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After rain forced the Snowball Derby to be contested as a controlled caution race last year, Five Flags Speedway announced the return of live pit stops for the 2017 event.

Weather permitting, of course.

“We’re utilizing the same race format for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby for which the first 48 versions of the race were run under,” said Five Flags Speedway general manager Tim Bryant. “The controlled pit stops format that was used in the 2016 race, somewhat out of necessity given the turn of events related to the weather, certainly has a place in today’s short track racing scene. That format is certainly worthy of consideration in the future.

“However, for this year’s golden anniversary our racers and teams will be sticking to the traditional format that has helped make this race so special.”

Also returning is the rule that a caution will wave after 75 consecutive green flag laps. This is to prevent the need for live green flag pit stops on the abrasive Pensacola track surface. No competition cautions will occur after lap 280, however.

The rest of the format will look familiar to those who have watched or participated in recent years:

Time Trials

  • Qualifying order will be determined by draw. If you miss your turn in line, the best you can start is 11th.
  • Everyone will get two consecutive timed laps.
  • Once you have taken the white flag, you have an official time. No re-qualifying.
  • The fastest thirty times will be locked into the feature. The remaining cars will run in a Qualifying Race, with the top four finishers advancing to the feature.


  • All starts will take place at the designated line in turn four.
  • All cars should stay in line until the green flag is displayed.
  • Anyone jumping the start will be sent to the rear. The second infraction will be a one lap penalty.
  • If a caution occurs before the completion of the first lap, there will be a complete restart.
  • All cars retain their original starting position unless they pit or receive assistance from the safety crew.
  • On a complete restart, if a car drops out or goes to the rear, that line will simply move forward.

Yellow Flags

  • Once the leader has completed a lap, caution laps will be counted.
  • Do not race to the yellow flag. Hold your position on the track.
  • After one lap is complete, the lineup will revert to the last completed green flag lap.
  • Those involved in the cause of the caution, as well as anyone who pits, will restart on the rear.
  • Pace car will pick up the field in turn 1. Pits are closed. Follow pace car to start-finish line. Lead lap cars can double up at the line to pit. Second time by, lapped cars can pit. If you pit out of order, restart tail end of line.
  • If the field completes seventy-five consecutive green flag laps, a competition caution will occur. Pit stops during this caution will be hot, and caution laps will count. No competition cautions will occur after lap 280.

Red Flags

  • Stop behind pace car. Pits are closed.
  • No working on the car on the track. No crew members allowed on the track.
  • When track is cleared, field will move under yellow. Pits will open for anyone.
  • Lap count will not resume until the field is given the green flag.
  • If pit stop is made under red, restart tail end of line


  • All restarts will be double file.
  • At the 2 to go signal, lapped cars will move to the rear of the lead lap cars.
  • The 1st car a lap down when the caution fell will be given a ‘free pass’ around the pace car and credited with a lap. Also, any cars behind the pace car that are on the tail end of a lap will be given a ‘wave-by’ until the leader is the first car behind the pace car.
  • Note: No ‘free-pass’ will be given during the last 10 laps of the race or if the designated car was involved in the cause of the caution.
  • The leader may choose to start inside or outside. Everyone else will double up, odd positions on the inside, even positions on the outside.
  • When the leader gets to the 1st line in turn 4, he can go. Do not change lanes until the start-finish line.


  • If you stop on or near the racing surface to purposely cause a caution, you will receive a
    two lap penalty.
  • If there is a driver change that is not reported to an official, all prize money will be forfeited.
  • Three unassisted spins, and you will be disqualified for the remainder of the event.

Finish and Post-Race

  • We will not finish under caution. After lap 295, we must have 5 green flag laps. These
    do not have to be consecutive.
  • Once the white flag has been displayed to the leaders, the next flag will be the checkered. If there is a problem, the yellow light will come on along with the green.
  • Race to the finish. If the track is blocked, the red will come out, and we will finish green/white/checker.
  • The top three finishers will stop on the front straight for trophy presentations and interviews.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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