As we approach the 50th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway, it only makes sense to put together a list of the top 50 drivers who have helped shape the history of the prestigious race.  Today we take a look at #1 through #10 on the all-time list.

 

If you missed any of the previously released versions, check them out below:

11-20

21-30

31-40

41-50

 

Now, it's time to take a look at the first 10 drivers who cracked the top 20.

 

10 - Darrell Waltrip

Starts - 6

Wins - 1

Top Fives - 4

Top 10s - 6

 

In six races, DW's worst finish at the Snowball Derby was ninth.  Waltrip was second in 1972 and tried for several years before he got his win in 1976.  He left the track in 1977 thinking he had done it again as he had the trophy, but a check of the scoring showed that Waltrip finished third.  To this day, Waltrip still has the trophy.  

 

300x250 Snowball Derby PPV9 - Butch Miller

Starts - 11

Wins - 1

Top Fives - 6

Top 10s - 8

 

Miller was a force at the Snowball Derby in only 11 starts.  In his first four starts, he logged four top fives with a win and two second-place runs.  That win came in 1987 when he led 144 of the 250 laps.  He added a third second-place run in 1993 for his sixth top-five finish.  In all, Miller had eight top-10 runs with only three DNF's.   

 

8 - Gary St. Amant

Starts - 15

Wins - 2

Top Fives - 4

Top 10s - 7

 

In his first trip to the Derby, St. Amant went to victory lane in 1992 and his success continued every year in which he traveled south.  He was second in 1998 and won again in 2000.  Just a few years later, he was second again in 2003.  In all, he had seven top-10 finishes. He is one of three drivers who has at least two wins and two seconds.   

 

7 - Wayne Niedecken Sr.

Starts - 8

Wins - 2

Top Fives - 3

Top 10s - 4

 

Winning the first Snowball Derby is enough to get you on this list, but becoming the first two-time winner and posting a podium finish in between leaves Wayne Niedecken Sr. as one of the best to ever circle the oval on Pine Forest Road. In 1972, Niedecken logged another top 10 before running the race for the final time in 1975.  

 

6 - Eddie Mercer

Starts - 22

Wins - 1

Top Fives - 9

Top 10s - 10

 

Let’s be happy that the hometown standout scored one win at the Derby.  Had he not, his resume might read more like a nightmare. His four second-place finishes in his 22 career starts is a record that still stands today.  He’s led the most laps in Snowball Derby history with 752 and he has 10 top-10 finishes at the Derby. He is the only four-time pole winner, but his 2005 win is the highlight of his career.

 

5 - Dickie Davis

Starts - 6

Wins - 2

Top Fives - 4

Top 10s - 4

 

Some people might look at the stats and say, "Wait, he only ran the Snowball Derby six times."  But in those six starts, Davis' Snowball Derby resume stacks up against the best of them.  The record books show his two wins, but digging deeper you will see that he also finished second twice.  Those were his first four starts. He made two others before he retired.   

 

4 - Freddie Fryar

Starts - 20  

Wins - 2

Top Fives - 7

Top 10s - 11

 

As far as Derby dominators go, Freddie Fryar was the man before Rich Bickle came along.  Fryar was second in 1971 and he added a pair of top fives before getting his first win in 1979.  He was 10th in 1980 before winning again in 1981.  He was second again in 1982 and fourth in 1983. In all, he had 11 top 10s in 20 starts.

 

3 - Bobby Gill

Starts - 20

Wins - 2

Top Fives - 6

Top 10s - 8

 

Gill is one of only two drivers who can call himself a three-time pole winner at the Snowball Derby, but his success in the long-distance race is what has him as the third highest driver on our list.  Gill took wins in 1993 and 1997.  He was flagged the winner in 1999 before a scoring error forced him to give up the Tom Dawson trophy.  In 2007, he was in line to win in the tech line, but the width of his car was not within the rulebook. Along with his two wins, a pair of fourths and fifths gave him six top-five finishes.  

 

2 - Jody Ridley

Starts - 27

Wins - 1

Top Fives - 12

Top 10s - 16

 

Despite only one win in the December race, Jody Ridley proved that he was at one with the Pensacola track. During a six-year stretch in the 80s, Ridley finished in the top five in six races in a row and was on the lead lap for all of them. In all, Ridley had 12 top-five runs and that included three runner-up finishes.  In 2000, Ridley finished second to Gary St. Amant and that would be his final showing at the Derby.  Statistically, he was one of the best ever in the Derby.

 

1 - Rich Bickle Jr.

Starts - 11

Wins - 5

Top Fives - 8

Top 10s - 9

 

There is no one better and the numbers only tell half of the story.  Rich Bickle was “The King of December” when it comes to the Snowball Derby.  Like many before him, Bickle had to finish second in the Snowball Derby before he got his first win.  From there, it’s like he never stopped. He won in 1990 and 1991.  He was third in 1994 before getting another win in 1996.  Then came 1998 and 1999 which netted him a $100,000 bonus.  He would finish second in 2002 for his seventh podium run. After a 15-year hiatus, Bickle returns to the Snowball Derby this year looking to build on his already impressive resume. 

 

-Text by Speed51.com Staff

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Top 50 Snowball Derby Drivers of All-Time: The Top 10