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Snowball Derby

Storylines for the 56th Annual Snowball Derby

Phoenix Water Solutions - Your Trusted Source for Clean & Pure Water SolutionsFew things in motorsports require as little explanation as ‘Snowball Derby.’

It’s the most prolific event in pavement short track racing and an event attended by NASCAR stars, short track aces and racing devotees alike. More than a series of races, this week is a celebration of the discipline.

Once again, the Snowball Derby has produced an incredible entry list with no shortage of storylines and the Snowflake 100 is even more loaded than usual. This is going to be a tremendous one-two punch of marquee Super and Pro Late Model races.

The race seems to be garnering greater media attention than usual, with NASCAR websites like Frontstretch and Kickin’ The Tires in attendance, and even the Charlotte Observer sending a reporter to the Gulf Coast.

There is a reason for this kind of attention and here is a snippet of all the things worth paying attention to this next week.

The Forecast

Let’s go ahead and get the potentially awful news out of the way first. The forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday looks absolutely dreadful. While the exact percentage chances change from one day to the next, right now, it looks more likely than not that rain will fall.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this website is based on the nearby Alabama Gulf Coast and that has taught all of us over the years that if you don’t like the forecast, wait around and it is sure to change. This is the first December of a strong El Niño period, which means cooler and wet Snowball Derby weeks, historically.

This week is definitely cold and it’s very likely to be wet at some point.

So, what is the plan? It’s complicated. It all depends on when the rain, should it come, fall. First, for the purposes of the Snowball Derby race itself. If the race can’t take place on Sunday afternoon, it would be contested on Monday night and then Tuesday night until they get the race to an official distance.

The reason for the next night, instead of the next morning, is that track owner Tim Bryant is very protective of his local attending fans and wants to make sure that those who work during the day could come back that night and watch the race. That was the case in 2016 when constant rain pushed the race back to a Tuesday night.

The local divisions could get pushed back to next weekend if necessary.

Most pressing will be the Late Model track sessions, but even the Snowflake 100 was pushed back to the next week as recently as 2018 as the rain just made it untenable to get the race in on Saturday night with haulers needing to leave the infield in time for Sunday.

So just be patient because this could be messy for Bryant, who certainly doesn’t want this to be a narrative either.

Bubba

It’s a cliché at this point, and Bubba Pollard doesn’t want this to be a narrative either, but this marks the 18th year that he has shown up to Five Flags Speedway seeking the only trophy missing from his Hall of Fame resume.

His best finish, remarkably, is just third in 2017 and two fifth places finishes in 2008 and 2015. He hasn’t posted a top-10 since 2017. Pollard will likely qualify near the front, he will be in the mix at some point, and it’s just going to come down to what setup decisions he and Mark Buckner make alongside the Senneker Race Cars chassis they’ve enetered into the race.

It’s inevitable that the No. 26 will win this race at some point. He has to … right?

The Contenders

Derek Thorn is still driving the Campbell Motorsports No. 43 that absolutely dominated this race over the past three years. The car that led 846 of 918 laps has been sold to Shafer Motorsports and Thorn still gets to drive it. There is always Ty Majeski, winner of the 2020 race and the most consistent challenger to Thorn over the past three years.

William Byron really wants this race win after his best NASCAR Cup Series season yet. He raced in the Florida Governor’s Cup purely to get re-acclimated to the Super Late Model, a race won by Stephen Nasse, who still fancies himself the unofficial winner of the 2019 race taken from him in tech and awarded to Travis Braden.

Speaking of Braden, he is back for the first time since his Derby victory and aligned with Jett Motorsports with Larry Blount.

Donnie Wilson Motorsports will always be contenders for this race thanks to their talented roster and legendary crew chief and engineer support cast fielding cars for Xfinity Series contender Sammy Smith, Winchester 400 winner Gio Ruggiero, All American 400 winner William Sawalich and Redbud 400 winner Cole Butcher this year.

You can make strong cases for literally each of them.

