One of the most unique events in short track racing takes place this weekend at South Alabama Speedway. Super Late Model racers from all over North America will arrive in Opp, Alabama for the 40th running of The Rattler 250. To get you prepared for the race, which will be streamed live on Speed51.com, 51’s resident “Stat Boy” Elgin Traylor takes a look at the race “by the numbers.”
1: In 2014 Donnie Wilson received one point for making a qualifying lap for the Rattler 250. The race was then rained out and Wilson could not make the return trip. After that race he ran in the top five for the next 10 weeks and picked up three wins. It made several people wonder had he run that race could he have won the title? Wilson has often said that missing the race was fine because there was no pressure on them the rest of the season. This weekend Wilson will be looking to better his 2011 runner up finish by one spot.
1: Kyle Grissom will look to overcome a lap one crash that took him out of last year’s race. Grissom was fourth in 2014, but didn’t get to show anything last year after being involved in the early wreck.
5: Five former Rattler winners have filled entries for the Rattler 250. Christopher Bell, Bubba Pollard, Augie Grill, Johnny Brazier and Casey Roderick.
40: This will be 40th running of the Rattler 250. The race was a twin 50 in it’s first year, but has been a 250-lap race ever since.
91: Ty Majeski, the driver of the No. 91, is one of the hottest drivers in Super Late Model racing today. At the Rattler 250 we will see him square off against all of the south’s best.
112: Augie Grill is a two-time winner of the Rattler 250. Look for him to be in the mix.
250: At 250 laps, The Rattler is the longest on the Southern Super Series schedule. The race used to only be 100 laps many years back, but the March event has grown in popularity and has reached outside the region to draw some of Super Late Model racing’s best since 2005.
2011: Was the last time that the Rattler 250 trophy stayed in the state of Alabama. The trophy has gone to Georgia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma drivers in the last four years which shows a sign that it has become more then a regional race.
Roll Call: The Rattler 250 has an entry list that almost rivals the Snowball Derby. From defending Southern Super Series champion Casey Smith to Speedweeks Super Late Model champion Ty Majeski, all the big names are there. Bubba Pollard will be in attendance after his second win at the Winter Showdown at Kern County in California.
Shameless Plug: The last seven runner-up finishes in The Rattler have been recorded by 51 Sports clients. Former 51 Sports clients Jeff Fultz and Kyle Benjamin, and current 51 Sports client Bubba Pollard have all won the race.
Paging Rookies: How will the rookies fair? Cole Anderson, Derek Scott, Christian Eckes, Quin Houff, Kaz Grala and Derek Kruas are all first-time Rattler 250 racers.
Most Top Fives: Casey Smith has been the top dog among those with strong finishes and no wins in the Rattler 250. With a runner up in 2015, and third-place finishes in 2010, 2012, and 2013, he has scored a total of four podium finishes. Despite not being able to get to victory lane in previous attempts, Smith is confident that he can get a victory this year in the Rattler 250.
Favorite Track?: Stephen Nasse has run four Rattler 250’s and finished all 1000 laps. He has posted finishes of second, fifth, ninth and 10th. Despite not recording a win in previous Rattlers, he’s going to be in the mix on Sunday like always.
Money, Money, Money: There will be $5,000 on the line in the Pro Late Model Race and there could be up to $12,000 on the line for the Rattler 250. Bubba Pollard is fresh off his $40,000 payday which is one of the biggest in recent history. If he sweeps the weekend he could have over 60,000 in winnings already in 2016 counting his SpeedFest win which was worth $7,000.
Year Four: This will be the start of the fourth season for the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco. In the first three seasons we have seen three different champions from three different states and 14 different winners.
Back-to-Back: In 2003 and 2004 Wayne Willard became the only driver to ever win the Rattler 250 in back-to-back years. Since then the feat has not been repeated. Christopher Bell will look to add his name to this short list.
Past Winners of the Rattler 250
1974 – Phil Wendt, Dennie Rewis (Twin 50′s)
1975 – Pete Hamilton
1976 – Buck Simmons
1977 – Russell Nelson
1978 – Dave Mader III
1979 – Billy McGinnis
1980 – Kasper Miles
1981 – Bob Bean
1982 – Ronnie Sanders
1983 – No Race
1984 – Mickey Gibbs
1985 – Mike Alexander
1986 – Daniel Keene
1987 – Rained Out
1988 – No Race
1989 – Bobby Gill
1990 – Jerry Goodwin
1991 – Rained Out
1992 – No Info
1993 – Snowed out
1994 – Nix Bruce
1995 – Wayne Neidecken Jr.
1996 – Johnny Brazier
1997 – No Race
1998 – Dan Beddingfield
1999 – Ronnie Sanders
2000 – Donald Long
2001 – Ronnie Sanders
2002 – Charlie Bradberry
2003 – Wayne Willard
2004 – Wayne Willard
2005 – Jason Hogan
2006 – Ryan Crane
2007 – Augie Grill
2008 – Grant Enfinger
2009 – Augie Grill
2010 – Jeff Fultz
2011 – Grant Enfinger
2012 – Bubba Pollard
2013- Kyle Benjamin
2014 – Casey Roderick
2015 – Christopher Bell
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman