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Taylor Gray, driver of the No. 17 Ford Performance Ford, in action during the Pensacola 200 Presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions for the ARCA Menards Series East at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on Oct. 11, 2020. (Morgan Givens/ARCA Racing)
Taylor Gray, driver of the No. 17 Ford Performance Ford, in action during the Pensacola 200 Presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions for the ARCA Menards Series East at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on Oct. 11, 2020. (Morgan Givens/ARCA Racing)

Track Profile: 5 Flags Speedway

After five consecutive years of racing at 5 Flags Speedway in the early to mid 1990s, the ARCA Menards Series did not race at the paved half-mile oval for 13 years.

The return came in 2019, when Michael Self won an ARCA Menards Series race at the short track in Pensacola, Florida. The platform returned to 5 Flags last season with the final ARCA Menards Series East race of the year, won by series champion Sam Mayer.

And the East Series is back in 2021.

PHOTOS: ARCA Menards Racing at 5 Flags

Then titled the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, what’s now the ARCA Menards Series East raced at 5 Flags in 2013 and 2014 before its return last season.

The Pensacola 200 Presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions is on the ARCA Menards Series East schedule as the second race of the season. Below are more details about the track located in the westernmost city of the Florida panhandle.

Track Profile: 5 Flags Speedway

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Track 5 Flags Speedway
Location Pensacola, Florida
Opened 1953
Layout Oval
Surface Asphalt
Length Half-mile
Width 55 feet (turns), 48 feet (straights)
Banking 15 degrees (turns), 9 degrees (straights)
2020 pole speed 103.087 mph (Grant Enfinger)

5 Flags Speedway, named after what’s known as the “City of Five Flags,” hosted its one and only NASCAR Cup Series race just a couple weeks after the track opened in 1953. Herb Thomas won that event driving his famous Hudson Hornet when the race was called for rain after 140 of the scheduled 200 laps.

These days, 5 Flags Speedway is a gem of a short track known for its production of exciting racing.

Which is why it came as no surprise when last season’s ARCA Menards Series East finale ended in dramatic fashion, with Mayer holding off a charging Ty Gibbs for the victory. With significant banking and a relatively abrasive asphalt surface that’s harsh on tires, 5 Flags Speedway is a challenge for drivers and race strategists alike.

As has been the case since 1968, 5 Flags Speedway is the home of the famed Snowball Derby, a super late model stock car race that attracts some of the biggest names in short track racing every December.

First promoted by Tom Dawson, the Snowball Derby has evolved from the 100-lap feature it was at its inception to a 300-lap race. As 5 Flags Speedway describes it, “while much of the country prepares for winter, the Florida panhandle (offers) a last retreat for those snowbirds with racing in their blood.”

The list of recent Snowball Derby winners is stuffed with drivers who are currently racing in a NASCAR national series. It includes Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Christian Eckes and Noah Gragson.

When Elliott won the Snowball Derby in 2011 shortly after his 16th birthday, he became the event’s youngest winner.

More about 5 Flags Speedway.

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ARCA Menards Series Results at 5 Flags Speedway

Year Date Series Race winner Complete Results
2020 10/11/20 ARCA Menards Series East Sam Mayer Results
2019 03/09/19 ARCA Menards Series Michael Self Results
2014 06/13/14 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East* Ben Rhodes Results
2013 04/13/13 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East* Ben Kennedy Results
1996 05/04/96 ARCA Menards Series Frank Kimmel Results
1995 05/05/95 ARCA Menards Series Bob Schacht Results
1994 05/06/94 ARCA Menards Series Gary Bradberry Results
1993 03/06/93 ARCA Menards Series Harold Fair Results
1992 03/08/92 ARCA Menards Series Roy Payne Results

* – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East now the ARCA Menards Series East