Ryan Preece is driving the Kevin Harvick Inc. entry with Cup Series crew chief Chris Gabehart on the pit box.  Erik Jones is bringing the car and group that won the Berlin Money in the Bank to Pensacola. Noah Gragson, who won this race in 2018, is back with Rette Jones Racing and could be a viable threat.

Carson Hocevar has always been challenged by Five Flags Speedway but it also feels inevitable that he will figure this place out after a while too.

And again, if not any of these contenders, it always comes back to Pollard, no?

Holy Snowflake

On one hand, the Snowball Derby is missing some obvious entries that would have made the Sunday show better but instead they’re entered on the Snowflake 100 roster in addition to many of the stars pulling double duty in a Super Late and Pro Late Model.

THERE’S 69 FREAKING CARS ON THE ENTRY LIST.

For example, Kaden Honeycutt has contended for Snowball Derby wins for much of the past half decade, did not enter the race this year but is back in Pensacola this year but in the Snowflake 100.

NASCAR Xfinity Series winner Jeb Burton will make his Snowflake debut this year. Nashville and Montgomery monthly racers Dylan Fetcho, Dawson Sutton, Jackson Boone and John Bolen are all entered.

This is the one Pro Late Model race of the year where so many Super Late Model teams enter both shows and this year is no different with Bubba Pollard, Stephen Nasse, Matt Craig, Hunter Robbins and Augie Grill all chasing both trophies this year.

It’s arguably the most stacked Snowflake 100 in recent memory.

Qualifying Friday

It’s the most exciting time trials show in all of motorsports.

The best way to describe Snowball Derby qualifying is Indianapolis 500 Bump Day during the heyday of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Only 30 drivers, of the 52 on the entry list, will lock into the main event from time trials, with everyone else who doesn’t have a provisional being forced into a last chance race.

There are only three drivers for sure locked into the main event: Defending winner Thorn, reigning Five Flags Speedway track champion Jeremy Doss and Southern Super Series champion Gio Ruggiero. If any of them drive into the field via time trials, that free pass will be passed throughout the top-10 in both standings should anyone need it like Robbins, Boone, Craig, Nasse, Pollard, Braden or Jake Finch.

Every year, it seems like a big name you’d expect to make the field on time falls back on a provisional to avoid the last chance race. And speaking of the last chance race, everyone who doesn’t lock in on Friday must race it out over 50 laps on Saturday afternoon for the final four sport.

The same dynamic applies for the Snowflake 100 too.

Jake Garcia, Connor Okrzesik, Hunter Robbins, Boris Jurkovic, Kaden Honeycutt, Daniel Dye and Chris Davidson.

Broadcast

For the third year in a row, Racing America will provide week long coverage of the Snowball Derby, including every practice, qualifying and race session for the Late Models and all the local division races as well.

You can order the Snowball Derby on Racing America here.

Snowball Derby Entries

NO DRIVER HOMETOWN
1 Michael House Columbia, TN
2 William Sawalich Eden Prairie, MN
2 John Bolen Jasper, AL
4 Erik Jones Charlotte, NC
5 Andrik Dimayuga Mexico City, MX
7 Jackson Boone Franklin, TN
7 Derek Thorn Bakersfield, CA
08 Jace Hansen Berthoud, CO
9 Derek Kraus Stratford, WI
12 Derek Griffith Hudson, NH
14 Carson Hocevar Portage, MI
14 Connor Okrzesik Grand Bay, AL
16 Jacob Gomes Manteca, CA
18 Chase Burda Richmond, MI
18 Hunter Robbins Pensacola, FL
21 Travis Braden Wheeling, WV
22 Gio Ruggiero Seekonk, MA
22 Sammy Smith Johnston, IA
23 Billy VanMeter Indianapolis, IN
23 Ed VanMeter Indianapolis, IN
24 William Byron Charlotte, NC
26 Bubba Pollard Senoia, GA
26 Luke Fenhaus Wausau, WI
27 Travis Rodewald Manitowoc, WI
28 Cole Butcher Hansport, NS
28 Timothy Watson Panama City, FL
30 Noah Gragson Mooresville, NC
32 Stuart Dutton Tallahassee, FL
32 Caden Kvapil Mooresville, NC
32 Treyten Lapcevich Grimsby, ON
33 Albert Francis Painesville, OH
33 Dustin Smith Mobile, AL
35 Jake Garcia Monroe, GA
36 Carson Kvapil Mooresville, NC
44 Conner Jones Fredricksburg, VA
44 Jeremy Doss Upper Lake, CA
48 Allen Karnes Sharpsburg, GA
48 Preston Peltier Johnstown, CO
50 Jett Noland Groveland, FL
51 Stephen Nasse Pinellas Park, FL
51 Jake Finch Lynn Haven, FL
54 Matthew Craig Concord, NC
54 Conner Sutton Pensacola, FL
55 Haeden Plybon Deer Park, WA
58 Johnny Aramendia New Braunfels, TX
62 Ryan Preece Kannapolis, NC
63 Kole Raz Lake Oswego, OR
69 Michael Hinde Hernando, FL
74 Ryan Moore Mooresville, NC
91 Ty Majeski Neenah,WI
98 Blaine Rocha Oakdale, CA
112 Augie Grill Hayden, AL

Snowflake 100 Entries

0 Glenn Styres Ohsweken, ON
00 Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. Candia, NH
00 Ryan Colby Mobile, AL
08 Nicholas Naugle Dartmouth, NS
1 Ryan Fleming Cedarville, OH
1 Kasey Kleyn Quincy, WA
2 John Bolen Jasper, AL
3 Brad Arms Greenbrier, TN
3 Chris Munson Chelsea, MI
3 LB Skaggs Fort Myers, FL
4 Elliott Massey Lucedale, MS
5 Jeremy Miller Rockford, IL
5 James Cleckler Clanton, AL
7 Jackson Boone Franklin, TN
7 Tristan McKee Williamsburg, VA
9 Kaden Honeycutt Aledo, TX
11 Randy Sargent South Beloit, IL
11 Stacey Crain Smyrna, TN
11 Brian Reeves Enterprise, AL
11 Jolynn Wilkinson Hueytown, AL
11 Dylan Cappello Charlotte, NC
12 Christopher Hogan Conroe, TX
15 Luke Baldwin Mooresville, NC
15 Brett Suggs Mooresville, NC
15 Mike Hopkins Hermon, ME
17 Hudson Bulger Fort Valley, GA
18 Chase Burda Lapeer, MI
18 Hunter Robbins Pensacola, FL
18 Terry Senneker Wayland, MI
21 Anthony Cataldi Umatilla, FL
22 Kyle Steckly Milverton, ON
22 Dylan Courtney Citronelle, AL
22 Brandon Oakley Beavercreek, OH
24 Brent Crews Cornelius, NC
25 Gavan Boschele Mooresville, NC
25 Kirk Hennefer Missoula, MT
26 Bubba Pollard Senoia, GA
26 Dawson Sutton Lebanon, TN
27 Jeb Burton Halifax, VA
32 Nick Jenkins Brownville, ME
33 Bryson Shaffer Milan, TN
33 Dustin Smith Mobile, AL
39 Max Cookson Palmyra, ME
43 Augie Grill Hayden, AL
43 Nick Loden Stanley, NC
46 Dustin Arms Springfield, TN
47 Dustin Bryson Covington, GA
48 Ed Vecchiarelli Brighton, CO
51 Stephen Nasse Pinellas Park, FL
54 Jarrett Butcher Dartmouth, NS
54 Matt Craig Concord, NC
54 Clayton Green Marble Falls, TX
54 Grant Thompson Mobile, AL
58 Johnny Aramendia New Braunfels, TX
62 Josh Hicks Hampton, GA
67 Colin Allman Plant City, FL
69 Michael Hinde Hernando, FL
70 Gavin Graham Polk City, FL
77 Logan Jones Fredricksburg, VA
88 Boston Oliver Murfreesboro, TN
89 Dylan Fetcho Lebanon, TN
91 Jim Wall Madison, AL
95 Bennie Hamlett Mount Juliet, TN
97 Michael Faulk Huntersville, NC
116 Jay Nelson Headland, AL
407 Jason Vail Clermont, FL

