Two-time Snowball Derby Champion Freddy Fryar passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 84. Freddy Fryar’s son, Marc Fryar, confirmed his father’s passing with a post on Twitter.
Fryar was best known at the “The Beaumont Flyer.” For many generations, if he was at a race track, other drivers were chasing the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native hoping to run second. Fryar won more than 800 races on short tracks from Texas to Florida and all around the southeast.
Fryar was the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Speedweeks champion at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) in 1976 in the Late Model class. From there he took his success to a new level at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida at the Snowball Derby.
Fryar won the race in 1979 and 1981 and became only the third driver to win the race twice at the time, joining Wayne Niedecken and Dickie Davis as multi-time winners of the event. He also posted a second-place run in 1982 in what could have been a third Derby win, as he was beat out by Gene Morgan.
In all, he ran the Snowball Derby 20 times and had 11 top-10 finishes, with his last start coming in 1991.
Our Speed51 crew caught up with Fryar to chat about his Derby success ahead of the 50th running of the event in 2017.
“Winning the Snowball Derby was like winning the Daytona 500,” said Fryar. “It was one of the best days of my life up until that point.”
Fryar was successful away from Pensacola as well. He won the 1983 All Pro Super Series title with two wins, and was third in points a year later against the best of the best at the time including Rusty Wallace, Gary Balough and Butch Lindley. He also won nine races in the All Pro Truck Series, claiming that series’ championship in 1984.
In recent years, Freddy’s grandson, Jared Fryar, has carried the family name, building his career on the same short tracks that Freddy drove years ago. In 2018, Jared Fryar won the CARS Super Late Model Tour championship.
Speed51 offers its heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Fryar family at this time.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Correspondent
-Photo Credit: Marc Fryar