On December 5, 1999, Rich Bickle wrote his name into the Five Flags Speedway history book capturing a record fifth Snowball Derby title. Now, 20 years later, Bickle will return to the Pensacola, FL half-mile oval for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby with the intention of adding another chapter to that book.
On Tuesday, Bickle officially entered the 2019 Snowball Derby. The Edgerton, WI driver will pilot the No. 45 Ford fielded by T1 Racing in the stock car classic set for Wednesday, December 4 - Sunday, December 8.
“Normally, we’d have been ready for the Derby and a long time ago, but we have been building a new car for this race and we just didn’t get ahead of it until this past week," Bickle said in announcing his entry Tuesday. “It was only when we got the car close to being done this past weekend that we knew we could enter this year’s race.”
Bickle will test his new Wegner Automotive powered mount this Saturday at Pensacola. If the test goes well, Bickle hopes to be in the starting field of this year’s ‘Daytona 500 of Short Track Racing’ when the classic event takes the green flag at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.
“I have loved running the Snowball Derby since I first competed in it in 1989,” Bickle stated. “There’s something about 5 Flags Speedway that has always seemed to fit my driving style and produce a lot of great wins and memories.”
Bickle’s run of Snowball Derby success began when he finished second to Rick Crawford in the 1989 race. Bickle notched his first Snowball Derby crown a year later. He then cruised by everybody again in the 1991 edition of the race wheeling his No. 5 Terminal Trucking Chevrolet Camaro to a second-straight victory and the distinction of being the first driver to ever score back-to-back wins in the iconic event.
Bickle followed with victories in the 1996 and 1998 Snowball Derby classics before becoming the only five-time winner of the event in the 1999 race – an event that also paid a $100,000 bonus since he had won a Derby qualifying race earlier that year at Five Flags.
Bickle then took more than a decade off from the Derby before returning for the 50th Annual race in 2017. Unfortunately, mechanical problems didn’t allow him to make the event.
Even with the DNQ, Bickle’s record of five wins, eight top-five, and nine top-10 finishes in 12 Snowball Derby events will unlikely ever be equaled much less surpassed.
As part of his 2019 Snowball Derby effort, Bickle will also hold several autograph sessions for his new book; ‘Barnyard To Brickyard – The Rich Bickle Story.’
Written by Bickle’s longtime friend, media rep and race day spotter, John Close, Barnyard To Brickyard published in July and has been among the best-selling books in the Motorsports Biographies category on Amazon.com ever since. The paperback edition features 200 pages, more than 150 photos, and an Introduction courtesy of NASCAR Hall of Fame Member Mark Martin.
Bickle and Close will sell/autograph the book for just $20 at this year’s Derby (regular $24.95 retail price - unsigned).
Fans not able to attend this year’s Snowball Derby event can order a paperback copy of Barnyard To Brickyard at www.amazon.com or www.coastal181.com. Kindle or Audiobook versions of Barnyard To Brickyard – The Rich Bickle Story – are available at www.amazon.com.
For more information about, and how to buy tickets for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, please visit www.5FlagsSpeedway.com.
For fans unable to make the trip, they can tune in to Speed51’s pay-per-view broadcast of the event. Now is the perfect time to order your video ticket and take advantage of early-bird savings. To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
Information about the 2019 Snowball Derby can also be found on Facebook @ 5 Flags Speedway.
-Team Press Release & Photo