The Snowball Derby is a 300-lap super late model stock car automobile race held annually at the half-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The race has been contested every year since 1968 and is typically run on the first weekend in December, although in some years it has been run on the second weekend.
The Snowball Derby has a reputation for attracting some of the bigger names in short track racing, including top series NASCAR drivers (when not in conflict with their year-end banquet) because it is run after most tracks and touring series have concluded their season. For example, the 2009 event was won by NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, and also featured Steve Wallace, Bobby Gill, Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth's son Ross Kenseth, David Stremme, and Cale Gale.
Because of the "all-star" nature of the race, the Snowball Derby is considered by many to be the most prestigious race in super late model racing. Though most drivers entering the race are from nearby states, some drivers travel across the United States to compete, mainly because of the posted awards and super late model rules, which are very similar to each other regardless of track or tours (the United Super Late Model Rules Alliance).
The Snowball Derby has been won by past and future stars of NASCAR, including five national series champions (one Sprint Cup, one Xfinity (and a second who won both a Sprint Cup and Xfinity), two Camping World Truck, total eight national championships), five Sprint Cup Series, two Xfinity Series, and seven Camping World Truck Series race winners. The 1994 Snowball Derby winner was female driver, and future NASCAR competitor, Tammy Jo Kirk. From 2011 until 2014, the Snowball was won by teenage drivers who have since won on NASCAR's national series. At 20 years 8 days as of race day in 2015, Chase Elliott's second win in the Snowball made him the oldest driver to win this decade.
Over the years, the race format has varied between 100 laps, 200 laps, and a unique 300 laps plus additional laps equalling the number of runnings of this race. The format has settled into a straight 300 lap event, though a late yellow flag can create a green-white-checkered finish that extends the race beyond 300 laps.
The Snowball Derby is an independent event, meaning that it is not officially sanctioned (for a fee) by a racing organization. However, it is associated with both the United Super Late Model Rules Alliance and the Southern Super Series, a series of Super Late Model races in the region including Five Flags Speedway, with officials from that series, most notably Ricky Brooks as chief steward, officiating the race. Most Super Late Model races are run with the USLMRA package, regardless of tracks or regional series (although the track requires Continental Tires, while some tracks may use American Racer or Goodyear), various series will encourage drivers to attend the event (CARS Tour, PASS North and South, Southern Super Series, ARCA Jeg's/CRA). In the past the Snowball was sanctioned by Bob Harmon's All Pro organization, and for one year by NASCAR when it acquired All Pro.