If you were looking for the article about the event, then see The Great Snail Race (event).
If you were looking for the article about the book, then see The Great Snail Race (book).
If you were looking for the article about the online game, then see The Great Snail Race (online game).

"The Great Snail Race" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season three. In this episode, Bikini Bottom holds a snail race.



SpongeBob wakes up and sees Squidward getting a package in the mail. Squidward opens what ends up being a cage, which contains a snail named Snellie. He explains that Snellie is a purebred of the highest pedigree and that she is going to be entered in the Bikini Bottom Snail Race on Sunday, which she is almost sure to win. Upon hearing this, SpongeBob decides to enter Gary into the snail race to spite Squidward. Patrick also decides to enter into the competition, albeit with his pet rock, who he christens "Rocky".

The Great Snail Race 142

Exhausted Gary.

SpongeBob decides to train Gary as hard as he can before the big day. On the day of the race, Gary is exhausted from SpongeBob's brutal training. During the race, his eyes burst like a balloon, his shell breaks open (like a car engine) and he spins out of control, leaving skid marks. SpongeBob, seeing the error of his ways, tells Gary that he can stop, but Gary keeps on going, loses control of himself, hits the wall, and explodes completely. An upset SpongeBob runs up to him onto the track, which the announcer says is an "automatic disqualification", and embraces him, crying.

Snellie, who is almost at the finish line, turns around to help Gary, and the two instantly fall in love. Squidward is shocked at this and walks onto the track. Squidward then sees that, much to his surprise, Patrick's rock won the race. However, Patrick has the trophy engraved in Squidward's honor knowing how much he wanted to win, and gives it to him. As part of a gag where Squidward's name is mispronounced throughout the episode, Squidward's name is printed "Squidward Tortellini". Sandy suddenly appears onscreen and kicks SpongeBob into the air for his sexist insult towards Gary the day before as the episode ends.

Running gags

  • Someone mispronouncing Squidward's last name.
  • Patrick thinking his rock is a snail.
  • Someone telling Patrick his snail is a rock and Patrick responding, "Yeah, thanks. I know. He's got nerves of steel."



 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music
  Fight! Fight! Fight! A - Will Schaefer [title card]

  William Tell Overture - Nicolas Carr [SpongeBob playing bugle]
  Dancing the Hula - Kapono Beamer [Squidward's new snail]
  Apalachian Banjo Duel - Larry Hochman [" Gary's a mutt."]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr [Gary imagines himself watching TV]
  Meet the Family - Alan Hawkshaw [Gary imagines himself watching TV]
  Deadline - Sam Spence ["Looks like we're gonna start our training now, ladies."]
  Astronauts March - Sam Spence [protein shake]
  Meet the Family - Alan Hawkshaw [Gary watching TV]
  Pell-Mell - Sam Spence [sprints]
  Meet the Family - Alan Hawkshaw [Gary watching TV again]
  Steve's March - Sam Spence [training montage]
  Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill [Gary is exhausted]
  The Zodiac - David Lindup [at the stadium]
  Fight! Fight! Fight! A - Will Schaefer [pre-game ceremony]
  Bad Marching Band - Brad Carow, Robert Lee Faust, Ira Nepus [tired band]
  Charge - Will Schaefer ["The torch is lit! Let the race begin!"]
  Open - Tom Hedden [pep talks]
  The Wild Bunch - Sam Spence [race starts]
  Dramatic Cue (g) - Ronald Hanmer [SpongeBob runs onto the track]
  Hawaiian Cocktail - Richard Myhill ["Oh, Gary, I'm sorry!"]
  Romeo & Juliet Overture - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Fiachra Trench [Snellie comforts Gary]
  Miss World (c) - Tony Kinsey [ending]



  • "The Great Snail Race" was ranked #35 during the Best Day Ever event from November 9–10, 2006.



  • This episode premiered in Canada on November 6, 2002, before it premiered in the United States.
  • The music cue "Fight! Fight! Fight! (a)" played during the title card and when Lightning Larry lights the torch is the tune to "Now That We're Men" from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
  • According to sound designer Jeffery Hutchins, Gary breaking down like a car engine is actually coming from a Camaro as Hutchins pulled a spark plug wire out. A friend of his recorded the Camaro from his truck side by side up the hill to the Hollywood sign.[2]
  • This episode marks the first time Gary falls in love. It would happen again in "Gary in Love".
  • The Bikini Bottom mayor in this episode is also the first mayor of New Kelp City in "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?"
  • In the Brazilian dubbing, Squidward's last name "Tentáculos" is misspelled "Tem Tacos" (have clubs) by the mailman and "Tem Óculos" (have eyeglasses) by Patrick. Snellie is called "Caracolina," a combination of "Caracol" (snail) and "Carolina" (a given name).
  • There is an online game of the same name based on this episode.
  • There is a book of the same name based on this episode.
  • The band members at the Snail Race are wearing the same uniforms as Squidward's Super Band from "Band Geeks."
  • The show that Gary watches in his daydream is implied to be the same one that Patrick watches in "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve."
  • In the Indonesian dub, Squidward refers to Snellie's certificate paper as "koran" (newspaper).
  • Sandy's scenes were removed in all book adaptations of this episode.
  • This is the only episode on the Where's Gary? (DVD) that isn't from season 4.

Cultural references

  • "Lightning Larry Luciano" is a reference to the mobster "Lucky Luciano."
  • The torch that indicates the start of the race is a parody of The Olympic Flame, a symbol of the Olympics.
  • The coffee mug that the sports guy drinks (the I ❤️ BB mug) is a reference to the the I ❤️ NY slogan
  • Squidward's line "That's 'Tennis Balls' - er, 'Tentacles' " is a reference to the book Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future in the Captain Underpants series.



Merriwether Williams version


Joe Liss version

  • Merriwether Williams is credited as the third writer on this episode in the original airing[3], early airings[4], DVD releases, and international non-US airings. But on recent airings on Nickelodeon USA[5] and digital releases, Joe Liss is credited instead.
The Great Snail Race 191

Fred with no pants; Nat and Harold's body are missing.

  • In the audience at Oyster Stadium, if one would look at Fred closely, he is missing his pants. Also in the back, Nat and Harold's legs are gone.
  • When SpongeBob says, "Gary, are you listening to me?!" he is shown out of the Oyster Stadium.
  • When SpongeBob says “Don’t give me that look!” Gary is in the outer lane when in reality he is in the middle lane.
  • Gary crashes into a wall and is still on the track.
    • When the race begins, the track is in the center of the stadium, far from the walls.
  • SpongeBob was wearing red pants, but in Oyster Stadium, there is a close-up where Gary is on the floor and SpongeBob's pants are blue.
  • When Patrick is standing on Squidward's neck, his legs are not seen out the window.
  • There are only three lanes in the track. However, when Gary is losing control, there are more lanes.
The Great Snail Race 034

Patrick's eyelids turn pink.

  • Right after Squidward says, "That's Tennisballs!" and when Patrick blinks, his eyelids are pink.
  • When Gary is spinning out of control, there are at least five lanes on the track, but before, there are only three.
  • When SpongeBob runs to help Gary in the race, Patrick's "snail" disappears.
  • Occasionally, on Nickelodeon airings, the episode may end before Sandy finishes her sentence. Ending with "That's for yesterday, Square-" instead of "That's for yesterday SquarePants!"


SpongeBob’s Totally Righteous 80’s Remix 🐌 ‘The Great Snail Race’ Nick

SpongeBob’s Totally Righteous 80’s Remix 🐌 ‘The Great Snail Race’ Nick


Awards and nominations for SpongeBob SquarePants (VE)

Golden Reel Awards StatueStraight

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation – Music

Nominees: Stephen Hillenburg, Donna Castricone, Nicholas R. Jennings, Alan Smart, Peter Burns, Doug Lawrence, Derek Drymon, Alex Gordon, Donna Grillo, Jennie Monica, Krandal Crews, Jim Leber, Justin Brinsfield, Tony Ostyn, Nicolas Carr (for "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy"/"Pickles;" 2000)Nicolas Carr (for "Fools in April"/"Neptune's Spatula" in 2001; for "Jellyfish Hunter"/"The Fry Cook Games" in 2002; for "Wet Painters"/"Krusty Krab Training Video" in 2003; for "The Great Snail Race"/"Mid-Life Crustacean" in 2004) • Jimmy Lifton, D.J. Lynch, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn and Paulette Lifton (for "Mid-Life Crustacean;" 2004)

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation – Sound

Nominees: Nicolas Carr (for "Karate Choppers;" 2000) • Andrea Anderson, Jimmy Lifton, Monette Holderer, D.J. Lynch, Vincent Gutisetti, Jeff Hutchins and Gabriel Rosas (for "Rock Bottom"/"Arrgh!;" 2001)

Best Sound Editing in Television – Animation

Nominees: Timothy J. Borquez, Jeff Hutchins and Daisuke Sawa (for "The Secret Box"/"Band Geeks;" 2002)

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation

Nominees: Jimmy Lifton, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn and Chris Gresham (for "Nasty Patty"/"Idiot Box;" 2012)

Best Sound Editing in Television: Animated

Nominees: Jimmy Lifton, Nicolas Carr, D.J. Lynch, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn, Chris Gresham and Paulette Lifton (for "Pranks a Lot"/"SpongeBob Meets the Strangler;" 2005) • Vincent Gutisetti, Jimmy Lifton, Nicolas Carr, Monique Reymond, D.J. Lynch, Mark Howlett, Jeff Hutchins, Aran Tanchum, Mishelle Smith and Paulette Lifton (for "Have You Seen This Snail?;" 2006)Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Jason Stiff, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "SpongeHenge;" 2008)

Best Sound Editing: Television Animation

Nominees: : Chiho Oyamada Carr, Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Daisuke Sawa, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Eric Freeman, Dan Cubert, Lawrence Reyes, Jason Stiff, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "Suction Cup Symphony;" 2009) • Chino Oyamada Carr, Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Eric Freeman, Tom Syslo, Keith Dickens, Jason Stiff, Sergio Silva, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One;" 2010)

Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR Animation in Television

Nominees: Devon Bowman, Justin Brinsfield, Nicolas Carr, Andrea Anderson, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Eric Freeman, Tony Orozco and Danny Tchibinda (for "Gary's New Toy;" 2013) • Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Eric Freeman, Bobby Crew, Keith Dickens, Gabriel Rossas and Tony Orozco (for "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!;" 2013)

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