The first half of the 2016 Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco season has seen many stars of the Southeast compete toe to toe against one another. Now, as the series returns to the State of Alabama this weekend, one driver is ready to return to his “Sweet Home” and get back into the mix.
Alabama driver Augie Grill has been a staple on the Southern Super Series (SSS) since its inception, but lately he has taken time to focus on his day job of building and repairing race cars, some of which you can find in SSS competition. But this Saturday, June 18, Grill returns to the series for his fourth start of 2016 in the “Rumble by the River” 125 at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
The popular veteran racer will return to competition with a car that is still fairly new but has just the right amount of track time following May’s Pensacola/Mobile doubleheader.
“It was brand new a couple weeks ago at Pensacola and Mobile. We had to work some bugs out,” said Grill. “Hopefully when we go to Montgomery this weekend we’ll be a little better than we were at Mobile.”
Montgomery is a track that has treated Grill well from day one of his Late Model career. His resume at the track includes four major victories and an abundance of consistency, including third and fourth-place finishes in the two events for the SSS in 2015.
“It’s always been a good track for me,” stated Grill. “It seems like even when things aren’t going well, we go there and run pretty good. It’s meant a lot, the first time I ever went there I finished second in a Southern All Star Pro Late Model race which at the time was big to me because I’ve never really driven anything but go-karts. It’s meant a little extra to me, it seems to have been my best track over the years.”
Since the closing of Birmingham International Raceway after the 2007 season, Montgomery has become more of a home track for Grill, whose home and business is in the Birmingham area. His race shop, Grand American Race Cars, has become a great focus over the years with more teams buying their race cars from the shop. While Grill has been more than happy with the business, it has meant less time behind the wheel.
“It’s been good. We’ve been steady, more than steady actually. We’ve been covered up, been working on a lot of wrecks, trying to get new cars going, but it’s hard to get all of the wrecks out of here at once,” said Grill. “It’s been busy, we’ve only ran three races ourselves. It’s hard to get away and do a whole lot when we’re covered up in here.”
With less time in his own cars, the usual rhythm he has gotten used to for many years is not as strong as it has been and has led to some tough decisions that have involved the passing up of some races.
“We don’t have the confidence going to the racetrack now that we normally do when we’re running 20-25 races a year. We’re not doing it enough to stay on top of things,” Grill explained. “But, I feel like we’ve run pretty the good the times we have, considering I don’t run as much as I used to. It’s tough weighing it out at times trying to decide whether or not we need to go to the race track or stay here and work. A lot of times staying to work is a lot more feasible because we don’t spend money and actually make a little money.”
Despite the decision to put more time into building racecars for customers, Grill thinks that this is as a good a chance as any to get some momentum behind his personal racing effort once again.
“Possibly, if we gain on it and get the car going better, a good finish or getting a win would be great. Hopefully we can do that and like I said Montgomery is as good a place to go as any. Hope to get on top of the heap and get a good finish.”
-51 Sports/Southern Super Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com