Hoosier driver Mason Keller will continue to expand his racing efforts south during the offseason in the Midwest with two marquee races in the state of Alabama. With the Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway on the docket in the Pro Late Model, he is also scheduled to make his Super Late Model debut in the 44th Annual Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.
A three-time winner in the Pro Late Models between the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, Keller headed south with teammate Chris Hacker for a Pro Late Model event at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway during the All American 400 weekend, as well as the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway. With the promise that has been shown during past trips south, he found now is a good time to try their luck in the Yellowhammer State.
“We really wanted to expand our Pro Late Model deal. We’ve just been strictly running up north in the CRA stuff mainly and a little bit of Berlin, stuff like that,” Keller told Speed51. “Surprisingly, we’ve been pretty strong down at the Derby stacking up against the Southern guys the past two years. If you can go down south and run with those guys it’s making a statement. We just wanted to try our luck.”
While the Alabama 200 will see the team bring out the Pro Late Model, it will be Keller’s Super Late Model debut when he heads back to Alabama two weeks later for one of the marquee Super Late Model races in the Southeast, the Rattler 250. His chases for the black bear at Montgomery and the rattlesnake at South Alabama begin a 2020 season with no set schedule.
Keller spent the last two years chasing the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championship. After finishing second in points with a win at Winchester in 2018, he was arguably the favorite going into the season finale one year ago. However, an early wreck ended his day, relegating him to a third-place points result. As he moves over to the Super in 2020, he says he feels comfortable with getting behind the wheel of one for the first time.
“It’s a pretty cool deal, honestly. We had been talking about it, we’re just hoping that with some of the success we’ve had in the Pro stuff we can carry it over to the Super,” he said. “Everybody says the cars are a lot different and you can drive a lot more off the throttle pedal. I prefer that kind of driving over the Crate car, so hopefully it works out for me.”
It will be his first visits to both Montgomery Motor Speedway and South Alabama Speedway, two tracks that are vastly different in nature. It isn’t something he is sweating, given the number of new tracks his team has pulled into the past two years of competing in Pro Late Models.
“I’ve never been to either one of the tracks before but the more I race, the more I figure out there’s more tracks that I haven’t been to,” he said. “A lot of it for me is adapting to the track and getting used to the line. Watching for all the major bumps and cracks and stuff in the track that will really upset the car. For me, it’s all going to be seat time. You can’t really tell until you sit down in the seat and get on the track and feel it with your hands and feet.”
As the Midwest is set to begin thawing out from the cold winter, Keller and his team are looking forward to getting south and back to the racetrack. While he would like to see good results in the two races, they head to Alabama looking to have some fun.
“If we walk out of both shows with our cars in one piece and everybody with a smile on their face, that would be the ultimate goal right there. If we get anything, a top ten, top fives or anything like that, it would be pretty awesome.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com