Monday, December 31, 2018

Thank You, 2018 - It’s Time to Roll the Credits on a Great Year

Noah Gragson Winning the 51st Annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, FL (PixelatedSPEED Photo)

PENSACOLA, Florida -- Wow. What a wild ride these past few months have been. In August, I relaunched PixelatedSPEED to give myself a place to share my perspective on the motorsports world. It was only meant to be a simple blog, but already, has grown into something far beyond what I had imagined. I am so very thankful, and truly humbled to share that in the time spanning from August thru December, PixealatedSPEED has amassed over 250,000 views.

In order to get to this point, I have been very fortunate to have help from a huge network of supporters, family and friends. I have a lot of people to thank.

First and foremost I thank you, the reader and viewer. It’s your eyeballs on this content that really keep things going. It’s the interaction in the comments that keep the conversation alive, and spark ideas and thought about the sport that we all love so much.

Thank you to Tim and Pat Bryant. They have always backed my endeavors, and without them would have never been afforded any of the opportunities that has led me to today. Also, a huge shout-out to the crew at Speed51.com. It was a blast working around and among them during this year’s Snowball Derby.

While at the Derby, there were a few key people that were vital to me being able find my way among the chaos.

Thank you Eddie Richie of Turn 1 Photos. He and I worked side-by-side throughout both weeks at Five Flags Speedway. We braved the elements during the “Derby Monsoon of 2018” and captured a ton of great moments and memories. I look forward to working with Eddie more in 2019 at tracks across the Deep South.

Thank you Jacob Seelman of Speed Sport News, Bruce Nuttleman of Ultimate Lap Photo, Brad Newman of Short Track Central, and Tyler Sontag of Speedracer Photos. They all provided me with tips and hints along the way that made PixelatedSPEED’s content shine even as the rain continued to pour.

Thank you to my good friend and colleague, Matt Weaver of Short Track Scene. For years, he’s been an inspiration to me, proving that a guy from the Deep South can get it done and make it. He provided me with insights, advice, and severed as a check and balance for myself and my content. He let me tag along with him like a puppy dog as I found my footing during the week, and continues to do so today. Thank you, buddy. Without you I am sure that this project would not be as far along today.

It’s no secret that PixelatedSPEED is a social media driven platform. Once the content is created, its spread across social media through a network of administrators in order to find the viewers and readers. Without this distribution, PixelatedSPEED would be be mired in the noise of meme’s, food posts and political nonsense that has saturated the Internet. Thank you to everyone that has afforded me distribution channels.

Most Notably:

Ryan Holman, The Motorsports Aficionados
Robert Mesich, Unforgettable NASCAR
Matthew Correll, Everything Racing
Johnny Dickson, Racers of 5 Flags & Racers of Mobile International Speedway
Bobby Foster, Southeastern Racing Memories
Mike Perricone, NASCAR and Other Racing

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank my family. Mom, Dad, thank you for always supporting my projects and helping me in whatever ways you can.

I’m sure I’ve missed some names, but please know that I really am thankful to everyone that has helped me along the way.

2018 was a great start for PixelatedSPEED. It provided a trial run for next year, which is set to be rather epic. I intend to continue to write about the sport as I see it, with honesty and integrity. I hope to provide a balanced perspective that highlights all the things that I love about the motorsports world, and I hope that you all continue to follow along with me in this journey. Thank you again, everyone. Goodbye 2018, it’s been a great one... on to 2019!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Mobile Announces Schedule Putting Focus on Local Divisions

Mobile International Speedway is entering it's 55th year of racing in 2019. (Speed51.com Photo)

IRVINGTON, Alabama -- Mobile International Speedway has announced a 2019 racing schedule that will put the spotlight on what the backbone of any short track should be: local division racing. For the first time in decades, there are no late models shows on the season schedule. There are, however, 16 weekends planned from March through November showcasing a very diverse crop of racing classes.

It’s no secret that attendance and car counts have been down at Mobile in recent years. In an effort to rectify that trend, this year’s schedule has put an emphasis on rebuilding the weekly local classes in lieu of hosting larger touring events across the span of the season.

“We want to turn that around,” said Mobile Speedway Promoter Kody Lyons. “We want to push to get it back to stronger numbers in each class.”

This year’s schedule will feature the entry level Pure Stocks and Sportsman coupled with the intermediate and more advanced Outlaw Stock and Pro Truck divisions. The asphalt winged Sprint Cars will be back, plus the return of a local Modified division, premiering on the April 20th race weekend.

“The schedule isn’t fully complete,” Lyons added. “It still won’t have any late models on it because we want to shift our focus toward the local divisions which have suffered these past few years on the Gulf Coast with car counts dropping.”

The season kicks off with the return of Bandit Big Rig Series, who will hold their season opener at Mobile on March 23rd. The Bandits came to Mobile in full force in 2018 and proved to produce a very entertaining show.

“We had the Bandit Series for the first time last night at Mobile,” said an excited fan giving a five star review of the event last March. “They DID NOT disappoint! They put on a heck of a show, and the drivers and crews were some of the nicest people I have ever met. I hope to see them back next year.”

Also announced on the schedule is the addition of a new event to Mobile Speedway. The Southern Pro Truck Nationals. Sanctioned by the Southern Pro Am Truck Series, this event is to be held in Irvington on May 25th. Pure Stocks and Sportsman will be the support classes on that weekend.

The Mobile 300 will continue in 2019. The inaugural Mobile 300 served as the season finale of the 2018 Southern Super Series, with Stephen Nasse emerging the victor. For 2019, there will be no late models on the Mobile 300 agenda, however, all six racing divisions will be featured over the two day event on November 1st and 2nd.

2019 Mobile International Speedway Schedule:

March 23 -- Bandit Big Rig Series
March 30 -- Opening Night: Sprints, Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
April 6 -- Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
April 20 -- Sprints, Modifieds, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
May 4 -- Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
May 18 -- Sprints, Modifieds, Outlaws, Sportsman, Pure Stock
May 25 -- Southern Pro Truck Nationals: Southern Pro Am Truck Series, Sportsman, Pure Stock
June 1 -- Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
June 15 -- Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
June 29 -- Sprints, Modifieds, Outlaws, Sportsman, Pure Stock
July 13 -- Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
July 27 -- Sprints, Modifieds, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
August 10 -- Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
August 24 -- Sprints, Modifieds, Outlaws, Sportsman, Pure Stock
September 7 -- Championship Night: Sprints, Modifieds, Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock
October 9 -- Mobile 300 Open Practice
November 1-2 -- 2nd Annual Mobile 300: Sprints, Modifieds, Outlaws, Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stock

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Five Flags Speedway Releases 2019 Racing Schedule

Five Flags Speedway will be very busy in 2019. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)

PENSACOLA, Florida -- Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida is the crown jewel of short track racing in the Deep South. It’s the home of the Southern Super Series, the South’s largest touring late model series, and the granddaddy of all Super Late Model races, the Snowball Derby. Five Flags has released a jam-packed schedule of racing for 2019, with events ranging from a 4-cylinder based enduro at the start of the year, to the national touring ARCA Racing Series, to drifting events, sprint cars and of course… tons of Pro and Super Late Model racing. The season starts early, January 19th, 2019, and stretches all the way through to December, including over 15 weekends of racing.

Five Flags Speedway sits on the pole of the racing season, holding the first event in the area on January 19th, 2019… The Sweat Hogg Grand Prix. This event features several classes of motorcycles racing in the morning with four cylinder Mini-Stocks running in the evening. For this event, Five Flags transforms from a half-mile oval to a slightly longer, slightly more twisted, road course! This is one of the only events of this type in the area, and always draws a nice crowd. It’s intended for the budget-minded racer, and the day is set to be a fun-filled family event.

On March 9th, ARCA pays a visit to Pensacola for round number two of the 2019 ARCA Racing Series. It’s the first time since 1996 that the series will race at Five Flags Speedway; a race won by champion Frank Kimmel. This race will also serve as the start of the Speedway’s points season, with Pure Stock and Outlaw Stock divisions also on the schedule, making this the biggest opening weekend in Five Flags history.

The road to the Snowball Derby is paved through Five Flags Speedway’s flagship division, the Super Late Model Blizzard Series. The Blizzard Series will have four dates on the schedule, with the first on March 29th. Casey Roderick is the reigning Blizzard Series Champion after besting another hotshoe in Bubba Pollard. Look for complete coverage of the Blizzard Series here on PixelatedSPEED.com.

The fastest cars on the schedule come in the form of the winged sprint cars of the Davey Hamilton King of the Wing National Sprint Car Series, returning to the Speedway on April 12th. Brian Gerster, with a time of 13.046 seconds, holds the overall track record. He recorded that time in April of 2014. For reference, Ty Majeski holds the Super Late Model track record with his 2015 Snowball Derby Pole Time of 16.120 seconds.

The Allen Turner Pro Late Models once again return for another season with four dates on the schedule, beginning on April 26th. These 100 lap events pave the way to the 21st Annual Snowflake 100 in December. Casey Roderick doubled down his Blizzard Series Championship with the Pro Late Model Division title in 2018.

The ground pounders of the South, the Modifieds of Mayhem will race on three weekends at Five Flags during their 2019 tour. The first stop is on April 26th, 2019. Once again, Five Flags Speedway will play host to the modifieds season finale as a part of Snowball Derby Weekend in December, the only division to have a points paying event during the Derby.

The backbone of any short track is the local racing divisions. Five Flags Speedway will once again present a myriad of classes throughout the racing season. Pure Stocks and Sportsman are coming closer together as a new rules package has tightened the gap between the two entry level divisions. Outlaw Stocks and Pro Trucks will headline several weekends on the schedule, providing a healthy dose of affordable, yet very competitive racing in two of the most popular classes in the region.

Additionally, various special events will be sprinkled across the year. The “average Joe” will have an opportunity to climb behind the wheel of a racecar when the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience visits on March 16th. An Electronathon will feature electric power racers around the high-banked half-mile on April 27th. More events, such as drifting competitions, cars shows, and swap meets will be announced later in the year.

The culmination of every racing season at Five Flags Speedway is the Snowball Derby. The 52nd Annual Snowball Derby is set for December 4th thru 8th, and of course, PixealatedSPEED will be there with complete Pixels 2 Pavement coverage of the event.

2019 Five Flags Speedway Racing Schedule

January 19
Sweat Hogg Grand Prix
Motorcycles, Four Cylinder Cars
March 9*
ARCA Racing Series 200
Outlaw Stock, Pure Stock
March 29
Blizzard Series Super Late Models
Pro Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stocks
April 12
Davey Hamliton’s King of the Wing Sprint Cars
Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman, Pure Stocks
April 26
Allen Turner Pro Late Models
Modifieds of Mayhem, Pro Trucks, Pure Stocks
April 27*
Electronathon
Electric Powered Racers
May 10
Outlaw Stocks, Pro Trucks
Sportsman, Pure Stocks
May 24
Outlaw Stocks, Pro Trucks
Sportsman, Pure Stocks
June 7
Allen Turner Pro Late Models
Sportsman, Pure Stocks
June 21
Blizzard Series Super Late Models
Outlaw Stocks, Pro Trucks, Pure Stocks
July 19
Blizzard Series Super Late Models
Pro Trucks, Sportsman, Pure Stocks
August 2
Demolition Derby Night
Modifieds of Mayhem, Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman
August 16
Allen Turner Pro Late Models
Outlaw Stocks, Pro Trucks, Pure Stocks
August 31*
TBA
To Be Announced
September 14*
Local Division Championship Night
Outlaw Stocks, Pro Trucks, Pure Stocks
September 21*
Blizzard Series Super Late Models
Allen Turner Pro Late Models
November 23
Snowball Derby Preview
Official Open Test - All Classes
December 4-8
52nd Annual Snowball Derby
Modifieds of Mayhem Season Finale
*Saturday Event.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Sunny South Raceway Releases 2019 Racing Schedule

The Legends Cars are the top division at Sunny South Raceway (Photo: Shutterbug Photography Studio & Graphics)


GRAND BAY, Alabama -- Just Southwest of Mobile sits one of the South’s little gems of racing. Sunny South Raceway, in Grand Bay, Alabama, is the region’s home for Legends, Bandoleros, and Asphalt Champ Kart racing among other beginner and budget-minded classes. With a heavy focus on younger competitors, Sunny South continues to shine as a breeding ground of talent for the racer of tomorrow.

Sunny South Raceway has released their tentative 2019 racing schedule. Included is a plate of 16 dates spanning from March through October on an every-other Saturday cycle. Racing begins on March 16th, 2019.

Five categories of cars will compete across seven or more classes throughout the season. There is a division for every age ranging from the 4 to 8 year old Mighty Mite Junior Champ Kart class, with bigger kids in the Bandoleros and Pro Challenge classes, and adults in Legends and Mini-Stocks.

There will be a special double-header weekend of racing on July 5th and 6th, with July 6th serving as an INEX National Qualifying Event for the Bandolero and Legends Car divisions.

Saturday, December 29th, 2018 will see the first chance for drivers to hit the track as the raceway will hold the first of several open practice days leading up to the start of the season.

UPDATE: The practice day scheduled for December 29th has been pushed to January 5th due inclement weather conditions on the Gulf Coast.

For complete details and information about division rules, ticket prices and more, visit the raceway’s website, sunnysouthraceway.org, follow the raceway on Facebook, or give Sunny South Raceway a call at 251-865-9055.

2019 Sunny South Raceway Schedule:


March 16
July 5
March 30
July 6*
April 6
July 20
April 20
August 3
May 11
August 17
May 25
September 7
June 8
September 28
June 22
October 5

*INEX National Qualifier for Bandolero and Legends Cars Divisions.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Montgomery Motor Speedway Releases 2019 Schedule

The 2019 Show Me the Money Series highlights a busy 2019 Montgomery schedule. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Montgomery Motor Speedway has released its 2019 racing schedule. The schedule consists of 13 race weekends spanning from March to September. The track’s premiere event, the Alabama 200, moves from the end of the year to the beginning setting a foundation for a season that will also see six races for the venue’s signature “Show Me the Money” Pro Late Model Series.

The aforementioned Alabama 200 kicks off the 2019 “Show Me the Money” season on March 2nd, 2019. The track will be open for testing the day prior, but track officials have announced that no other pre race testing for this event will be allowed. Stay tuned to PixelatedSPEED for details on the full event schedule and more as the Alabama 200 will be included as a stop on the PixelatedSPEED Pixels to Pavement Tour for 2019. This race weekend will also include the Modifieds of Mayhem and a special school bus race.

The Southern Super Series pays a visit to Montgomery on July 6th, 2019 with the Rumble by the River 125. Montgomery Motor Speedway is one of the founding tracks of the Southern Super Series, the premiere Super Late Model touring series in the South.

In addition to the March date in association with the Alabama 200, the Modifieds of Mayhem will hit the historic speedway three times in 2019; March 2nd, June 22nd, and August 31st.

Also on the schedule, visits from the King of the Wing Sprint Cars, the Southern Pro Am Truck Series, and a special fan favorite Demolition Derby night.

Throughout the season, event weekends will include the backbone of any successful short track, the local divisions. Late Model Sportsman, Street Stocks, Modified Minis, Road Runners, Pure Stocks, and Outlaw Stocks will fill out a jam-packed racing schedule.

For complete details on all events, ticket prices, and other information, contact Montgomery Motor Speedway online at montgomerymotorspeedway.org, on social via Facebook, or call the speedway at (334) 262-6101.

2019 Montgomery Motor Speedway Schedule:

March 2 - Alabama 200
March 23 - Montgomery Motor Speedway Regular Season Opener
April 6 - Spring Explosion 100 (Show Me the Money)
April 13 - King of the Wing Sprint Cars
May 11 - Show Me the Money Series Meet the Drivers Night
May 25 - Demolition Derby Night
June 8 - Mid-Summer Clash 100 (Show Me the Money) plus Southern Pro Am Trucks
June 22 - Mayhem MASH (Modifieds of Mayhem)
July 6 - Rumble by the River 125 (Southern Super Series)
July 20 - Kids Bike Night
August 3 - Saturday of Speed 125 (Show Me the Money)
August 31 - Champions Weekend
September 28 - Show Me the Money Season Finale

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas from PixelatedSPEED

Jack Dossey III at speed around Five Flags Speedway during the 51st Snowball Derby (PixelatedSPEED Photo)
Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. No matter who you are or where you are from, just know that I have truly appreciated all of your support this holiday season. Without your support, this venture would not be possible. Thanks!

Over on the PixelatedSPEED Facebook Page I’ve left a special gift; the 1995 Snowball Derby, in its entirety for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Best in Show: Snowflake 100 - Jackson Boone

Jackson Boone - 2018 PixelatedSPEED Best in Show: Snowflake 100 (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


Nashville racer Jackson Boone traded is normal black and blue paint scheme for something a little more festive at this year’s Snowball Derby. Entering his number 7 Boone Racing Pro Late Model into the 20th Annual Snowflake 100, Boone’s car was wearing the popular “ugly sweater” motif. The car had a base of black and was covered with “stitched” snowflakes in red along the bottom third of the car, and snowmen, Santa, and gingerbread men adorning the second third.

This, of course isn’t the first time an ugly sweater themed car has been to Pensacola. Back in 2014, Tim Horvath of Horvath Designs wrapped the car driven by Ross Kenseth in a heavily themed ugly sweater machine. That car won the Best Appearing Car Award for 2014.

This year, Boone’s car looked the part all week long, but unfortunately didn’t last the entire 100 laps of the Snowflake 100. In a race covered with cautions, Boone found himself among the chaos, losing the nose of his machine, ultimately finishing the race in 24th.

Still, Boone’s car was one of the best looking of all the late models this year, and definitely deserving of the PixelatedSPEED Best in Show: Snowflake 100 Award.

Jackson Boone's car was less than pristine by the end of the Snowflake 100 (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


Monday, December 17, 2018

Hocevar and Davidson Round Out Snowflake Top Five

Hocevar being interviewed by Speed51.com prior to Snowball Derby Qualifying (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


While most of the focus in the 20th Annual Snowflake 100 was set firmly on the battle for the lead, two drivers held strong among the leaders all night to solidify a respectable top five in the country’s biggest Pro Late Model Event.

Carson Hocevar didn’t get the result he was seeking in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby; hell, he didn’t even finish after contact early in the event relegated him to a 35th place finish. Come the next weekend at the Snowflake 100, however, the Michigan driver was among the favorites.

Hocevar was solid in practice throughout Derby week and looked to be true contender come race time. His efforts paid off with a solid run in the 100 lapper, though he was left looking for more.

“We had a really good car,” he said after the race. “We just couldn’t fire off like those guys up front did.”

“We needed a longer run to get us going forward, and that never happened with all the crashes.”

“What are you going to do?,” he added with a shrug. “We’ll be back and get it next time.”

Chris Davidson is perhaps one of the chillest dudes in the pit area. Throughout the long a gloomy day at Five Flags Speedway, the Texas native took everything in stride and with a grain of salt.

Davidson’s Snowball Derby didn’t go as planned, with a disappointing 31st place finish. In the Snowflake 100, however, he came alive and held strong throughout all of the carnage to pick up a solid fifth place result.

“It was rough,” he said. “It was more like a demolition derby than a race. All and all though not bad because we finished and a whole bunch of them look a lot worse than us.”

Hocevar and Davidson were among 12 cars to finish a Snowflake 100 that began a week late and after misting weather caused a delay which resulted in the cancelation of qualifying. During the race, track officials fought to keep the track in a raceable condition as teams fought each other. There were numerous multi-car incidents that prolonged the race significantly.

I asked Davidson if he thought that the race should’ve been shortened, or postponed due to the persistent misting conditions.

He said, “Oh hell no!. The track was dry, let’s line them up and race!”

That was a prevailing sentiment throughout the field. The 2018 edition of the Snowflake 100 was won by Chase Purdy, with Bubba Pollard in second, Connor Okrzesik in third, Carson Hocevar in fourth and Chris Davidson in fifth.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chase Purdy Wins Wet and Wild Snowflake 100

Chase Purdy in victory lane at the Snowflake 100. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


Chase Purdy, the 19-year old from Meridian, Mississippi, won the 20th Annual Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on Sunday, December 9th, 2018.

The start of the race was delayed multiple times due to bad weather, a common theme in this year’s Derby. Once the race was underway, a slew of multi-car accidents stunted the pace of the event. Bubba Pollard and Casey Roderick led the early laps, but Purdy took the lead on lap 36 of the 100 lap event, and never looked back.

“A lot of guys took off early,” Purdy told Speed51.com. “I let them go and do their own thing for a little bit. Once I got control of the race and was the leader, I controlled the pace and I knew I could keep a faster pace. That’s what I did. With about 20 to go, I just pulled the trigger.”

This was Purdy’s first win in Pensacola, coming at time with his future up in the air.

“It’s surreal,” Purdy said to PixelatedSPEED following the race. “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing next year, but this is going to a huge factor in those decisions. If this is my last race, then what a way to go out.”

In a race that saw a deluge of crashes in its first half, Purdy credits his team, and spotter, for helping him get the win. When asked what it took to make it through the chaos of the weather conditions, and carnage, he said that it was about staying sane mentally, and hard work.

“I’m really proud of my Anthony Campi Racing guys,” he said. “It’s just a really cool moment for me and really glad these guys got this. It’s really big for me and the team.”

“Shout out to Brandon Lines. He’s kind of the whole package. He’s more than just a spotter, he’s a coach and did a hell of a job tonight.”

When asked why he races at Five Flags, with a smile from ear to ear, Purdy replied, “I love this place.”

“I think this place is awesome,” he continued. “It’s a great venue. It’s a big show. Everybody knows what the Snowball Derby is and the Snowflake is a huge event too, and it’s just really awesome to be here.”

“I learned a lot,” he added. “I got to race with some of the best of the best. It’s a really cool moment for me and all the guys. I love this place.”

This edition of the Snowflake 100 had some pretty big firsts. For the first time in event history, weather forced the postponement of the race from its traditional date on the Saturday before the Snowball Derby. Moving forward one week, the race was again postponed; from Saturday to Sunday - marking the first time that the Flake would be run on a Sunday.

Most of the teams returned to the Panhandle on Sunday to contest the most prestigious Pro Late Model race in the country. Some notables that did not make the trip back included Derek Thorn, Jeff Choquette, Stephen Nasse, and Corey Heim.

The Modifieds of Mayhem started the day’s racing action. The caution-filled feature was cut four laps short of the scheduled 75 lap distance after a violent crash involving Billy Melvin and Jason Morman. Both drivers were taken to the hospital with injuries, with Melvin suffering from multiple broken bones requiring multiple surgeries. Augie Grill was credited with the win in the Modified feature after having the dominant car in that race.

After the Modified’s race, the mist rolled into Pensacola, ultimately scrubbing Snowflake 100 qualifying, causing the field to be set by the practice session held earlier in the day; this put Connor Orkresik on the pole.

The mist lingered the entire evening, causing caution periods to be extended in an effort to keep the track in a raceable condition. The uncertainty brought by the weather, also brought an added element of haste by many drivers further back in the field as the threat of a shortened race also shortened their patience.

That lack of patience resulted in a lot of torn up race cars, leaving many drivers angry; some even in tears.

The first half of the race had eight cautions, which led to only 12 of the 31 car field finishing the event.

Ironically, the Pro Truck feature closed the night by going flag-to-flag, caution free. Josh Hicks passed polesitter Steven Davis on lap 47 of the 50 lap race to pick up the win.

Official Results of the 20th Annual Snowflake 100:


  1. Chase Purdy
  2. Bubba Pollard
  3. Connor Okrzesik
  4. Carson Hocevar
  5. Chris Davidson
  6. Casey Roderick
  7. Ryan Paul
  8. Johanna Long
  9. JoJo Wilkinson
  10. Jake Garcia
  11. Trever McCoy
  12. Kyle Ivey
  13. Brandon Curren
  14. Augie Grill
  15. Tyler Porter
  16. Stacey Crain
  17. Spencer Davis
  18. Mason Diaz
  19. Dillon Oliver
  20. Justin South
  21. Mason Keller
  22. Perry Patino
  23. Dylan Smith
  24. Jackson Boone
  25. Dylan Fetcho
  26. Martin Latulippe
  27. Colt James
  28. Bobby Knox Jr.
  29. Jarrett Parker
  30. Elliott Massey
  31. Ryan Worsham


Saturday, December 8, 2018

How to Watch the 20th Annual Snowflake 100

PixelatedSPEED Photo


After the monsoon of 2018 hit Snowball Derby weekend last Saturday, causing the postponement of the Modifieds of Mayhem, Pro Trucks and Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models, the time has finally come to get this show on the road.

Sunday, December 9th, 2018, Five Flags Speedway hosts the 20th Annual Snowflake 100 in Pensacola, FL. The day looks to be jam packed from the opening of the pit gates through to the closing of the tech shed after the day’s final racing action has ended.

Schedule of Events:

8:00 - Pits Open
11:00 - Driver’s Meeting
12:00 - 12:15 - Modified Practice
12:15 - 12:45 - Snowflake Practice
12:45 - 1:30 - Pro Truck Practice
2:00 - Modifieds of Mayhem 75 lap feature
- Snowflake Qualifying
- Snowflake Last Chance Race
- Pro Truck Qualifying
- Pre Race Ceremonies
- 20th ANNUAL SNOWFLAKE 100
- Pro Truck 50 lap feature

For those that plan on attending the races in person, Five Flags Speedway addressed a number of frequently asked questions associated with the amended schedule.

Personal Vehicles in the Pits:

At this time, there will be no personal vehicles allowed in pits on Sunday, just like last Saturday would have been. Haulers will be parked strategically to allow best possible visibility from the grandstands. We anticipate today’s rain (on Sunday, December 8th) to limit parking areas in pit area. ATVs for race teams only.

Armbands:

Anyone still wearing armband from last weekend will be allowed direct pit access. For those not wearing armbands, you can trade last weeks armband for new armband and resign release and waiver form.

Tickets:

Tickets punched with "Mickey Mouse ears" will be granted entrance to grandstands. Tickets punched with "gun" was a Sunday only ticket, and will not be good for entrance this week.
It is important to note, that if you are sitting on a numbered seat, first rights to that seat go to person holding ticket. Simply relocate to different seat.

VIP ticket holders will be required to have both ticket and armband.

General Admission for Sunday $30 adults $5 under 12
Pit passes $40

Reserved Parking:

Reserved parking area will be in same spot as before for those with parking pass. We anticipate an ample amount of free parking on ground for those without pass. There will be no shuttle from fairgrounds unless parking lot becomes full.

Apparel vendors and scanner trailer will be on site.

Pay Per View:

While the best way to experience racing of this caliber is in person, you can still take in all the action via pay per view by Speed51.com.

Pay per view video tickets can be purchased here. Speed51.com will be honoring all applicable purchased video tickets from last week as well.

Additional information on all the broadcast info can be found here.

Editor’s Note: I understand that there will still be questions for many of you, but please understand that I can only verify the information that I’ve been provided by Five Flags Speedway and Speed51.com. Please direct further questions to them as needed.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Bubba Pollard Takes PixelatedSPEED Best in Show

Bubba Pollard's Super Late Model at speed during Snowball Derby practice. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


Bubba Pollard brought a brand new car to contest in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, FL. Much like last year, the paint scheme on the Harrison’s Workwear Ford Fusion is striking, and has turned heads all week.

For last year’s 50th Annual Snowball Derby, Pollard debuted this scheme, featuring mirrored gold accents with sharp graphics. The scheme was my favorite last year, and with this year’s iteration is once again an eye turner.

