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30th Annual Snowball Derby: Qualifying Report and Results

8 December 1997

Pensacola, FL -- The 30th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway
in Pensacola, FL continued today with the feature event being Pole
Qualifying for the cars entered in the Derby. Other action included the
WEAR Super Stock 75 and the Gulf Coast Modified 75.

Qualifying procedures for this year's Snowball were designed to
provide an even playing field for every driver and it produced some
surprising results. Tires were selected by the teams at the tire trailer
and mounted by the Goodyear Technicians from Bryant Automotive and then
impounded. Each car was given its qualifying tires back as they came
through Tech just before going on the track, and no one was allowed to
touch the tires until a final air pressure check was made just prior to the
qualifying run. The net effect of these procedures was to prevent anyone
from 'soaking' their tires for  better grip during qualifying. Following
the qualifying run tires were again impounded and will be returned just
before the race Sunday.

In front of a large hometown crowd, 'Fast' Eddie Mercer set the
fast time of the 58 cars present for the race. Mercer turned a lap of
17.294 seconds at an average speed of 104.082 mph to barely edge out fellow
Pensacola driver Scott Carlson by .004 seconds for the Pole position on
Sunday. Rich Bickle was third fastest and Bobby Gill will start from
outside the second row. Freddie Query and Tim Sauter will start on row
three for the 330 lap race.

The top Twenty cars on time were locked into the field and the
remainder will have to take part in second round qualifying tomorrow to get
a spot in the starting lineup. There will also be a 'Last Chance' Race for
those cars who fail to make the field through time trials. Among those who
failed to qualify were Jeff Purvis, Tony Walls, Mike Garvey, Gary St Amant,
Jody Ridley, and Mike Harmon.

Harmon turned one of the fastest first laps of the evening, but as
he came out of turn four on his final lap he spun, thus negating what would
have been a very fast second lap. Wayne Niedeken Jr also spun on his
qualifying attempt while Canadian driver Lloyd Ritchie had problems as soon
as he pulled off pit road and returned to the pits. All will get a second
chance to make the race tomorrow. Three cars did not make qualifying runs
and will make an attempt to get themselves in the race through second round
qualifying or the Last Chance 100 lap race.

In the WEAR Super Stock 75, Greg Young led from start to finish to
capture the win. Sammy McMullen, a previous winner of the event, finished
second with Howard Penton in third. 

The Gulf Coast Modified 75 saw early leader Steve Clark involved in
a melee at the halfway point that reshuffled the front four by taking out
second and third place runners Jeremy Pate and Robbie Kent. Pate and Kent
were able to continue, with Pate able to stay on the lead lap despite a pit
stop for minor repairs. Bill Campbell of Robertsdale, AL inherited the lead
during the fray and led the remaining laps to take the win. Steve Christman
of Ft Wayne, IN was second with Pensacola's Pate coming back through the
field to finish third. Tim Martin of Baton Rouge, LA took fourth and Billy
Melvin of Birmingham, AL rounded out the top five.

On tap for tomorrow is Qualifying for the Pete Moore 100 for the
'Saturday Night' Late Models, second round qualifying for the Snowball and
a 'Last Chance' race for the Pete Moore Late Models. Following that, the
8th Annual Pete Moore LM 100 will be run with a 100 lap 'Last Chance' race
for the Snowball cars as the final event of the evening.

