The third Greenville Meltdown Race is set to bring quite the crowd of Super Late Model drivers to South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway this Saturday, February 3. For a few, it will be the first laps they will turn in a Super Late Model on the flat oval.
This week, the number of GPS first-timers went up by one as Alabama veteran Augie Grill decided to throw his name into the mix, with the two-time Snowball Derby winner heading to GPS with a helmet for the first time.
“Never been there as a driver, we’ve had cars there over the years probably a hundred times, just never driven there myself. The past couple of years I’ve talked about going over there and running a race, just have never made that happen. This race this early in the year, not much else going on, just decided that this might be the right time to go try it out,” Grill told Speed51.com.
Grill joins Donnie Wilson as another big-name driver tackling the decades-old track for the first time as a driver. While it will be Grill’s first time driving there, he intends to take the trophy and check; no testing, just winning.
“We have every intention of trying to bring a trophy home. There’s other chances to go test. We’re going to go give it our best and see if we can bring some money home.”
Despite not having logged any laps, Grill has plenty of notes from the pit box and hours on the spotter’s stand, including one such instance where he ended the day in victory lane.
“I have talked with Marty Lindley, just to get this and that about it. Again I’ve been there a bunch of times as a crew chief and just a helper. I’ve got a good idea about it. In fact I spotted for Marty a few years ago in a Hooters Pro Cup race and he actually won it. I know enough about the track, probably enough to get me in trouble really.”
The Meltdown Race is taking the Southeast by storm this year, grabbing the attention of many, including Grill, as early as December.
“We weren’t really ready for it the first year and then last year just kind of snuck up on us. I think I realized it about the Wednesday before the race last year. This year I’ve been thinking about it on and off for about a month and a half, but we decided to go for sure this week.”
With such a stout field on tap, Grill will have his work cut out as races for his first SLM win since September 19, 2014. But Grill wouldn’t have it any other way, especially with the race making a bold stride forward in car count from 2017.
“I’m glad to see that. I know they didn’t have as many last year, but that’s how all races start. You’ve got to get them into people’s heads to be able to know anything about it. It’s going to be a good field. It’s going to be the same cars you race everywhere you go.”
After multiple Pro Late Model and Modified wins in 2017, Grill is set on packing more driving into 2018 while concentrating on running Grand American Race Cars (GARC) and assisting the teams that run the chassis. While nothing is ever certain for Grill, fans can expect to see him on track down the road.
“We’ll see how it goes as always. I plan to do all the Southern Super Series races, but that kind of depends on how the first few races go and how business is. We will probably hit most of the Pro Late Model races at Montgomery. It’s an hour and a half from the shop and it pays pretty good money. So we’ll just pick and choose where we want to go.”
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-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com