Having survived a few track closures, the Alabama 200 is still going strong as it will enter its third year as a Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco event on Sunday, September 13. The race is the marquee event on the schedule having been a part of all three SSS seasons.
While the race’s historical record books are incomplete, the knowledge that we have shows that it’s one of the more productive races in south that’s older than the World Crown, the Snowball Derby and most other short track races in the country.
A year ago the Alabama 200 saw Augie Grill dominate only to be taken out by a late race wreck. Anderson Bowen surged to the lead after taking tires late to bring the top prize in Alabama back to Georgia for the second year in a row. Bowen beat out Daniel Hemric and Casey Roderick for the win.
The race was first run in 1960 with Crash Bond going to victory lane. Since then it’s been run as a NASCAR Sprint Cup race (NASCAR Grand National at the time), a Super Late Model race and a Pro Late Model race.
Richard Petty and Bobby Allison captured wins in the Alabama 200 at Montgomery in what was Sprint Cup at the time. Friday Hassler and Joe Lee Johnson were some of the other winners if this event in the early years.
Some veteran drivers in their younger years won the Alabama 200 in the 1970s. A pair went to Georgia standout out Jody Ridley. Fellow Peach State driver Ronnie Sanders also captured the Alabama 200 on two occasions in the 70s.
Other drivers who took wins in the 70′s included Buck Simmons, Neil Bonnett, Ed Howe and Red Farmer. The decade was one of the best for the Alabama 200 that would face on again and off again status in the later decades.
This is the one decade that seems to be missing the most Information. The events in 1980, 1981 and from 1986 to 1990 track historians have failed to find any information. Outside of that, Wayne Newton (the racer from Alabama, not the Las Vegas singer), Mike Oliver and Mike Alexander took wins at Montgomery.
It was a decade that saw sanctioning with the Southern All Stars Series as Dave Mader, III, Junior Niedecken and Eddie Mercer all tasted victory in the Alabama 200. Mike Harmon, Clay Brown and Bobby Gill all took wins in the race in years prior to the sanctioning body’s run of hosting the Alabama 200.
2000 and Beyond
In recent years Chase Elliott and Mason Massey have added their names to the Alabama 200 history books. Augie Grill is officially a four time champion of the Alabama 200. One of those wins came at South Alabama Speedway as that track took the name of the Alabama 200 while the track in Montgomery was closed.
Jason Hogan, Ted Musgrave, Jr. and Hunter Robbins have all taken wins in the race during since the year 2000. Gary Helton won the race in 2000 which incidentally was the last year the race was run as a 200 lap Super Late Model show until the 2013 season when it became a Southern Super Series event. Since then Chase Elliott and Anderson Bowen have taken home wins.
Note: The history of this race is incomplete. Thanks to Mark Chisum and others for their hours of research to find the information out of old newspapers and programs.
-By Elgin Traylor – Correspondent, Speed51.com – Twitter: @elgintraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com