snowball derby

Five Flags Speedway

Rain washes out Snowball Derby, rescheduled to Monday

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Rain has postponed the 52nd Snowball Derby Super Late Model race from Sunday to Monday at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

Track officials tried several times to dry the track, only to be met with recurrences of rain.

Even with the rain issue, one bit of significant news was announced: the track is granting a special provisional exception and expanded the race day field from its normal 36-driver field to 37 drivers. The reason: veteran racer David Rogers was presented with the Derby Dedication Award for his 32 previous starts in the Snowball Derby.

Monday will make Roger’s 33rd career start in the annual pre-winter event, breaking a tie with legendary driver Red Farmer for most starts in the race.

Rogers has had a challenging year, having battled and then overcoming lymphoma. Monday’s rescheduled race will be the Florida resident’s first start behind the wheel since he was officially declared cancer-free.

“David’s Snowball Derby dedication has been unmatched in the history of this race,” Five Flags Speedway owner Tim Bryant said in a statement.  “We felt like being in this race served as real motivation for David in his battle with cancer this year, and we wish him the best of luck in today’s race.”

Also, driver Justin Bonnett, grandson of late NASCAR star Neil Bonnett, is recovering in a Mobile, Alabama hospital after undergoing surgery to repair a broken leg and treat burns to his face, hands and body. Bonnett was involved in a crash and subsequent fireball created by a fuel cell that broke away from a fellow competitor’s race car during Saturday night’s Snowflake 100 race at Five Flags Speedway.

 

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Corey LaJoie among NASCAR drivers entered in Snowball Derby

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A handful of NASCAR veterans are entered into the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, the Dec. 8 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

An updated entry list for the race has 55 drivers, including the new entry of Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie.

LaJoie, who drove for Go Fas Racing this season, will compete for Jamie Yelton’s Fat Head Racing. It’ll be his first time in the race since 2017.

“I keep saying I’m going to keep going down there until I win one,” LaJoie told Speed51.com. “I keep getting closer each and every time.  I’ve broken a couple of times, and another time we just didn’t have our stuff together.  Hopefully this time, we can get down there and get close.  If I can see the front near the end of that thing, I’m going to make something happen.”

Other entries include 2020 Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton, former Cup driver David Gilliland, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ty Majeski and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson. Derek Kraus, this year’s K&N Pro Series West champion, has also been added to the entry list.

Chandler Smith, the 17-year-old driver who made four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series this year, is also entered.

JR Motorsports’ late model driver Josh Berry is entered as well.

Noah Gragson won the race last year for KBM. Busch himself is a two-time winner of the event.

Other past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott.

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Harrison Burton among NASCAR drivers entered in Snowball Derby

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A handful of NASCAR veterans will compete in the 52nd annual Snowball Derby, the Dec. 8 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The early entry list for the race has 53 drivers, including 2020 Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton, former Cup driver David Gilliland, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ty Majeski and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson.

Chandler Smith, the 17-year-old driver who made four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series this year, is also entered.

JR Motorsports late model driver Josh Berry is entered as well.

Noah Gragson won the race last year for KBM. Busch himself is a two-time winner of the event.

Other past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Elliott.

 

Snowball Derby change has Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott disagreeing

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Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott exchanged differences of opinion Sunday on social media to a rule change the Snowball Derby will have this season.

The 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, which is hosted by Five Flags Speedway, will go with a controlled caution format in an effort to save teams money, according to a report by Speed51.com.

That means drivers pitting will not lose positions to other cars that pit during the same caution. It also means that no car may lose a lap while pitting under caution. The result is that there isn’t as great of a need to hire a specialized pit crew for the Super Late Model showcase event.

Tim Bryant, promoter of the Snowball Derby and Five Flags Speedway, told Speed51.com that the move was made to save teams money.

“We know that the Snowball Derby is a costly event for the teams to participate in,” Bryant told Speed51.com.  We are in constant search of ways to make it less expensive for competitors. … The importance of length of time on pit road has gone to the extreme. The cost of a high-paid pit crew was never intended for this level of racing.”

The decision was discussed on social media and included Kyle Busch, who won the event in 2009 and 2017 as a driver and had Noah Gragson win in 2018 with Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Chase Elliott, who won the Snowball Derby in 2011 and ’15. Elliott also won the 2013 Snowball Derby but was disqualified after his car failed post-race inspection.

Busch didn’t like the decision by Snowball Derby officials to do away with live pit stops. His comments led Elliott, Corey LaJoie, crew chief Chris Gabehart and Andy Houston, spotter for Austin Dillon, to join the discussion.

Noah Gragson wins Snowball Derby for Kyle Busch Motorsports

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Noah Gragson took the lead from Harrison Burton with a handful of laps remaining in the 51st annual Snowball Derby to give Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) back-to-back wins in the prestigious Super Late Model race.

Last year, Kyle Busch scored the victory. 

Ty Majeski held on to finish second ahead of Jeff Choquette. Conor Okrzesik and Casey Roderick rounded out the top five.

It appeared to be Burton’s race to lose. He chased down Majeski with 25 laps remaining and held the top spot for five laps before a caution waved for Kale Bryant’s spin. Most of the leaders pitted under that caution, but Burton chose to stay out on old tires.

Burton faded to 10th in the final rundown.

With 16 laps remaining, Majeski was instrumental in the final caution. He and Bubba Pollard spun after making contact in Turns 1 and 2. The incident put an end to Pollard’s Snowball Derby bid for the 13th time. Pollard finished 11 laps off the pace in 26th. Last year, he finished third. KBM kept their drivers in contention with fast work in the pits and on the track.

On Lap 90, Noah Gragson came in running third and left with the lead. KBM teammate Raphael Lessard came in fifth and left second.

The Snowball Derby started during the day time and ended under the lights for the first time in its history.

When the lights came on about the Lap 175 mark with Choquette, Lessard, Gragson, Pollard, Majeski and Burton were in the top six and they remained in contention until the final laps.

On Lap 213, Majeski took the lead from Choquette just before Stephen Nasse backed hard into the wall. Nasse had charged from the back to challenge for the top 10 by lap 100, but a mistake in the pits cost him a chance at victory.

After the incident, Nasse confronted his pit crew for leaving two tires loose on the last pit stop.

NASCAR Truck series driver Stewart Friesen started 14th, but sustained right front damage on a caution following an early restart. He retired in 34th on Lap 58.

The 2018 K&N East champion Tyler Ankrum started 24th and finished eighth.

Steven Wallace, son of Rusty Wallace, suffered a mechanical failure and stalled on the pace laps of the last chance qualifier. He was unable to continue.