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Snowball Derby Rookie of the Year to Earn $10,000

It's the Welcome to Pensacola Rookie of the Race Award


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Five Flags Speedway is hoping to present the most robust rookie of the year class in the history of the Snowball Derby and general manager Tim Bryant is putting some money where his figurative mouth is.

That’s because the highest finishing driver making his first start in the Super Bowl of Short Track Racing will earn an extra $10,000 in addition to whatever else they collect by the end of the weekend. Bryant made the announcement on The Bullring on Wednesday and detailed the imitative to Racing America as well.

The formal name for the program is the Welcome to Pensacola Rookie of the Race and it will pay the bonus to the highest finishing driver making their debut in the Snowball Derby. Bryant says the impetus for the program was giving teams with rookie drivers on the fence to encouragement to make the trip south for the first week in December.

"We’re giving them 10,000 extra reasons," said Bryant, the 1982 Snowball Derby rookie of the year.

At the end of the day, it’s really challenging to expect a rookie to immediately outduel the likes of Ty Majeski, Derek Thorn, Chandler Smith, Bubba Pollard or Stephen Nasse. Now, there is an increased incentive to make the journey even if that driver doesn’t have the seat amount of seat time at Five Flags as their veteran counterparts.

A top-5 could even result in a payout just under what the winner earns.

"That's exactly it," Bryant said. "We want to reach those teams with rookie drivers that are on the fence and give them those $10,000 reasons to race the Snowball Derby."

The list of previous rookie of the races reads like a Snowball Derby Hall of Fame and the 2022 recipient will also earn an addition 10 grand for the honor as well.

List of Snowball Derby Rookies of the Year

1968 Wayne Niedecken Jr.
1969 Friday Hassler
1970 Dennie Rewls
1971 Dickie Davis
1972 Darrell Waltrip
1973 Russell Nelson
1974 Joe Richey
1975 Steve Britt
1976 Harry Gant
1977 Sandy Goss
1978 Rick Wilson
1979 Dick Trickle
1980 Gary Balough
1981 Carl Willford
1982 Tim Bryant
1983 Darrell Brown
1984 Butch Miller
1985 Larry Rains
1986 Bobby Gill
1987 Ted Musgrave
1988 Ernie Irvan
1989 Rich Bickle
1990 Tim Steele
1991 Jason Keller
1992 Gary St. Amant
1993 Toby Porter
1994 Frederick Moore
1995 Ron Barfield Jr.
1996 Mardy Lindley
1997 Tim Sauter
1998 Ronnie Burkett
1999 Donnie Hill
2000 Clay Rogers
2001 Travis Kittleson
2002 Jack Landis
2003 Kevin Cywinski
2004 Randy Gentry
2005 Augie Grill
2006 Shaun McWhirter
2007 Brian Campbell
2008 Shane Sieg
2009 Chase Elliott
2010 Derrick Griffin
2011 DJ Vanderley
2012 Erik Jones
2013 Paul Shafer
2014 Dalton Sargeant
2015 Zane Smith
2016 Chandler Smith
2017 Chase Purdy
2018 Tyler Ankrum
2019 Travis Braden
2020 Daniel Dye
2021 Sammy Smith