Dreams have been crushed and others have been made in “The Room of Doom” following the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Throughout the 50-year history of the race, the stories from the tech shed have kept racers, officials and fans on their toes.
Today, we look at the timeline of some of the stories involving infractions, disqualifications and more from “The Room of Doom.”
1973: Officials and other drivers didn’t like the way the Pete Hamilton’s car looked after its pole-winning run, so after review he was forced to make adjustments to his car. He then didn’t win the race that year. He vowed to win the pole in a legal car and he did just that the following year before going on to win the race.
1990: Jeff Purvis’ pole run was disallowed after soaked tires were found on the car. David Bonnett, who qualified third, was also found with soaked tires. Butch Miller was light on the scales after qualifying eighth. All three had their times disallowed.
1992: Stanley Smith’s pole run was wiped from the record books when his tires were found to be too soft. Tim Steele was sent to the heat races after his tires were also too soft.
2001: Ronnie Sanders, Gary St. Amant, John Wilkinson, Daniel Keene and Justin Drawdy were all disqualified after qualifying.
RICKY BROOKS ERA
2006: Clay Rogers was named the official winner after initial race winner Johnny Brazier was weighed in at 58.2 percent on the left side. Second-place finisher Bobby Gill was found to be a quarter-inch wide on tread width and was also disqualified.
2007: “Sockets in the pockets” – Steve Wallace had a little trouble making post-race weight after the last chance race. After being light over the scales, the car seemed to get heavy on the second time across the scales. Track officials caught him with sockets in his pockets and the rest is history. Wallace was out of the Derby and the story became legend. Kyle Busch was also light and sent packing, while Benny Gordon was tossed for being too wide after the last chance race.
2008: A morning meeting took place behind the Richie Wauters rig and the team was escorted off the property after soaked tires were apparently found in the team’s hauler. Tire soaking was a big no-no at that time and Wauters was forced to sell the team in order to represent the car the next day. Shane Sieg was the driver and was under the microscope all weekend. He made the show and finished fourth after starting 36th. Sadly, Sieg passed away last year.
2008: Augie Grill was a quarter inch too low after time trials and was sent to the last chance race. Stephen McCurley was 10 pounds too light. Grill would go on to win the race as McCurley didn’t make the show.
In a crazy turn of events, Grill was awarded the Snowball Derby win after Brian Ickler was disqualified for having brake blowers on the car. The crew insisted they were not hooked up.
2013: Erik Jones ended up with the trophy after Chase Elliott’s car was found to have tungsten in the frame rail.
2015: Christopher Bell’s Snowball Derby victory was taken away after a weight infraction finds the Bell ride to be 58.3 on the left side. Chase Elliott was awarded the win and got redemption after his own DQ in 2013.
-Story by Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent & Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com