As the 48th Annual Snowball Derby grows ever closer, Casey Smith says the nerves are easing more and more. Smith, a native of Austin, Texas, captured the Southern Super Series title in 2015. No series races at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway more than that one, but he has still yet to win at the challenging half-mile in the panhandle. However, Smith continues to say that there’s no pressure on him heading into Sunday’s Snowball Derby.
“We’ve run well all year and we’ve built a new car for the Derby,” said Smith. “We’re pretty excited about it. We’ve got a provisional in case something happens on Friday night. We’re really going down there to have fun. There’s a little bit less pressure knowing that we’re already in the show.”
But this is the Snowball Derby. It’s the granddaddy of all short track races. It’s the race that Super Late Model teams throughout the country work towards winning all season long.
“The Derby is a different animal,” said Smith. “The track is totally different than how it is all year long. You have to race your own race and not worry about where you’re at. If someone wants to run a faster pace than you then you just have to let them go.”
Smith said the Derby comes down to having two things: A good car and good luck. He also said that having good luck might be more important than having a good race car. But even if Smith doesn’t have good luck in this year’s race, he said he won’t let that spoil what he and his race team have done in 2015.
“The main thing about the Snowball Derby is it’s just luck,” he said. “You have to miss all the wrecks. We just need to do what we’ve done all year. I hope to cap it off with a solid run, but we won’t let something happening at the Derby ruin the year we’ve had.”
Smith has participated in the Snowball Derby on 11 different occasions, and his third-place run in 2003 was his best finish in the race. He’s run well throughout the race before, including a seventh-place run just one year ago, but circumstances usually seem to leave him with a finish not indicative of how he performed.
“We’ve been close a few times but a bad pit stop or a wreck has ended them,” he said. “Hopefully we can have a good run this time. The Snowball is a totally different race than anything else. You have to get yourself in position in those last 50 laps.”
This year, Smith is coming into the Derby after one of his best seasons ever. In 13 Southern Super Series races, he never finished outside of the top 10 on his way to clinching his first touring series title.
This could possibly be his year to lift the Tom Dawson trophy over his head. This could be the year that he claims the title of Snowball Derby champion in addition to Southern Super Series champion.
“That would definitely cap off an awesome year,” Smith said. “It would be something that I dream about. But deep down you almost think that it might not happen. We’ve been trying for so long and stuff happens. It would be a shocker and would take a really long time to set in.”
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