Pensacola, FL — While his mind is fixed solely on etching his name on the Tom Dawson Trophy in two weeks, Casey Roderick gladly took the money Five Flags Speedway handed out Saturday evening.
Roderick’s wicked fast Ronnie Sanders Racing machine was the quickest Super Late Model at the special Snowball Derby Preview event, and with the title of fastest man in town comes a $500 check.
Roderick set his fast time of 16.611 in the first of the two pay-out sessions. The quick lap was a product of all-day, continuous work on the car.
“We came down here with a game plan to work on certain areas of the race track,” said Roderick. “I feel like we made some good gains on it, but think we will need to be a little better at the Derby. We unloaded off the truck good and just made it a little better all day. It’s always fun to be fast.”
Saturday’s goal was to be good for one lap, in a little more than two weeks at the 50th Snowball Derby – which can be seen LIVE via Speed51 Pay-Per-View – the focus will be finding a way to transfer the one-lap speed in to 300 grueling circuits.
Roderick and team owner Ronnie Sanders put their heads together and formed a game plan for the Derby before ever leaving the track Saturday night.
“You compare where you made gains and where you need to improve on the most,” Roderick said. “I told Ronnie that I would really like to spend some time on it and get it worked out where we can try stuff when come back. If the stuff we try doesn’t make it faster, we can put the tried and true stuff back on it.
Indiana-transplant Derrick Griffin stunned the Pro Late Model field with a fast lap of 16.903, also in the first session of the cash dash.
Griffin, a former CRA Super Series champion, now calls the Florida panhandle home and was thrilled with his fast lap, especially since it came on old tires.
“We didn’t have enough money to put two sets of tires on it,” Griffin said. “We put ours on in the first session and were fastest there. We didn’t think that would hold up, but the dew started to set in. During the second Mod session, I saw the roof of the car was wet and knew they second session wouldn’t be worth it. We are thrilled to set fast time.”
A year after setting fast time in Super Late Models, Pro Late Models and Modifieds, Florida’s Jeff Choquette was forced to settle for one check this go-around.
Choquette toured the Pensacola half-mile in 17.596 seconds in his Mod to pocket $200. With momentum on his side, Choquette is excited about a return to the Florida panhandle in less than two weeks.
“We have some good momentum on our side coming off of New Smyrna,” said Choquette. “We want to keep building on it and come back next week to win the Modified part of the Derby.”
In local action, Bubba Winslow was quickest in the Outlaw Stocks, Logan Boyett set fast time in Pro Trucks, Brannon Fowler topped the charts in Sportsmen and Robert Balkum led the way in Purer Stocks.
All seven divisions will be in action during the 50th Annual Snowball Derby weekend Nov. 29 – Dec. 3. The 50th Annual Snowball Derby will kick off on Wednesday, November 29 with racing for the first time in event history on a Wednesday night. The Pure Stock division will be in action for a 50-lap feature prior to the annual Green Flag Pit Party and all-important qualifying draw for Late Model drivers.
Late Models will hit the track for the first time on Thursday, November 30 prior to 50-lap features for the Sportsman and Outlaw Stock divisions later that night.
Friday, December 1 is the most intense day in all of short track racing. It’s qualifying day for the Snowball Derby. Also on Friday night, the Modifieds will get their spotlight as they do battle for 75 laps to crown their Snowball Derby champion.
Saturday, December 2 is Allen Turner Snowflake 100 race day. Qualifying for the Snowflake 100 will begin at 2 p.m. CT. A 50-lap last chance race for the Snowflake 100 will immediately follow qualifying. The 50-lap last chance race for the Snowball Derby will also be held on Saturday evening at the conclusion of the last chance race for the Snowflake 100.
The green flag for the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 will wave at 7 p.m. Also on Saturday night, the Pro Trucks will race for 50 laps to decide who takes their Snowball Derby victory.
Sunday, December 3 is the biggest day of the year in short track racing. It’s race day for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby. Pre-race festivities will begin at Noon CT. The class photo for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will be taken on the front stretch at 12:30. Driver introductions will follow at 1:15 p.m. The green flag for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby will wave at 2 p.m.
More information on the 50th Annual Snowball Derby can be found by visiting www.snowballderby.com and www.5flagsspeedway.com.