The move of the Alabama 200 from September to this coming Saturday, March 2 is drawing a plethora of names from across the Southeast to compete in the annual crown jewel for Pro Late Model racing at Montgomery Motor Speedway. But it’s not only drawing competitors from the Southeast. It’s also drawing racers from as far away as the Pine Tree State of Maine
Nick Jenkins of Brownville, Maine will be making the over 1,500-mile journey to Montgomery, Alabama for his Alabama 200 debut this weekend.
Jenkins received a lot of recognition in his home state in September 2017 when he won the Boss Hogg 150, one of the state’s biggest Pro Stock races, held at Wiscasset Speedway.
Outside of racing, Jenkins is a road warrior for a living. Now, he’s ready to put that spirit into his 2019 racing schedule.
Montgomery was not on the original travel plans, but after the Pro All Stars Series Winter Meltdown at South Carolina’s Dillon Motor Speedway fell to rain this past weekend, Jenkins was eager to try something else down south.
“I have some friends down there. I knew about the race and when Dillon canceled I felt bad for Jeremy Davis, who’s our chassis builder. He’s been working really hard to get that car ready for Dillon and there wasn’t really anything else coming up for a while,” Jenkins told Speed51.com.
“So, after we looked around we settled on Montgomery,” he continued. “I’ve never run with those guys before. I haven’t competed at all down there, but we’re going to give it a try.”
In his travels, Jenkins has found time to attend a number of races down south, often times supporting fellow racers. He has also made a number of friends over time, including a certain multi-time winner of the Alabama 200.
“I’ve been to a lot of PASS South races to help friends. I’ve gone to the Snowball Derby the last four years, and again I’ve made some friends down there,” Jenkins stated. “Augie Grill is a really good friend of mine, I’m leaning on him a bit this week with some questions about what’s going on down there at Montgomery and what I should bring. I’m looking forward to hanging out with him and his family. It’ll be a good getaway, and if we can come out with a decent finish, it’ll be that much better.”
Even with the wisdom of Augie Grill and the chassis know-how of Jeremy Davis backing him, Jenkins knows that the battle will be tough against an all-star lineup that is expected to include the likes of Bubba Pollard, Casey Roderick, and Grill himself. The goal for the Maine driver is to be in the mix and learn something for the future.
“There are going to be some of the best guys down there. I hope we’re in the ballpark,” Jenkins said. “Just looking to have a solid run, I’d say if we end up in the top ten, that would be really good for us. They run on a different tire, their engine package is a little different than what we have. We get a little bit of a weight break for that, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be what you need at a big track like that. Looking forward to learning about the package we’re bringing there.”
Despite Jenkins planning a presence beyond the Northeast, he still expects to compete close to home throughout the season. In the meantime, he has quite the experience coming up, especially with the Commonwealth Classic at Richmond Raceway (VA) following his trip to Alabama.
“Richmond is next up on the list and we’re going to run all the PASS National races, that was our main focus anyways. That’s what we’re still going to shoot for. We’re going to run a few other PASS North races, we’re going to go run the 250 up at Speedway 660 (NB) which we’ve been wanting to get to.”
Speaking of races to get to, with Jenkins going to Montgomery this weekend, he also feels the experience could help to prepare him for another Pro Late Model crown jewel this coming December.
“We’re looking at knocking some races off the bucket list. We’re looking at running the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags, so this will be a good opportunity this weekend to learn and try some new stuff for this chassis.”
Jenkins’ fans in the Pine Tree State who are unable to attend the 55th Annual Alabama 200 can see all of Saturday’s racing at Montgomery Motor Speedway live on the Speed51 Network for with a monthly or yearly subscription to the 51 Network. If you’re not a current subscriber, click here to sign up today.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com