This 45th Snowball Derby could prove quiet interesting as locals like Milton's Wayne Niedecken, Augie Grill, Mike Garvey and others could be left in the shadows of some NASCAR names doing battle on the track.
One name who should draw quite a bit of interest to race fans is Nelson Piquet, Jr., the former Formula-1 and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, has been tabbed to replace Aric Almirola.
Almirola, who was entered to drive next week, has pulled out due to a death in his family, according to Five Flags Speedway General Manager Tim Bryant.
The other twist could result from the Camping World Truck Series finale at Miami-Homestead Speedway, where Cale Gale notched his first win after crowding Kyle Busch into the wall coming out of turn four.
Gale and Busch are both entered in this year's field and could provide their fair share of fireworks.
"We could see some excitement between Kyle and Cale after the truck race in Miami," Bryant said. "But we are just as excited to have Nelson Piquet, Jr., in the field as he is the first Formula-1 driver ever to race in Pensacola."
Bryant said the entry list is still fluctuating, but they had over 100 cars at last week's test session.
Besides the NASCAR series drivers on the entry list, defending champion Chase Elliott is in the field as is former champion and NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Johanna Long and Steve Wallace.
Past champions like former NASCAR drivers Pete Hamilton, Donnie Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Gary Balough, Butch Lindley, Jody Ridley, Butch Miller, Ted Musgrave, Rick Crawford, Rich Bickle, Jr., Tammy Jo Kirk, and Jeff Purvis, add to the mistique of the Snowball Derby.
"When you say you have won the Snowball Derby or you have had a strong finish in the race it serves as something to note," Bryant said. "This race has a built in reputation for Super Late Model Drivers and it gives the drivers a sense of accomplishment.
"By winning or finishing well in this race it shows others that they are no fluke."
Tickets for the Snowball Derby will be $15 on Thursday, $20 on Friday, $30 on the night of the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, and $40 on the day of the 45th annual Snowball Derby, which is set to begin at 2 p.m.
For more information on the Snowball Derby go to www.snowballderby.com or call 944-8400.
Schedule of Events
Wednesday Nov 28th
5-9 p.m. Cat Country/WEAR TV3
Free Green Flag Party
Autographs, Food, Beverages, Live Music
Chili for Charity by Print Now
Red Bull Snowflake and Snowball Qualifying Draw
Thursday Nov 29th
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Snowball /Snowflake Practice
5 - 6 p.m. Bomber & Sportsmen Practice
6:15 p.m. Bomber & Sportsmen Quals (top 20)
8 p.m. Bomber & SP B Main 10 Laps (transfer 4)
Butler U-Pull-It Bomber 30 Green Laps
West Florida Coatings Sportsmen 50 Green Laps
Friday Nov 30th
WXBM Pole Night
10 a.m. Snowball & Snowflake Practice
11 a.m. Super Stock Practice
11:45 a.m. Modified Practice
1 p.m. Snowball Practice
2 p.m. Snowflake Only Practice
3 p.m. Qualifying for Super Stocks and Modifieds
6 p.m. WXBM Pole Position Snowball Qualifying.
7:45 p.m. Pre Race Festivities
8 p.m. SS & Mods B Mains if necessary
Super Stock 50
Saturday Dec 1st
10 - 11:30 a.m. Snowflake Only Practice
11:30 - 1 p.m. Snowball Only Practice
2 p.m. Snowflake Qualifying
4 p.m. Snowball Qualifier 50 laps, (4 transfer)
5 p.m. Snowflake Qualifier 50 Laps, (4 transfer)
6:45 p.m. Snowflake Drivers Intro
7 p.m. Allen Turner Snowflake 100
Sunday Dec 2nd
12 p.m. Engine Warm Ups, Cars to Grid
1 p.m. Drivers Introduction and
Pre Race Festivities
2 p.m. Snowball Derby 300