SpongeBob wakes up, as well as Gary, as he blows a trumpet in his face. He tells the world he is ready. He sees Squidward getting a package in the mail, with the Norton erroneously pronouncing his last name as "Tennisballs." SpongeBob questions that Squidward's last name is "Tentacles,". He opens the cage, which contains a snail named Snellie. Patrick checks out Squidward's new snail. SpongeBob sees this and tells Gary that he has a new little playmate. However, Squidward immediately protests and 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 and she will win it. SpongeBob says that he can't enter Gary because Sunday is laundry day. Squidward then tells SpongeBob that he can't enter Gary because Gary is a "mutt," which offends SpongeBob. He asks what makes Squidward think Gary couldn't win. Squidward says the paper. Patrick reads Snellie's pedigree certificate and misreads Squidward's name as "Tentpoles," which makes Squidward angry again. SpongeBob decides to enter Gary into the snail race. Patrick also decides to enter into the competition. SpongeBob (wearing a fake mustache and a coach's outfit) tells Gary to start training now, even calling him a 'lady' to demean him, which causes a walking Sandy to decide to kick SpongeBob's butt the following day, but she doesn't know why.
SpongeBob makes a shake with weird ingredients and gives it to Gary, but Gary runs to the living room. Patrick shows SpongeBob his snail, which is a rock. Patrick says he has nerves of steel.
SpongeBob decides to train Gary as hard as he can. On the day of the race, Gary is exhausted from SpongeBob's brutal training. During the race, his eyes bursts like a balloon, then his shell breaks open , revealing 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 now, 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 that it's 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, and SpongeBob says to him, "Looks like you and I are in-laws, eh, Squidward?" Squidward then sees that, much to his surprise, Patrick's rock won the race. Patrick was then very proud of his rock. Squidward is very upset by this, but Patrick then tells Squidward that he had the trophy engraved to him, and gives it to him, knowing how much Squidward wanted to win. Squidward thanks, Patrick, but then reads the trophy, which reads "The 1st place Snail Racing cup presented to Squidward... TORTELLINI?!" He groans and says "Will I ever win?," and they all start laughing and then Sandy suddenly appears onscreen kicking SpongeBob into the air yelling "That's for yesterday, SquarePants!"
As of February 82017, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.7/10 based on 258 ratings by users. TV.com users give this episode a rating of 8.6/10 based on 144 votes.
"The Great Snail Race" was ranked #35 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.
This is the episode where SpongeBob SquarePants found out Squidward's last name.
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).
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)