The start of the 2019 short track season saw a significant schedule change that not only was a benefit to the host racetrack, but to the entire sport of Pavement Late Model racing itself. After decades of running during the fall months, Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) general manager Stan Narrison made the major decision to move the prestigious Alabama 200 to early March.
While the date change for the marquee Pro Late Model race proved to be beneficial for all involved, it seemed to go above everyone’s high expectations. With success in hand, Montgomery is ready to do it again, with the 2020 edition of the Alabama 200 slated for Saturday, March 7. Only this time around, Narrison and his staff are setting their expectations just a bit higher.
“It was a home run for us. It worked well. The people really want to test their equipment early in the year,” Narrison told Speed51. “It was great racing. I’m just real, real happy with it. There’s a reason the big boys start off at Daytona and it’s kind of that same thing. We were able to get such great press rolling into last season knowing that we started off with a big bang like that.”
The Alabama 200 will also serve as the season-opener for Montgomery’s Show Me the Money Series for Pro Late Models for the second-straight year. A championship that has also exceeded expectations since its first running nearly a decade ago, the series has made great strides in highlighting great drivers in the Pro Late Model ranks of the Deep South, including many local stars from Alabama.
“It was something when I came here that I wanted to bring back the Show Me the Money Series, which we did,” Narrison said. “We love the fact that we got local talent that’s running with us; that’s something we really needed to build up here. We got some great Pro Late Model drivers that are local and support the program.”
At the same time, both the Alabama 200 and the Show Me the Money Series have been instrumental in pitting those local stars against the nation’s best Late Model stars.
“The biggest thing that the fans got out of it is they were able to see such a large cross selection of drivers that have come in; Casey Roderick is a big factor here, Bubba Pollard showed up a couple of times. When you see that type of thing, these guys bringing their A-game, that’s what’s impressed the fans more than anything.”
Once again in 2020, the Alabama 200 will boast a $7,000 winner’s share of the purse with a guaranteed $600 to start the race. With bonuses, such as $250 to the pole winner, drivers who travel from both far and near will have plenty to compete for over the 200 laps. And when we say far, we mean far, at least potentially.
“When the first registration for Alabama 200 came in, it was from a driver from Indiana, and I thought that was great. It’s what the event has become, and it is what the Pro Late Model division has become. We’re open this year, we’ve even had some calls from some of the Canadian guys, a couple of them keep their cars with Grand American Racecars.”
The crowd for the 2020 Alabama 200 is expected to pack the stands from top to bottom on March 7, but for those across the land unable to make it down to “Sweet Home Alabama,” Speed51 will once again be your live broadcast home for this short track classic.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51