Five Flags Speedway -- 
Qualifying results for the 
30th Annual Snowball Derby, 
Super Late Models:
Ps.No.  Driver, Car                                           Lap Time  M.P.H.
-- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- -------- -------
 1  72  Eddie Mercer    Eddie Mercer Auto/Fast Eddies    Chev 0:17.294 104.082
 2  54  Scott Carlson   Advance Construction/Willie Rest Chev 0:17.298 104.058
 3  45  Rich Bickle     Terminal Trucking                Chev 0:17.360 103.687
 4   5  Bobby Gill      Terminal Trucking                Chev 0:17.435 103.241
 5   8  Freddie Query   W.J. Plemons Ins/Hamner Engines  Chev 0:17.452 103.140
 6   3  Tim Sauter      Build-A-Mold/Trimplas            Chev 0:17.452 103.140
 7  52  Scott Hansen    AFCO/Victor Ford                 Ford 0:17.472 103.022
 8  42  Brian Ross      Ultra Tech/Royal Purple/Wade ConsChev 0:17.517 102.757
 9  14  Rick Crawford   Hogan Lumber/Circle bar Motel    Chev 0:17.522 102.728
10  53  Robert Burroughs Burroughs Motorsports           Chev 0:17.570 102.447
11  96  Greg Davidson   W Side Performance/Davinci Carbs Chev 0:17.598 102.284
12   1  Tracy Goodson   Lifestyle Vinyl/Southern LightninChev 0:17.602 102.261
13 F97  Red Farmer      K.C. Racing/Long Lewis Ford      Chev 0:17.605 102.244
14  44  Derrick Gilchrist Drinkard Litho/Emerald Coast   Chev 0:17.610 102.215
15  84  Dave Mader III  Hamner Engines/BRJ Racecars      Chev 0:17.613 102.197
16  11  David Rogers    TM Ranch/RC Dunn                 Chev 0:17.657 101.943
17 111  Donald Long     Group III Asphalt/Sam's Seafood  Chev 0:17.669 101.873
18   1Y Keith Cahela    Y-Mart/Big Ed's/Boaz Tax Serv    Chev 0:17.705 101.666
19  25  Scott Wimmer    Lee Ceramic Tile/Kipley Perf     Chev 0:17.715 101.609
20  58  Darrell Brown   Gr.American Race Car/Veterans OilChev 0:17.722 101.569
21  51  Jeff Purvis     Victor Ford/Phoenix Construction Ford 0:17.733 101.506
22  41  Mark Gerke      Beach Bull/Coastal               Chev 0:17.757 101.368
23  83  Joey Clanton    Southern Linc/Racing Radios      Chev 0:17.761 101.346
24  81  Tony Walls      Chandeleur Homes/Walls Accessory Chev 0:17.795 101.152
25  77  Tom Hernly      Sawyers Pontiac/Miller Racing    Chev 0:17.795 101.152
26  40  Mike Garvey     Coors Light/AFCO                 Chev 0:17.799 101.129
27  60  Mike Arnold     Strickland Tire/AMC Trailers     Chev 0:17.807 101.084
28  24  Mike Harmon     Lonesome PineTimber/S&N Products Pont 0:17.820 101.010
29   0  Steven Christian Bell South/Clements Engines     Chev 0:17.833 100.936
30   7  Gary St Amant   Wynns/Birk Transfer              Chev 0:17.860 100.784
31 124  Don Mahaffey Jr Affordable Auto Parts            Chev 0:17.880 100.671
32  71  Harold Fair Jr  Left Hander/VP Fuel/Lane Auto    Chev 0:17.888 100.626
33  59  John Wilkinson III Quality Lube/City Auto/Hamner Chev 0:17.903 100.542
34  92  Ron McDonald    Eddie mercer Auto/Phoenix Const  Chev 0:17.903 100.542
35  24  Keith English   Eagle Tire Serv/Matthews Roofing Chev 0:17.965 100.195
36  61  Matt Hagens     Eagle Creek Aviation/Port City   Chev 0:18.005 99.972
37  81  Tim Bryant      Harrington Elec/P'Cola Auto BrokrChev 0:18.012 99.933
38  98  Jody Ridley     El Puente/Pro Line Door          Ford 0:18.038 99.789
39  23  Steve Allison   Allison & Assoc/Castens Race ProdChev 0:18.060 99.668
40  65  Andy Kirby      Bob Williams Auto/S&H Chrome     Chev 0:18.060 99.668
41  49  Dan Ford        Ford Roofing/Buddy Head Trucking Chev 0:18.075 99.585
42  15  Ricky Brooks    Butler Auto/MAACO/Sunoco         Chev 0:18.158 99.130
43  03  Nevin Jenkins   Futronics                        Chev 0:18.190 98.955
44  40  Bubba Naumann   NECO Trucking                    Chev 0:18.216 98.814
45 711  Johnny Brazier  Frogg Toggs/Moody Monday's       Ford 0:18.267 98.538
46  52  Ronnie Couture  Pensacola Tractor/Hicks Ent.     Chev 0:18.340 98.146
47  94  Brett Smith     Stanley Smith Drywall            Chev 0:18.500 97.297
48  17  Billy Cantey    Discount Auto Parts              Chev 0:18.503 97.282
49  84  Clifford Stricklin Grahams Auto Sales/R&H Whsl   Chev 0:18.505 97.271
50  91h Kevin Horton    Wattyl Paint/Magbee Const        Chev 0:18.580 96.878
51  90  Homer Heflin    Heflin Motorsports               Chev 0:19.557 92.039
52  60  John Silverthorne Reher Morrison Race Engines    Chev 0:19.592 91.874
Track Length      :  0.5000 Miles

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel