By the Number: 49th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags
0 – Number of drivers who have swept both the Snowball Derby and the Snowflake 100 in the same weekend. The closest to do it was Augie Grill in 2007 as he finished third in that years’ Snowflake before winning the Derby the next day. Chase Elliott won the Snowflake 100 and the Derby in 2013, but was disqualified from the Derby in post-race technical inspection.
2.p.m. – The start time for the Derby. Make sure to get to your seat at the track or in front of a computer/TV to watch live on Speed51.om
2 – Rich Bickle, Butch Miller, Jeff Purvis, Darrell Waltrip, Eddie Mercer, Rich Crawford and Jody Ridley all have something in common. They are all former Snowball Derby winners, but they also all had to finish second in the big race before they won it.
3 – The number of all-time Snowball Derby Pole Awards won by Eddie Mercer and Bobby Gill. Both drivers are tied at the top of that category.
4 – The race will be run on December 4 and here is a look at some of the other Snowball Derby’s run on that date:
1977 – People who left the track in 1977 figured that Darrell Waltrip was the winner, but after a check of scoring it was found that Waltrip was a lap down and Ronnie Sanders in fact won the race.
1983 – Mickey Gibbs holds off Jody Ridley for his only win in the Snowball Derby. Ridley would have to wait two more years for his win.
1988 – After an amazing fall, Ted Musgrave capped off a final half of a season that may never be topped. Wins at the Winchester 400 and at Octoberfest a week later paved the way for the Snowball Derby.
1994 – Tammy Jo Kirk became the first female driver to win the Snowball Derby when she beat out Eddie Mercer for the win. The race was not without controversy, as several think to this day she was down a lap at the finish.
2005 – A proud day for Pensacola race fans as in his 17th try Eddie Mercer won the Snowball Derby for the first time. After finishing second the year before, Mercer put it all together and won the race from the pole after holding off Steve Wallace.
2011 – Chase Elliott survived an epic battle with DJ VanderLey over the final five laps to win the Snowball Derby for the first time. Elliott ran a smart race and had to earn it and it was never certain the race was his until the fourth turn.
5 – The number of wins by Rich Bickle Jr. at the Snowball Derby. He holds the record for most Snowball Derby wins, as he has won five times in 11 starts. He holds a nice .454 batting average at the Pensacola half-mile oval.
7 – Number of times the race has been won from the pole. The last driver to do it was Eddie Mercer in 2005.
9 – This will be the ninth start for Bubba Pollard at the Snowball Derby. He has two career top-five finishes.
12 – The number of top-five finishes Jody Ridley has collected over the years of the Snowball Derby. That’s the most of any driver all-time in the 48 Snowball Derbys held.
16.120 – Super Late Model track record held by Ty Majeski set during qualifying for the 48th Annual Snowball Derby.
32 – Number of Snowball Derby’s started by Red Farmer. David Rogers could pull within one of him this season if he makes the race. Farmer ran the first two and was still racing as late as 1999.
36 – Different drivers have won the race. Of those, only 10 drivers have won it more than once.
37 – The maximum number of cars that will start the race.
49 – This will be the 49th running of the Snowball Derby.
50 – The all-important last chance race that will happen on Saturday is a 50-lap sprint for your life. We at Speed51.com have seen blood, sweat, and tears after this event as some driver’s dreams come true and others are crushed in the blink of an eye.
51 – The only number you need to know when it comes to coverage. Speed51.com is the online home for all things Snowball Derby and Snowflake related. In addition to our popular Trackside Now updates and more social media updates than ever before, there will be four days of live video broadcasts. Click hereto order you video package today.
70 – The number of entries received as of Thanksgiving week. There could always be some late surprises.
99 – The famous number of the Niedecken family. Wayne Niedecken won twice including the inaugural race in 1968 and again in 1970. His son Junior Niedecken has competed in 28 Derbys.
233 – Chase Elliott led a race high 233 laps in 2013 and failed to win the race. He did take the checkered flag, but the win was taken away in post-race tech.
300 – The Snowball Derby is 300 laps for the Super Late Models on Sunday afternoon.
619 – Drivers have raced or attempted to qualify for the Snowball Derby.
752 – Eddie Mercer is the all-time lap leader at the Snowball Derby with 752 circuits led.
1953 – The year the track opened on Pine Forest Road in Pensacola.
1968 – The first year of the Snowball Derby. It was a 100-lap event that year.
2003 – The year Charlie Bradberry flew in late from the NASCAR banquet, started shotgun on the field and won the race after an epic battle with Gary St. Amant.
$22,500 – The winner’s share of the Snowball Derby. The race pays $1,500 to start.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com