Featuring the same base aesthetic, the main difference in this year’s scheme is the replacement of the mirrored gold accents with bright, neon orange instead. It’s eye popping, and hard to miss from anywhere at Five Flags Speedway.

For that reason, Pollard is the first recipient of the PixelatedSPEED Best in Show Award.

What paint schemes do you think looked the best at this year’s Derby?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Derby Days: Sunday is Derby Day

Noah Gragson, in a plume of smoke after a victory burnout, celebrates winning the Snowball Derby. (PixelatedSPEED Photo) 


Sunday is Derby Day. After an intense week of practice, support division features, and a monsoon, the time finally came. The 51st Annual Snowball Derby was set to go!

Well, almost. The day started with lingering wet conditions from the previous night’s storms. As the track officials continued to facilitate drying efforts, Derby Day began to roll.

That started with the Driver’s Meeting. Tim Bryant, Dan Spence and others took their turns giving their speel about how the day would be run. As that went on, I snapped as many candids of drivers and crew members in the crowd as I could.

After the driver’s meeting, I met up with fellow photographer Brad Newman. I wanted to take my own “class photo” on the backstretch as a keepsake of the weekend. Since PixelatedSPEED doesn’t have a fancy logo painted on the wall like a certain other media outlet, we both took a turn posing in front of the “Five Flags Speedway” lettering on the backstretch.

Once we got the class photo done, I began working pit road, taking candids and chatting with various people. I also got some journalism out of the way, interviewing a handful of drivers and posting the subsequent stories.

After the Saturday postponement, the Snowball Derby Last Chance Qualifier was moved to noon on Sunday. That start, however, was pushed further still by the continuing wetness left by the previous storms.

With nothing else better to do, and a very long day ahead, I grabbed some pizza from the concession and had lunch with Mr. Dave Pavlock, track announcing legend.

Then I met up with some friends from South Alabama Speedway… oh… did I mention that PixelatedSPEED is planning on attending the 2019 running of The Rattler? Yeah, that’s going to be a thing.

Roughly 45 minutes to an hour later than planned, the track was ready for action. The last chance cars made their way onto the speedway for a 30 lap dash to see who the final four drivers to transfer into the Snowball Derby would be.

Steve Wallace didn’t even get to take the green flag, as a mechanical issue sidelined him during the pace laps. The race itself proved, as usual, to be a crash fest, wiping out several cars before race’s end. Yes, I wanted to get good shots of the LCQ because it’s race, but I mainly used it as a raceday practice session for myself.

As the last chance race drew to a close, the field of Snowball Derby cars were pushed onto pit road.

Finally, the time had come. Pre-race ceremonies were underway. I got a few shots, but chose to forego the Derby class photo and introductions. Instead, I spent this time chatting with Wayne Okrzesik and some close friends that were in attendance. I also talked a little business with my colleague Brad Newman.

The race itself was pretty straight forward from my point of view. I’ll save the details of the actual racing for other articles, and focus on a couple of experiences I had.

I started on the frontstretch at the green flag, and slowly made my way around the infield, taking car shots and candids along the way. I go the opposite way of the traffic so I can pay closer attention to what’s coming at my on pit road. I’d rather not get run over.

Not long after I made it to the middle of turns one and two, the track started coming up. I guess the water did a little more damage to the track surface than what had been thought. Inevitably, this caused a yellow, and the track crew spent several laps filling in the pothole with asphalt. I didn’t think it’d last, but it did… some how.

I continued to make laps around the speedway, shooting cars, fans, pit road, the infield, and even some shots into the stands. I stopped periodically to check the standings, and checked with a few crews after accidents or other issues. Typical pit road journalism.

As the evening turned into night, and the laps drew down, I switched to flash photography, the area of photography I am worst at. I kept practicing, knowing that most of the shots I took were not going to be useful. Still, I prepared to get the best shot I could of the winning car crossing the finish line.

At some point, for some reason, I looked down and noticed that the diffuser on my flash was down. I flipped it up and wouldn’t you know it… my photos instantly got better. Just goes to show that I have a long, long way to go with this stuff. I reset myself, now knowing I could get a better shot, and got it! Given the lens I had, and the knowledge I had, I thought it was a pretty nice shot of Noah Gragson crossing the line.

After he took the checkered flag, Gragson did a burnout on the frontstretch, climbed out, and then climbed the fence! It was awesome, but I was in the path of the smoke. I didn’t get clear shots. I’ll have to work on them a little to get the good out of them.

Then we lined up for victory lane photos… doing the hat dance and such.

It was during this time that what I’m sure will become a long told story in the years to come occured. Noah Gragson went in to kiss Miss Snowball Derby, Helena Ciappina. At first, she turned away. After a couple of seconds, and with a smile, they kissed. No big deal from my perspective, but that didn’t stop a flood of negativity on social media the following day from it. Especially considering that Noah and Helena talked a great length about an hour later outside the tech inspection area, with Noah coming away with Miss Snowball Derby’s phone number! Oh yeah, I was standing right there for that too.

Speaking of tech. Technical inspection took a while, as it always does, but on this day it was perhaps the smoothest post Derby tech I’ve ever witnessed. While the crews tore down the machines for inspectors Ricky Brooks, Nick Rogers and the rest of the Room of Doom, I gathered interviews from the top three drivers, and chatted with others in the area about the night’s events.

After all was said and done, and no issues at all in tech inspection, the night had finally come to a close. The 51st Annual Snowball Derby was in the books. Time to wrap things up, head home and sleep well.

Unlike every other year, this year Derby Week doesn’t end on Sunday. After the postponement of the Snowflake 100, Derby Week is kind of morphing into Flake Week as the postponed Flake, and two support races will be held on Saturday, December 8th.  So that means there is one more weekend of racing coming, and I suppose a few more Derby Days to go.

Noah Gragson Wins Historic 51st Snowball Derby

Noah Gragson celebrates winning the 51st Snowball Derby (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


“Why not the Snowball Derby? It’s the biggest in the country! Best drivers, it’s a long race and the coolest trophy.”

Those are the words of a very happy Noah Gragson after winning the 51st Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on Sunday, December 2, 2018.

Gragson, in his final race driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, beat Ty Majeski and Jeff Choquette on the final restart with six laps remaining to claim the win.

“I don’t even know what to think right now. It hasn’t sunk in, it feels so surreal to me,” Gragson told PixelatedSPEED.com.

“I’m just so thankful to be able to run with Kyle Busch Motorsports, (crew chief) Marcus Richmond... all the crew guys.”

To get there, Gragson first raced in the final Blizzard Series race held at the Speedway this past September. In that race, Gragson struggled, finishing eighth in what many would consider the prelude to the Snowball Derby.

“We really struggled here these past couple of years,” said Gragson. “We came here in September for the final Blizzard Series race and ended up struggling really really bad. I’m thankful we struggled because I knew what we needed to work on to resolve the issues.”

Come Derby Week, the practice times didn’t really reflect the effort being but into the team’s number 18 Super Late Model. They continued to work on finding speed, and were awarded for their efforts.

“We came here on Thursday and did three 45 lap runs,” he said. “In practice, everybody was counting us out. We qualified eighth, that’s the highest I think I’ve ever started here.”

From that eighth place starting spot, Gragson held strong in the front part of the field as pole sitter Harrison Burton, Jeff Choquette, Raphael Lassard, and Ty Majeski all took turns leading portions of the race.

With 20 laps remaining, Kyle Bryant spun in turn three. This setup a final round of pit stops. Gragson’s crew got the 20 year old off pit road first, lining him up alongside Harrison Burton for the ensuing restart.

“The pit stop guys all did a hell of a job all weekend and during the race,” said Gragson.

Burton, who did not pit, also did not take off well. This caused a classic check up situation that resulted in Ty Majeski turning Bubba Pollard toward the inside wall as the field screamed into turn one.

This setup the final restart with six laps remaining.

“I was a little sketched out on that last restart,” recalled Gragson. “I didn’t know how good we were. It seemed like those other guys could fire off a lot better than we could there at the end of a run, but we just out muscled them and out raced them in the laps that counted there at the end and ended up with the checkered flag.”

While Gragson now gets to reap the rewards and accolades that come with being a Snowball Derby winner, the Las Vegas native is also turning his sight’s toward 2019 and a debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Jr. Motorsports.

“It’s the last race of the year,” he said. “Normally, you get a win and the following week you have to reset. Now I get two months to enjoy it.”

“That doesn’t mean I can ride on that,” he added. “I still have to continue to work hard and continue to try to improve with everything moving over to Jr. Motorsports.”

“It’s a new challenge for me, racing fulltime in the Xfinity Series next year. I’ve just been so thankful to be able to run with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Just gotta keep on working hard and striving everyday to get better.”



Official Results:

1. Noah Gragson
2. Ty Majeski
3. Jeff Choquette
4. Connor Okrzesik
5. Casey Roderick
6. Chandler Smith
7. Donnie Wilson
8.Tyler Ankrum
9.Cole Butcher
10. Harrison Burton
11. Jeremy Doss
12. Derek Thorn
13. John DeAngelis Jr
14. Chase Purdy
15. Jesse Dutilly
16. Derek Kraus
17. Jack Dossey III
18. Kyle Plott
19. Spencer Davis
20. Logan Boyett
21. Paul Shafer Jr
22. Derek Griffith
23. Dennis Prunty
24. Kyle Bryant
25. Raphael Lessard
26. Bubba Pollard
27. Stephen Nasse
28. Michael Atwell
29. Corey Heim
30. Kaden Honeycutt
31. Chris Davidson
32. Preston Peltier
33. Perry Patino
34. Stewart Friesen
35. Carson Hocevar
36. Austin Nason

Sunday, December 2, 2018

PixelatedPICK: 51st Annual Snowball Derby

Bubba Pollard zooms around turn three. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


Bubba Pollard is one of the all-time greats at Five Flags Speedway, having won just about everything you can at the famed Pensacola half-mile. Everything, except the biggest show of them all, the Snowball Derby.

"It is a unique race,” Pollard said in a recent interview. “It’s hard to describe the feeling of competing in this race.”

"You have great drivers who have won this race and have become part of history and I'm hoping one day our name can be on it. This is what we work for and live for. But I also understand this one race can't define your career."

With 68 total starts at Five Flags, Pollard has scored 19 victories, and amassed 41 top five finishes after leading 1,242 laps. In 10 Snowball Derby starts, he has a pole in 2011 and after leading 157 laps in 2017, has a best finish of third.

In last year’s Derby, Pollard was the class of the field, and the class of the week. He dominated the practice sessions, won the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race, and led the most laps in the Snowball Derby itself.

“It’s a hard race to win and you never know how it’s going to play out,” Pollard told Short Track Scene. “We build the best car we can and take it to the race track. But that’s all we can control.

Pollard looks to achieve his first Snowball victory in a brand new Senneker chassis powered by Hamner Racing Engines.

In an interview with Speed51.com, Pollard talked about the confidence he has in his new racecar.

“I have a lot of confidence in the guys that help me put them together and the team,” Pollard told Speed51.com.

“I have a lot of confidence in the race cars,” he added. “You hear that a lot of people are scared of bringing new cars but there’s nothing better than a new piece of metal. That’s when they’re the best. That’s when they’re the fastest. We built one back in July and won the first four races with it.

Simply put, although Bubba Pollard has yet to reach victory lane, he is the odds on favorite, making him the PixelatedPICK for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. While there is never any guarantees in this race, one sure fire bet that rans fans can make is that Bubba Pollard will be a heavy hitter, and if all goes according to plan, a factor at the end of this 300 lap contest among the very best in Super Late Model racing.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Derby Days: Saturday Washout.



For a day that never saw a single car on track, it was perhaps the most crazy.

Saturday was meant to be Snowflake 100 day, but mother nature had other plans.

Persistent rain and storms plagued the Gulf Coast on Saturday.

When I arrived at the track, there was already a heavy intermittent drizzle. I made my way down to the track, but decided that I wanted my flash, so I went back to my truck. Sure enough, as soon as I got to the truck, the rain began to fall harder.

I sat in my truck for about 30 minutes before the rain let up, then headed back down to the infield, making my way to the tech shed.

As the rains seemed to be letting off, Five Flags Speedway officials began track drying, and held a drivers meeting. Tim Bryant detailed the plan, which at the time was to get the race in on Saturday. He did, however, offer up the contingency plan as well.

Just after the conclusion of the driver’s meeting, the rains returned. This time, however, they never left.

We sat in the tech area, waiting and hoping as we watched the conditions grow steadily worse and worse.

After about an hour of this waiting, it was clear that all was lost on this day. The water had reached the tech area, causing tech officials to scramble as their vehicles were in danger of being flooded.

After waiting out a severe storm cell that included intense lighting strikes around the property, I found my opportunity to get out.

I made it home soaked, but safe, and spent the remainder of the day and evening following up on the situation, writing stories, and responding to questions and comments.

Tomorrow, should mother nature allow, we will race the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. If not tomorrow, then Monday night… or whenever the weather allows.

For the first time in its two decades of running, the Snowflake 100 was postponed. The Flake, and it’s support races, will be contested on December 8th.

It is what it is.

Rain Makes for Murky Snowball Derby Schedule

Tim Bryant addresses teams on Saturday morning. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)


After persistent storms pounded the Gulf Coast on Saturday, Five Flags Speedway has had to make some changes to the Snowball Derby schedule, including the first ever postponement of the Snowflake 100.

With the Saturday slate of racing washed out, the focus shifted to preparing the track for Sunday’s 51st Annual Snowball Derby.

To get there, speedway officials worked late into Saturday night, pumping water out of the areas affected by torrential downpours that flooded the racetrack, submerging turn three’s infield area up to the edge of the apron on the speedway.

