The staff at Five Flags Speedway announced today several new procedural changes for both the 44th Annual Snowball Derby Super Late Model race as well as the 100-lap Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. The changes are being made to make the prestigious events more economical for racers in both divisions.
The Super Late Model teams that compete in the 300-lap Snowball Derby on Sunday, December 4th, will only be allowed to change two tires per pit stop. In the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 on Saturday December 3rd, Pro Late Models will be impounded after qualifying that same day.
Although only two-tire pit stops will be allowed in the Snowball Derby, teams will still be able to use up to 12 tires during the race, in addition to the four on the car that they begin the race with. With the new rule, teams may not need to use their entire allotment of tires during the event and they may not need to hire professional pit crews to service their cars. Both may save competitors money while still giving the fans that will pack Five Flags Speedway on “Derby Day,” the spectacle that they have come to know and love.
“We want to diminish, but not eliminate, the need for a high-powered pit crew which comes at a high cost,” said Tim Bryant, Five Flags Speedway General Manager and Promoter of the Snowball Derby. “Last year a bunch of teams up and down pit road had hired guys that came in on Sunday and that’s an expense we would like to see go away. It’s still going to take the same amount of guys to change two tires; we know that, so there will still be some hired guys down there, but this will allow the smaller teams that want to use their Saturday night crews an opportunity to stay at a more competitive level.
“We’ve polled a few of the ‘Saturday night’ crews and they feel like they would have a better shot at being competitive on pit road. Plus it’s possible that the Saturday night crews can pull off the stop of a lifetime late in the race and it’s more likely that they do that on a two-tire stop than on a four-tire stop. Also, teams now have the option to play out some other strategies, like getting two tires and maintaining track position as opposed to getting two tires and going out and coming back in to get the other two.”
In the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100, an expansion of a formula that has worked throughout the season at Five Flags for the Pro Late Model division will be continued. Cars that transfer from time trials on Saturday, December 3rd will be impounded for the race later that evening.
“We started impounding our Pro Late Model cars down here this year and got a really good response from the drivers,” added Bryant. “In the beginning we didn’t intend on making it a permanent thing, but the teams seem to like it. We feel like it maybe saves teams a little bit of money in terms of they don’t have to go out and make so many mock qualifying runs. They can work on their race setup from the time they get here because that’s what they’re going to qualify with.”
The 44th Annual Snowball Derby kicks off on Wednesday, November 30th with the Cat Country/WEAR TV3 Green Flag Party. As the teams unload and begin the tech process, fans from 5pm to 9pm can meet the drivers and see the cars that will compete during Snowball Derby Weekend. The first on-track activity comes on Thursday, as practice for the Super and Pro Late Models commence. Later that evening, qualifying and feature action for the Five Flags Speedway Bomber and Sportsmen divisions will take place.
On Friday, December 2nd, it’s WXBM Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday’s 300-lap feature. More practice for the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 cars will take place, as well as a full card of Super Stock and Modified action.
Then on Saturday, December 3rd, it’s the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 time trials, qualifying races and the 100-lap feature, plus final practice for the Snowball Derby cars and a 50-lap last-chance qualifying race for the Snowball Derby.
Finally, the 44th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 4th at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
Tickets and reserved camping spots are still available, but going fast. To order tickets or to reserve a camping spot, call the Five Flags Speedway box office at (850) 944-8400.
For more information about Five Flags Speedway and the 44th Annual Snowball Derby weekend, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com, www.snowballderby.com or contact the track by calling (850) 944-8400.