The Road to the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby begins this Friday night at Five Flags Speedway with the first Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series race of the season. Once again, the Blizzard Series races will run in conjunction with the Southern Super Series for the four-race series at the Pensacola, Florida speed plant.
In addition to obtaining useful information for December’s Snowball Derby, a lot will be on the line for teams during the Blizzard Series season. The winner of the Blizzard Series championship will receive the all-important provisional starting spot (if needed) in the Snowball Derby.
Last season’s Blizzard Series was dominated by two drivers from Georgia. Bubba Pollard won three of the four races while Casey Roderick went to victory lane once and was crowned the champion for a third time.
The Peach State duo’s dominance does not stop there. Pollard has won a staggering 18 Blizzard Series races since 2009, including six out of the last eight. While Pollard has been clicking off wins left and right, Roderick has been the driver collecting championships in recent years. He has won three out of the last four Blizzard Series championships.
Despite Pollard’s three wins last year, Roderick came out on top of the championship standings with three top-two finishes and a seventh, while Pollard suffered a DNF in the second race of the four-race series.
While Roderick is expected to be in attendance Friday night, Pollard currently isn’t planning to compete in the first race of the Blizzard Series season. That fact alone opens the door for a potential first-time Blizzard Series winner to break into victory lane.
While an official entry list has not been released for Friday night’s event, many other big names are expected to be at Five Flags Speedway.
One of the drivers who may be considered a favorite to race to victory lane is Giovanni Bromante, who is fresh off his big win in the season-opening Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway. Paired with the Anthony Campi Racing team that won the Snowflake 100 with Chase Purdy last December at Five Flags, Bromante will be among those contending for the win Friday night.
Another young driver who has the potential to turn heads is Southern Super Series Rookie of the Year contender Jett Noland. Driving for the Jett Motorsports team that finished third with Jeff Choquette in the Snowball Derby, Noland has the knowledge behind him to have a strong run at Five Flags.
Connor Okrzesik is expected to make his first Super Late Model start at Five Flags since his fourth-place finish in the Snowball Derby last December. Okrzesik turned heads with his performance last December and took the racing world by storm when he beat Kyle Busch at CRA SpeedFest earlier this year.
Another big winner already in 2019, Alabama 200 victor Augie Grill is expected to be in attendance. Grill has won nine Blizzard Series races during his career and the former Snowball Derby winner is always considered a threat when he arrives in Pensacola, Florida.
Kyle Plott, who scored his first career Southern Super Series victory last year, will make the trip to Five Flags looking to become the latest Georgia driver to find success at the track.
Texas native Chris Davidson is also entered and will be chasing his first Five Flags Super Late Model victory after seven career top-five finishes at the track.
The driver making the longest journey to compete in Friday’s race is Dennis Prunty, who will make the long trek from Wisconsin to compete in the Blizzard Series opener.
Meanwhile, local drivers Logan Boyett, Kyle Bryant and Jeremy Pate will be looking to keep the trophy in the Pensacola area, while Anthony Sergi and Jesse Dutilly will represent the central portion of the Sunshine State.
Alabama driver Steven Davis, who has enjoyed success in the Pro Truck division at Five Flags, is also expected to be in attendance.
Since pre-paid entry forms not being required for Southern Super Series events, additional drivers are likely to be in attendance Friday night.
Race fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida on Friday night will be able to watch the Road to the Snowball Derby begin via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Video tickets for the race can be purchased today for just $14.99 by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com