From the Five Flags Speedway Facebook Page:

“Sunday's schedule will remain unchanged with the exception of tire selection at 7:30 am and the last chance qualifier which will start at noon and be 30 laps. Snowball Derby pre-race festivities to start immediately following the last chance qualifier followed by the 51st Annual Snowball Derby at 2pm.”

Should rain continue to be a factor, the Snowball Derby could be ran on the following day.


“If we have weather tomorrow, we’ll run the Snowball Derby on Monday, if possible,” said Tim Bryant, Snowball Derby Promoter.

The Modifieds of Mayhem and Pro Trucks will join the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models on Saturday, December 8th for a one day show that will also include abbreviated practice sessions, qualifying, and last chance races if needed.

The postponement of the Snowflake 100 is the first of its 20 year history.

“We hate this for anyone who has traveled a long way for these races, but when you combine the bad forecast with the fact that most of them can’t race on Monday anyway, that was the reason for our decision,” said Bryant.

The Modifieds were initially scheduled to battle on Friday evening for 75 laps. Rain pushed that race to Saturday, and then again after Saturday’s storms. Because of this, that feature has now been shortened to 50 laps. Starting positions from the qualifying session held on Friday will remain, and teams will get a short hot laps session before going racing.

The Pro Truck teams never made it onto the property on Saturday after all the flooding around the speedway. Tim Bryant has told truck teams that they are welcome to leave their rigs parked at the nearby Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds this week and that there will be security provided.

Tickets will still be honored on December 8th, as well as the pay per view coverage by Speed51.com.

Speedway Hopes to Race Saturday; Has a Backup Plan

Its turning out to be a soggy day so far in Pensacola, but Five Flags Speedway officials are still attempting to get the day’s activities in.

Tim Bryant announced in the morning driver’s meeting that they are bringing in more equipment to facilitate track drying procedures.

Bubba Pollard suggested using racecars to further aid in track drying. Bryant eluded to using the modified division in that capacity.

Every effort will be made to race today, however, should the wether dictate a full washout, there is a plan in place.

If needed, the Snowball Derby Last Chance Race could be bumped to Noon, on Sunday, with the remainder of Derby Day festivities following suit.

Should it be required, the Modifieds of Mayhem, Pro Trucks, and Snowflake 100 could be moved to next weekend, with Saturday being used for practice, and racing on Sunday. 

As mentioned, these are tentative resolutions, and Five Flags Speedway is fully committed to getting the day’s activities in today.


Stay tuned to the PixelatedSPEED Facebook Page,  Five Flags Speedway, and Speed51.com for more updates as the day moves forward. 

Derby Days: Friday is Pole Day.

PixelatedSPEED Photo
Described by many as the most intense qualifying session in motorsports, the aim of the game on Friday at Five Flags Speedway was cracking the top 30 in pole qualifying for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby.

A trip in the weeds.

To get this pivotal day started, I ventured into the weeds, literally. While there are many great places to shoot photos around the facility at Five Flags Speedway, some to the best shots come after making a trek around some fences, through a campground, and along a briar patch laden path that leads to the outside wall of turn four.

I feel as though some of my best photos of the week thus far were from that hard to get to spot. I think the trip was worth it, and it’s not a journey I like to do more than once during a Derby week.

Once there, I stayed there for the duration of the first Snowball Derby practice.

Dashing through the pits.

At the conclusion of that first Snowball Derby practice, I knew I only had a few minutes to be setup for the next round, which featured the Snowflake 100 cars. I knew I wanted to be in turn two… on the literal opposite side of where I was. If I had to backtrack along the path I came, I would have run out of time and missed a decent chunk of time, plus the initial rush of cars off of pit road.

So, not wanting to waste time, once I knew the coast was clear (as in officials clearing the gates) I jumped over the turn four wall and darted across the track, then dash through the infield to get to turn two.

Again, this was worth it, as I got some shots I’d never gotten before.

Modified Madness and Interviews.

After I got my fill of photos from turn two, I made my way back to the frontstretch, shot a few candids in and around the grandstands, and headed on down to the infield once Snowflake practice ended.

Next up was Modified practice, so I setup on pit road and got photos from start finish down to turn four.

Interviews.

Switching gears a bit, after Modified practice I made the rounds hitting up various drivers for interviews. I was able to get just about everyone I was looking for, and for what I have to work with this week, I think those interviews came out pretty well.

There was a bit of a lull before Modified qualifying, so I got a bite to eat, and had a nice chat with Nicholas Rogers, one of the head tech officials at Five Flags Speedway.

Next up was Modified qualifying. I really wasn’t planning on covering much of it, but as I was making my way along pit road, Johnnie Walker had a part failure, from which he broke loose off of turn four and then over-corrected, slamming hard into the outside wall. I stuck around to get the candids of Johnnie getting out of his car, and assessing the damage before moving along.

Horvath

I had the pleasure of chatting with Tim Horvath of Horvath Design for a spell along with colleague Matt Weaver. Horvath is a hoot. His stories can go on for days, and in some way always leave you smiling.

Before I knew it, about an hour had passed and I still had interviews to do, so I left Horvath and Weaver to hunt down those drivers, but ended up running into Hunter Robbins and DJ Vanderley… which led to another round of storytelling along with Mike Williamson, Johanna Long-Robbins’ crew chief.

Qualifying

I spent the lead up to qualifying getting candid shots around pit road. The lighting was providing some really cool, unique shots.

During qualifying, I shadowed Weaver for a bit, shot photos for a bit, and just sat back and took in the atmosphere of watching 47 of the nation’s top Super Late Model drivers all vying for a spot in the Snowball Derby.

Afterward, I went to the tech shed, but by then the rains had begun to fall. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to playing the rain game, so I packed up and headed home, spending the rest of the evening (into the early morning hours actually), writing, editing, and posting.

I’m glad I didn’t stick around as the rest of the night was a wash, pushing the Modified race to Saturday.

Saturday is Snowflake 100 Day.

Saturday is going to be jam packed. On tap is the postponed Modified race, final practice sessions, last chance races, Snowflake qualifying, the Snowflake 100, and the Pro Truck feature. It’s going to be busy, for sure.

Show Me the Money Driver Patino Makes the Show in Pensacola

PixelatedSPEED Photo

Show Me the Money Series driver, Perry Patino, will be in the show and start his first Snowball Derby on Sunday. Patino is driving for Bobby Reuse in the number 89 Super Late Model out of Montgomery, AL. Patino will also be attempting to qualify for the Snowflake 100 on Saturday.

Patino’s father Richard, was ecstatic to have his son in the Derby.

“Our first Snowball Derby!,” he said. “He busted a heck of a lap for his first qualifying in a Super Late Model.”

“How cool is it to see his name right next to the NASCAR elite!,” he added.

Reuse took to Facebook on Friday night to share the news.

“Perry Patino just laid down a 16.53 to qualify 16th in his first ever Snowball Derby,” he said. “I am super excited. It is the highest ever starting position for AIR Company in the Derby, although Dillion Oliver was kinda handicapped with a last minute deal.”

“Contrats Perry and thank you,” he added. “No last chance race. Beat some really big money teams. Tomorrow we hope to do it again in the Snowflake car.”

