Pro Late Model teams from around the country took the opportunity to practice Friday afternoon at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) in preparation for the 56th Annual Alabama 200 “Hunt for the Bear”. The five hour-long session, scored via transponder and broken into several timed segments, saw an “invader” top the overall charts with a fast time of 19.377 seconds.
Willie Allen is no stranger to this particular half mile of Alabama asphalt, but the 39-year-old isn’t from around the area, either. Traveling down from Tennessee, Allen is hoping he can do this weekend what only a handful of outsiders— comprised mostly of Georgians, at that— have been able to accomplish in the history of the race.
Blazing the charts in the first practice of the weekend is a good place to start.
“We’ve finished second in this race a few times, came really close,” Allen told Speed51. “[Augie Grill] has raced this race, a lot. We’ve had a good car, definitely one of the best cars we’ve had down here. Gotta keep dialing on it.”
In all his times of hunting “a lot”, Augie Grill has captured five bear trophies. It’s no surprise that just before Allen ran the quickest lap of the day, Grill was poised to do the same.
Despite being bested for the evening in his Pro Late Model, Grill still managed to show the most speed out of the Modifieds and isn’t counting out a double-duty sweep of the weekend just yet.
“It’d be pretty cool, maybe Stan will give me another plaque for winning six of them,” Grill joked. “I feel like I should probably have ten, but I got snookered out of a few of them, got wrecked out of one or two. Nobody’s won five, I’ve done that. So maybe if I can win six, nobody will be able to beat that.”
Three younger drivers rounded out the top five behind the veterans, including NASCAR Drive for Diversity participant Perry Patino, Hunter Wright and Jake Garcia, who just earned his learner’s permit earlier in the week.
The 56th Alabama 200 is slated for Saturday night at Montgomery Motor Speedway and you can see all the night's racing on Speed51 starting at 4:30pm CT/5:30pm ET with qualifying for both the Modifieds of Mayhem Tour and Show Me The Money Pro Late Model Series. Racing begins at 6:30 CT with the Hunt for the Bear 56 for the Modifieds of Mayhem followed by the Alabama 200 for the Pro Late Models.
The night's broadcast is available for all Speed51 Network subscribers. For those who are not members, click here to join today.
-Story and photo by: Melissa Strahley, Speed51 Gulf Coast Editor