December 2011

‘Twenty-Thousand Dollar’ Chase, Elliott Edges VanderLey at Line to Win 44th Snowball Derby

By Chuck Corder

It just keeps getting better.

Few thought the Snowball Derby would ever live up to the drama and excitement created in 2010.

And while the storybook ending of hometown girl Johanna Long racing to Snowball glory might never be topped, the 44th running’s finish was unparalleled Sunday at Five Flags Speedway.

Chase Elliott stood alone. Barely.

The 16-year-old racing prodigy fought door-to-door in the closing laps with Five Flags stalwart D.J. VanderLey to win the nation’s most prestigious short-track race by less than a quarter of a second.

The 0.229 margin of victory was the closest in […]

Settling for Second Not a Bad Consolation Prize for VanderLey in Snowball Derby Debut

By Chuck Corder

Track officials could have turned the lights out.

Linda VanderLey’s beaming face was illuminating all of Five Flags Speedway early Sunday evening.

Her boy, 19-year-old D.J. VanderLey, had done her proud. The Auburn honors college sophomore, who has a differential equations exam this morning, passed his first Snowball Derby test.

“He’s gonna be up all night studying,” Dan VanderLey, D.J.’s father, said, choking up himself several times. “I’m not sure he couldn’t go to sleep anyway.”

VanderLey was wide-eyed, leading briefly late before settling for a runner-up finish to 16-year-old Chase Elliott in the closest […]

Speed falls short to tough tires, skill and luck in Snowball Derby

Bill Vilona PNJ.COM

In his three-year racing experience at the Snowball Derby, there is one aspect Chase Elliott has learned above anything else.

“There is just a certain level of patience that you have to have in order to do well in this thing,” said Elliott, who will start ninth in today’s 44th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.

How well he knows.

A year ago, Elliott had one of the fastest cars. With less than 10 scheduled laps remaining, the rising star and teenage son of one of NASCAR’s all-time greatest drivers, Bill Elliott, was in second […]

Grill Flashes His Grill, Wins Second Career Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Amid Caution-Plagued Race

Chuck Corder

Heartbreak was littered across Five Flags Speedway’s high banks Saturday night after the Snowflake 100.

On every inch of asphalt in all four turns. Painted across the inside wall down the front stretch. And inside numerous idle Pro Late Model haulers in the pits.

No evidence of pain, though, could be found across Augie Grill’s face.

“I’m getting cramps,” Grill said as he posed with a toothy smile next to the winner’s trophy in Victory Lane.

He had every reason to grin, becoming the first driver to capture the Snowflake 100 and the Snowball Derby twice in […]

Follow the Derby Live Online

For the 10th year in a row Bob Dillner’s will be covering the Snowball Derby with Trackside Now. If you can’t be at the track, you can join our online racing family by clicking SPEED51 TRACKSIDE NOW.  […]


Press Release
BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA (November 29, 2011) – 2011 TOYOTA All-Star Showdown pole sitter Derek Thorn, through the generous support of many personal donations and sponsorships, will take the #26 Sigma Engineering / JRC Toyota Camry to Pensacola, FL for the prestigious Snowball Derby at the famed half-mile Five Flags Speedway this weekend. Thorn will be the lone Californian among a field of nearly 60 cars including many drivers from the upper rungs of NASCAR.
Thorn hit the road Monday morning along with JRC crew chief and co-owner Junior Joiner for the 2100 […]

2 Nights of Racing 4 Derby Champions

Third Time the Charm for Indiana’s Nester in Super Stocks Snowball Derby Title Run
Chuck Corder

Brian Nester is a quick study.
In two previous appearances at the Snowball Derby in his Modified ride, the Indiana driver didn’t qualify well. It cost him both times and he ended with a pair of thirds.

Not this year. Nester qualified second in the 32-car field, took the lead on the first of 50 laps and never gave it up to win this edition of the Modifieds Derby.

“I’ve won a lotta races, but it doesn’t get better than this,” said Nester, who boasts two other prestigious Modifieds […]