bayley Currey
51 3 Jordon McCallum
52 8 John Hunter Nemechek
53 17 Chuck Tuck
54 21 Riley Thornton
55 89 Bobby Reuse
56 10 R.S. Senter
57 56 Brandon Morris
58 30 Rusty Sanford
59 112 Augie Grill
60 24 J.R. Bolden
61 22 Josh Bragg
62 97 Cole Anderson
63 10 Steve Dorer
64 43 Justin South
65 13 Hunter Baize
66 29 Caleb Adrian
67 29 Anderson Bowen
68 82 Dana Bowers
69 9 William Byron
70 01 Derek Scott Jr.
71 26 Bubba Pollard
72 51 Zachary Knowles
73 4s Trever McCoy
74 42 Chad Finley
75 3 Brennon Willard
76 5 Justin Wakefield
78 84 Jake Moore
79 30 Bobby Knox, Jr.
80 6 Lee Langford

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Pivotal Off-Track Action Highlight Snowball Wednesday