The Rattler 250 is one of the biggest Super Late Model races of the season, and also kicks off the new Southern Super Series campaign each year. With the event being this Sunday, we wanted to take and in-depth look at the race by going By the Numbers.
1: This will be the first Rattler 250 start for CARS Tour Super Late Model champion Raphael Lessard. The Canadian driver will not chase points this year at the Super Late Model level as he will run ARCA Racing Series races this summer.
3: Ronnie Sanders is the only three-time winner of the Rattler 250. He won the race in three different decades. He also won the Pro Rattler 125 in 2007.
4: Bubba Pollard has failed to finish all four Rattler 250’s he’s run since he won back in 2012. In fact he’s only made the 200 lap mark once since then. Pollard was a model of consistency before that having finished second twice and winning in a four-year span.
5: The Rattler 250 has now featured five first-time winners in a row. Ty Majeski, Christopher Bell, Casey Roderick, Kyle Benjamin and Bubba Pollard all have led the string of first time winners. Grant Enfinger won his second Rattler 250 in 2011.
12: As the history grows for this spring time race so does it’s legacy. The race was historically a 100-lap shootout until the year 2006 when it became a 250. Since then it has become the major extra distance spring time race in the south.
79: It’s good to see the 79 machine of Kyle Bryant on the entry list. Bryant doesn’t get to make too many starts away from his home track of Five Flags Speedway. He did run the Rattler once back in 2014 and posted a top 10 run. It would be cool to see him make more events, but having him at the Rattler is a good start.
242: Ty Majeski led a record 242 laps last year in the Rattler 250. This after Christopher Bell set the mark with 203 the year before.
533: Augie Grill is a two-time winner of the Rattler 250 and he’s led a total of 533 laps in the main event.
Podium: The more we look down the 2016 results the more we see of Christian Eckes. The New York driver ended the season well with three straight wins at three marquee events including the season-ending Snowball Derby. However his spring was just impressive as he was quietly there ever single week. The Rattler was no exception as he came home a solid third.
Former Winners: The field will feature former Rattler 250 winners Ty Majeski, Augie Grill, Bubba Pollard, and Casey Roderick. To be fair, former winners will also be in the pits in the like of Ronnie Sanders, and Jeff Fultz who will be working on cars that weekend seeking wins as car owners.
Second Runners: It always seems likes big name drivers come home second in this historic event. In more recent years Donnie Wilson and Stephen Nasse are just a few. Bubba Pollard came home second before scoring a win at the Rattler.
No 250: NASCAR Cup driver Chase Elliott has three top fives runs at the Rattler 250, but it is one event that he never won. Thats saying a lot about a driver who won just about everything in Super Late Models and how competitive the Rattler is.
Under The Banner: The Rattler has run under the Southern Super Series banner the last few years, but it has also run under the NASCAR All American Challenge Series, NASCAR Late Model Sportsman, CRA South, and the Southern All Stars.
Augue Grill : Had led 533 laps in the Rattler 250 and has two wins. It’s been a while since he’s been in contention late in a race at South Alabama. He ran his pro car really strong at Montgomery a few weeks back.
Donnie Wilson: His first race as the defending champion comes at a track that owes him one. He was second back in 2011 to Grant Enfinger as he was right in the tire track peppering his tail gate. Wilson has had four of his six wins take place in the state of Alabama.
Garrett Jones: This could be a breakout year for Garrett Jones who got his first SSS win last year. He was fifth at the rattler 250 in 2015. Now he looks to start the season off strong with another good run at the Rattler 250.
Harrison Burton: He was the Speedweeks champion and he was the SpeedFest champion and Harrison Burton is bringing his A-game to South Alabama. Burton is fresh off his first CARS Tour win and is the favorite heading to the Rattler.
Bubba Pollard: A former Rattler winner started the year with a win at the Red-Eye 100 at New Smyrna. He was strong in California at the Winter Showdown and the stats tell us he’s due for a strong run at the Rattler 250.
Jeff Choquette: Fresh off a big Speedweeks where he won in three classes and the Pro Late Model title, Choquette returns to the Rattler looking to finish what he’s never been able to finish.
2015 – The record books show that Christopher Bell won the Rattler in 2015. In the footnotes is the true complexion of the race after a wreck on the second lap of the race took out 13 cars. Several contenders were wiped out or damaged, leaving the front runners to run away.
2014 – The lead was not the place to be. Bubba Pollard, Augie Grill and Daniel Hemric all took turns out front, but all came away as spectators watching Casey Roderick outlast all the crazy to win the race.
2012 – After leading the first 105 laps, Kyle Benjamin looked to be on his way to his first Rattler 250 win. Benjamin ended up tangling with DJ VanderLey and Benjamin ended up on his roof and out of the race. The two had a war of words over the microphone in frustration. Bubba Pollard would win the race and Benjamin complete his Rattler quest with a win the next year.
2011 – Only four years after the wild 2007, finish the leaders tangled again late in the race. Chase Elliott tried to take the lead three wide on Grant Enfinger and Bubba Pollard which left Pollard spinning and Elliott at the rear for rough driving. Enfinger won the race, and Elliott could only get back to fifth.
2007 – It’s the most famous lap in Rattler history. Angie Grill and Hunter Robbins were battling for the win and as they came out of turn four on the final laps they made contact which put both out of control and Grill slid across the line as the winner and Robbins into the first turn tires.
2006: Was the first year the race was changed to 250 laps. When the dust settled it was Ryan Crane sneaking by Charlie Bradberry in the final laps to post the win. Ricky Turner was second as Bradberry came home third. Active drivers Bubba Pollard and Augie Grill posted top 10 runs.
2001: Three is a Magic Number for Ronnie Sanders who is still the only three-time Rattler 250 winner. Sanders wins came before the race was extended to 250 laps. Sanders is one of the best drivers and now car owners to ever run at South Alabama Speedway.
1993: The infamous blizzard of 1993 not only washed out the NASCAR race at Atlanta in 1993, but it also got the Rattler. Not many races can say they got snowed out.
1979: Billy McGinnis won the Rattler 100 when it was at first a NASCAR Late Model Sportsman race. He held off Junior Niedecken for the win.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Contributor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman