Friday night at the Snowball Derby might be one of the most stressful moments on the entire short track racing calendar. Sure, race day is Sunday, but Friday night is WXBM 102.7 Pole Night. Over 65 drivers and teams will attempt to lock themselves into one of the top 30 qualifying spots for the big dance. Two laps can make or break a team’s weekend at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
“The most intensity that we’ll feel all weekend may very well be in the couple of hours that precede Friday night’s pole position qualifying that starts at 6 p.m. Central Time,” said Snowball Derby promoter Tim Bryant.
The top 30 positions for the Snowball Derby will be decided based on their qualifying times during Friday’s WXBM 102.7 Pole Night qualifying session. Two provisionals will be given to the Southern Super Series champion and the Blizzard Series champion. If those two drivers qualify in on time, the provisional will go to the next driver in line in the top 10 in Blizzard Series and Southern Super Series points. After that, the final four starting positions will be given to the top four finishers from Saturday night’s 50-lap last chance race. In total, 36 drivers will start the 48th Annual Snowball Derby.
As it stands right now, just three drivers are locked into the Snowball Derby. Casey Roderick is locked in as the Blizzard Series champion, Casey Smith is in as the Southern Super Series champion, and of course last year’s Snowball Derby champion, John Hunter Nemechek, is in the show as well.
With just those three drivers currently locked in, everybody else is feeling the stress. Even Wisconsin racer Ty Majeski is feeling the stress, and he’s won an impressive 18 races this year.
“There’s like 70 cars and 50 of them have a legitimate chance to win the race and set fast time,” said Majeski. “Obviously there’s stiff competition there.”
If anybody would know the stresses of qualifying day, it’s Majeski who spun out on his first qualifying lap one year ago. Majeski, the recently crowned inaugural Kulwicki Cup champion, did make the Snowball Derby, but he had to do it by racing his way in through the last chance qualifier on Saturday night.
“I knew I had to get everything I could out of the car and I ended up spinning out,” he said. “We put ourselves in a little bit of a hole. Having to come through the last chance race is definitely stressful for sure.”
California driver Derek Thorn has said that the best sleep a driver gets all week long is on Friday night after they’ve been locked into the race. Majeski agreed with that assessment.
“You sleep really well,” he said. “It’s a big deal to make that race. It’s definitely the toughest race to make in the country. Making it is definitely a relief for sure.”
The 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off with the Cat Country/WEAR-TV3 Green Flag Party on Wednesday, December 2. On-track activities start Thursday, December 3, for the opening practice rounds for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models and Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models. The Five Flags Butler U-Pull-It Bombers and Beef ‘O’Brady’s Sportsman divisions will also have feature events on Snowball Derby Thursday.
The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 4 during WXBM 102.7 Pole Night at Five Flags. The Five Flags Faith Chapel Super Stocks and Modifieds will also battle in their Snowball Derby features after Super Late Model qualifying.
The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 takes center stage on Saturday, December 5 as the top Pro Late Model racers in the country qualify and battle for 100 laps at Five Flags. In addition, Saturday’s action features the final 50-lap qualifying event for Snowball Derby drivers to make one last effort to qualify for the 300-lap Super Late Model race. The Better Built Tool Box Pro Trucks will also have a 50-lap feature on Snowball Derby Saturday.
Then on Sunday, December 6, the green flag will drop on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at 2 p.m. CT at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.
Fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida for the Snowball Derby can watch all of the action through a live online TV style pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 TV. A four-day video ticket can be purchased now for $59.99 allowing fans to watch all of the action from Five Flags Speedway. Single-day video tickets are also available. Visit Speed51.com for more information.
For more information on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway, visit www.snowballderby.com. All media credential requests and inquiries for the Snowball Derby can be sent to Matt Kentfield at [email protected] and/or Pat Bryant at [email protected]
For more information on Speed51.com and the rest of the 51 Companies, contact Jana Wimmer (Director of Business) at 51 Sports via email through [email protected] and visit Speed51.com. Speed51.com is on Twitter at @speed51dotcom and on Facebook by searching Speed51.com.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com