Dillion Oliver responded with, “Great job guys! Our deal was last minute and I had never driven a Super before, but we got her in! Y’all keep diggin. Keep the fenders on it and be there at the end. There’s a lot of cars that won’t be!”

Friday, November 30, 2018

Interview: Christopher Tullis Hopes to Win in Borrowed Car

Christopher Tullis destroyed his primary car during practice for the Snowflake 100 at the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. Now, thanks to the help of a friend, Tullis hopes to contend, and even win this prestigious race in a borrowed car.

Interview: Kyle Bryant Aiming for Success in 51st Snowball Derby

Kyle Bryant is looking to add his name to the record books as a winner in the Snowball Derby, a feat that if achieved, would make him only the fifth driver from Pensacola (Navarre) to do so. He said that if were to win, he could retire that day happily, but the goal for this year is to first make the race, then to finish.

Interview: Jeremy Pate - 51st Snowball Derby Outlaw Stock Winner


A string of Pensacola based drivers winning during this year's Snowball Derby continued on Thursday night. Jeremy Pate passed a fading Derrick Griffin half way through the 50 lap feature and went on to win in the Outlaw Stock division in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.

Pate joins Caleb Burkett (Pure Stocks) and Shanna Ard (Sportsman) as the third Pensacola native to win features in this year's Derby.

Pit Walk - 51st Annual Snowball Derby

Every year at the Snowball Derby, I walk through the pits at Five Flags Speedway and record a video showing a little bit of the chaos that is this prestigious event. It's shaky, raw and unedited... so enjoy!

Derby Days: Thursday is Practice Day.

A fan watches as Carson Hocevar flies down the backstretch. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)
After a rather eventful Wednesday, I went home and tried to write the stories I should’ve written while I was at the track, but failed to do so.  On Thursday morning, I published the stories and articles that I could before heading back to the track.

Thursday is practice day.

The focus was fully on the late models today. By the time I arrived at the track, the first Snowball Derby practice was already underway, so I lingered around the outside wall of the track, getting shots from a photo hole in turn one.

When the time came to head down to the infield, I began shooting as much as I could. Trying to not wind up with 1,000 photos of the same racecar on track, my primary focus today was on candid shots. Yes, I got plenty of car shots, but candids of the folks at the speedway doing the business of racing seem to be my sweet spot.

I didn’t hang out and chit chat as much today as yesterday, instead focusing on attempting to cover as much of the grounds as I could.

Something that I failed to do, however, was keep up with the news of day. It wasn’t until late in the day before I even gave a thought to doing actual journalism. I just got so wrapped up in taking pictures, that before I knew it the bulk of the day had passed me by.

Not wanting to repeat my follies from the day prior, I made the decision to leave the track following late model practice. I stopped by the campgrounds to visit some friends for a spell, then headed home.

I’m glad I did. I spent the rest of the evening reviewing my photos, writing, and posting stories. There is just so much to cover it’s virtually impossible to get it all done. I watched the night’s feature races online while I worked, and was thankful to do so.

I could’ve sat in the stands to watch those races, but being able to get work done while at the same time was critical.

Friday is Pole Day. There will be plenty more practice first… but the focus of this day is qualifying for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby.

Boyett Looks to Carry Pensacola’s Torch to Snowball Victory

Logan Boyett looks to be the 5th Pensacola driver to win the Snowball Derby. (PixelatedSPEED Photo)
Wayne Niedecken. Dickie Davis. Eddie Mercer. Johanna Long-Robbins. Four drivers. They all share two unique characteristics. All four have won the prestigious Snowball Derby, and all are from Pensacola, FL.

Wayne Niedecken Sr. has the distinction of winning the first Snowball Derby back in 1968, and also being the first repeat winner with a second victory in 1970.

Niedecken Sr. passed away in 1993, but his son, Wayne Niedecken Jr., remembered how his dad was able to win those races.

“Dad was noted for being there at the end of races,” he said. “With 15 or 20 laps to go, there he was. Races were a marathon like they still are today… saving stuff and going for the win at the end of the day. That’s what dad was good at.”

Dickie Davis won in 1973 and is still grateful for his victory 45 years later.

“It feels good to win at your home track, knowing you outran the best,” Davis, said. “It’s hard to get perspective of what you’ve accomplished until later on. When I look back now, I feel fortunate.”

Eddie Mercer’s win came in 2005. Mercer broke a 32 year long dry spell for Pensacola drivers with the win.

“I’m proud I got to win that race. That’s all I ever wanted to do in racing and I did it,” he said.

Johanna Long-Robbins won the Tom Dawson trophy in 2010 after using a set of fresh tires to muscle past Landon Cassill in the race’s closing laps.

“I can’t believe I did it,” said Long-Robbins. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

In this 51st running of the Snowball Derby, there is one bullet aiming at bringing a Derby victory back to the City of Five Flags.

Logan Boyett. This season has been a career renaissance. Boyett teamed up Gerald Boyd in the Pro Truck division in last year’s Derby. That was then parlayed into a full-blown track championship run in 2018 at Five Flags.

At this year’s Derby, Boyett plans on continuing his recent winning ways with a victory in both the Pro Truck race and hopefully the 51st Annual Snowball Derby, point of pride for the Pensacola native.

“If I were to win, it would mean the world,” Boyett stated.  “Coming from Pensacola, it means even more.  I’ve been told, you’re one of the few guys that’s carrying the torch.  And that’s true, we’re one of the few remaining drivers around here that carries the torch, and it’s great having these local drivers.   It’s always more important and meaningful to us if we get to hoist a trophy up for a Snowball Derby win.”

Nasse goes to a Backup, then Back to the Primary

Stephen Nasse's Fornite themed Super Late Model (Eddie Richie - Turn 1 Photos)
Stephen Nasse was only able to run a couple of laps in his freshly built Senneker Performance racecar during the first practice for the 51st Annual Snowball Derby before having to break out the backup car. He didn’t hit the wall, but did break the rear end of his Jett Motorsports prepared machine.

Nasse and company made the switch to the backup, a FURY built racecar that Nasse has ran throughout the 2018 season, but still couldn’t get the feel just right.

After some deliberation, the team decided to go back to the primary and transfer the rear end from the FURY car to the Senneker car.

In an article posted on Short Track Scene, Nasse said the initial switch to the backup didn’t pan out the way they wanted.

“The FURY didn’t work out the way I thought it would,” Nasse said. “All the drive that I had on Monday, the turn-ability was non-existent today. Everything that I thought I had on Monday was gone. I don’t know if the track changed or what, but Jeff (Choquette, teammate) and I can’t figure it out.”

If this plays out like Nasse and his team would like, this will be the final swap of racecars for the weekend. That’s a point that many in the grandstands would enjoy… seeing that Nasse’s primary car is wrapped in a special scheme that pays homage to the wildly popular video game, Fortnite.

Nasse posted the 15th best time of the day in his 51 machine, but hope to improve during the two practice sessions set for Friday before Snowball Derby Qualifying.

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