Schedule (CT)

Wednesday Nov. 29

9:00 Rig Parking
11:00 SBD & SF Tech Opens
5:00 Cones up at SBD & SF Tech Line
6:00 Snowball/Snowflake Qualifying Draw, Chili for Charity
8:00 Pepperjack Kennels Green Flag Party
Tool Shack Qualifying Draw Down
Chili for Charity

Thursday November 30

8:00 Pits Open
9:00 SBD & SF Driver’s Meeting
10:-4:00 SBD & Snowflake Practice
4:30 Pro Truck, Sportsmen & Pure Stock Driver’s Meeting
5:00 Racing America Bullring Show in Fan Zone
5:-6:30 Truck, Sportsmen & Pure Stock Practice
6:45 Truck, Sportsmen & Pure Stock Qualifying
7:45 Pre Race Festivities
8:00 ZOOM Pro Truck 50
Dock of P’cola Beach Sportsmen 50
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stock 35

Friday December 1

8:00 Pits Open
9:00 SBD & SF Driver’s Meeting
10:00-10:45 SBD Practice
10:45-11:30 SF Practice
11:30-12:30 Modifieds Practice
1:00 SBD Practice
2:00 SF Practice
Mods to Pre Qualifying Tech
3:00 Mod Qualifying (Lock 28)
SBD Cars to Pre Qualifying Tech (by group)
4:30 Mod Driver’s Meeting, turn 1
5:00 Racing America Bullring Live in Fan Zone
6:00 56th Snowball Derby Qualifying
7:45 Pre Race Festivities
8:00 Crown Stock Practice, Group Qualifying
8:15 Modifieds of Mayhem 75
Story & Bleich Crown Stock Invitational 25

Saturday December 2

8:00 Pits Open
9:00 SBD & SF Driver’s Meeting
10:00-11:00 SF Practice
11:00-11:45 Outlaw Practice
11:45-12:45 SBD Practice
1:30 Outlaw Qualifying (Lock 28)
2:00 SF Qualifying (lock top 30)
SF Qualifier (50 Laps, transfer 4)
SBD Qualifier (50 Laps, transfer 4)
Outlaws B-Main (if necessary)
6:00 Outlaws Driver’s Meeting
7:00 Allen Turner Snowflake 100
Faith Chapel Outlaw SBD 50

Sunday, December 3

7:00 Pits Open, team members only
(Haulers must exit by 9am)
8:00 Pits Open
9:30 SBD Driver’s Meeting
10:00 Worship Service
12:00 Engine Warmups /Cars to grid
Pre Race Festivities
2023 SBD Class Photo
Driver Introductions
1:00 Snowball Derby (300 Laps}

STS Partnerships

Phoenix Water Solutions joins Short Track Scene as Snowball Derby presenting partner

Live Race Day Coverage

Short Track Scene’s live tweeting coverage from editor Matt Weaver is presented by DeVaughn Capital.

Live Practice Coverage

Live Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 practice session updates and reports are presented by MPM Marketing.


McCallister Precision Marketing (MPM) focuses on assisting up-and-coming race car drivers with career advancement and promotion. McCallister Precision Marketing helps drivers build confidence in front of and behind the camera, giving them the tools they need to advance to the next level. The company also provides companies with a strategic plan for their sales, marketing and promotional needs. We believe in building positive relationships with our clients so that we may provide them with the most professional, yet personal guidance they need, in order to achieve their racing goals. Our clients include race car drivers, race team owners, companies and racing series’. We also work closely with charities and charity events.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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