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Snowball Derby Rewind: December 4

Plenty of history has been made on this date in the Snowball Derby.


hero image for Snowball Derby Rewind: December 4

Each day during our Snowball Derby coverage this week, we will look back on significant Snowball Derby moments that have taken place during the event's history. Today, we look at memorable races on December 4 during the Snowball Derby week.

56th Derby


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One year after winning the Snowball Derby, Darrell Waltrip pulled off the win again in 1977...or so we thought. A check of the scoring revealed that Waltrip had made up an extra lap in the pits and the win went to Ronnie Sanders. Waltrip still has the trophy and Sanders has the money. A second trophy was made and awarded to Sanders in the spring. Buck Simmons finished second and Waltrip was relegated to third.

RESULTS: 1977 Snowball Derby

Mickey Gibbs held off the late charges as Jody Ridley and Ray Putnam made up the podium in the 1983 Snowball Derby. It was the only time that car No. 1 won the race and the first time a winner had come from 13th to win the show. Gibbs stayed out, played the cards right and got lucky on old tires for his lone Snowball victory.

RESULTS: 1983 Snowball Derby

For the second year in a row, it was a V6 powerplant that tasted victory at the Snowball Derby. This time it was Wisconsin driver Ted Musgrave who scored the win in the 1988 race with Howie Lettow as his crew chief. The race was dominated by pole sitter Rick Crawford who finished second. Late in the race, Mike Alexander was badly injured and his racing career was never the same after.

RESULTS: 1988 Snowball Derby

History was made in 1994 when Tammy Jo Kirk outlasted the field in a wild race that saw 21 yellows for 133 laps. Kirk led only the final few laps to become the first female driver to win the Snowball Derby. Prior to getting the lead, Wayne Willard was spun out by Jeff Purvis and Kirk snuck by to take over the top spot. Eddie Mercer and Purvis couldn’t run her down after that.

RESULTS: 1994 Snowball Derby

On his 17th attempt, local favorite Eddie Mercer finally wins the Snowball Derby in 2005. Mercer sat on the pole and led three times for 99 laps. Mercer got by Steve Wallace in the late stages and got the Snowball Derby monkey off his back. He became the first Pensacola driver in 32 years to win the race. After the race, he said in victory lane that his racing career was complete after winning the Snowball Derby.

RESULTS: 2005 Snowball Derby

Chase Elliott scored his first Snowball Derby triumph in 2011, outdueling D.J. VanderLey for the victory. The two drivers exchanged the lead five times in the final 100 laps, with Elliott passing VanderLey on the final lap for the win.

RESULTS: 2011 Snowball Derby



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