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Everything You Need to Know About the 2023 Snowball Derby

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It’s arguably the biggest week in pavement short-track racing. The Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida is this Saturday, and many NASCAR drivers will be in the field. Here is everything you need to know about the weekend.

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Weekend Schedule

The Snowball Derby is a multi-day show with multiple different racing series, but we will focus on broadcaster coverage of the two races featuring NASCAR drivers. The 300-lap Snowball Derby main event will be on Sunday afternoon and the 100-lap Allen Turner Snowflake 100 preliminary on Saturday night. For the full weekend schedule, head to 5flagsspeedway.com. (All Times ET)

Friday, December 1st (TV Coverage Begins at 2:30 ET on Racing America)

  • 2:00 pm – Snowflake 100 Practice
  • 6:00 pm – Snowball Derby Qualifying

Saturday, December 2nd (TV Coverage Begins at 2:30 pm ET Racing America)

  • 2:00 pm – Snowflake 100 Qualifying (Lock in Top-30 entrants)
  • Following – Snowflake 100 Last Chance Qualifier (50 laps, 4 drivers transfer to the race)
  • Following – Snowball Derby Last Chance Qualifier (50 laps, 4 drivers transfer to the race)
  • 7:00 pm – Allen Turner Snowflake 100 (100 Laps)

Sunday, December 3rd (TV Coverage Begins at 11:30 PM ET on Racing America)

  • 12:00 pm – Pre-Race Festivities
  • 1:00 pm – 56th Annual Snowball Derby (300 Laps)

Notable Entrants

Plenty of recognizable names are on the entry list for both the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100. Drivers range from full-time Cup to CARS Tour Champions to even Xfinity and Trucks.

Allen Turner Snowflake 100

  • #9 Kaden Honeycutt (Part-Time Truck Series Driver)
  • #27 Jeb Burton (Jordan Anderson Racing #27 Xfinity Series Driver)

56th Annual Snowball Derby

  • #2 William Sawalich (Joe Gibbs Racing ARCA Driver/Part-Time Truck Series Driver)
  • #4 Erik Jones (Legacy Motor Club #43 Cup Series Driver)
  • #9 Derek Kraus (Part-time Xfinity and Truck Series Driver)
  • #14 Carson Hocevar (Spire Motorsports #77 Cup Series Driver)
  • #22 Sammy Smith (JR Motorsports #8 Xfinity Series Driver)
  • #24 William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports #24 Cup Series Driver)
  • #30 Noah Gragson (Cup Series Free Agent)
  • #32 Caden Kvapil (2023 CARS Pro Late Model Tour Champion)
  • #35 Jake Garcia (ThorSport Truck Series Driver)
  • #36 Carson Kvapil (2-time CARS Late Model Stock Tour Champion)
  • #44 Conner Jones (Part-Time ThorSport Truck Series Driver)
  • #62 Ryan Preece (Stewart-Haas Racing #41 Cup Series Driver)
  • #91 Ty Majeski (ThorSport #98 Truck Series Driver)

How Does the Event Work

A total of 52 drivers are entered into the Snowball Derby with 56 in the Snowflake 100. Both races usually have 36 run in the main event. The starting lineup is determined by 2-lap qualifying, where the 30 fastest are locked into the field. The slowest cars move into the last-chance qualifier.

According to Racing America, in 2022, the top-4 finishers in the last-chance qualifier made up positions 31-34 in the field. The final two spots are provisional spots, which were reserved for the highest non-qualifier in Southern Super Series points and Five Flags Speedway points. Racing America also noted that 2021 Snowball Derby winner, Chandler Smith, also had a guaranteed starting spot in 2022. Essentially, no full-time NASCAR driver has a guaranteed spot in the main event.

The races themselves are straightforward. The Snowball Derby is 300 laps with the Snowflake 100 being 100 laps. Will a NASCAR driver take home a trophy this weekend?

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Joshua Lipowski

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