After three races, Jeremy Pate finds himself in the top three in Southern Super Series points after a fourth and a third in the Rowdy Energy Twin 100s at Five Flags Speedway alongside Bubba Pollard and Stephen Nasse. This is the result of a partnership with Larry Blount Motorsports on the Super Late Model side that began at the 2019 Rattler 250 and has seen both driver and owner reach new heights in Super Late Model racing in the Southeast.
After a strong 2019 season that saw Pate finish fourth in Southern Super Series points, the team aligned themselves with Jett Motorsports to chase bigger races and a Southern Super Series crown. The alliance showed strength over the weekend, with two top-five finishes to show for it.
“We’re affiliated with the Jett Motorsports team and they take care of Nasse and Choquette and Corey Heim and they have a lot of resources there,” Pate told Speed51’s “The Bullring.” “We went more with Nasse’s setup on Friday. It’s a little different with how he drives compared to mine, it took me about 50 or 60 laps to get used to it.
“It never came in until about 20 to go. We made some adjustments and went towards how I like it to feel for Saturday and missed it just a little bit. We definitely had a long run car on Saturday, but it came in about 50 to go and faded with about 10 to go. We just have to meet it in the middle a little bit there when we come back.”
Pate and Larry Blount Motorsports see themselves at the forefront of an early points battle with two of the country’s best in Pollard and Nasse. While those teams have been together for several years now, this is only the second full season Pate and Blount have been together.
As they continue to catch up to teams that have been together much longer than they have, they look to stay patient and have wins come with time.
“Bubba’s team and that group have been together for probably 10 years and Garcia’s been with his group for three or four years now, and Nasse’s group has been together for a while too. Once you’re there, you’ve got to stay there for a while for the wins to start clicking off. We’re building an inventory and getting a notebook, most of these racetracks will be the first or second time that we’re going to with this car.
“We’re just trying to catch up to them. I tell people all the time, no matter how rich you are you’re not just going in there and beating UPS or FedEx in their job, you’ve got to go in and build and learn and try to find things they don’t necessarily do and improve on that.”
At 42 years old, Pate is normally one of the older drivers in the field at any given race. He has looked into the future of Larry Blount Motorsports and thought about what the team could become in just a short period of time, with a second car or a driver development deal not out of the question down the road.
“With our affiliation with Jett Motorsports, they’re real deep, their inventory is huge. They’re more on the driver development program than necessarily we’re set up for but there are opportunities. We have James Finch’s son Jay, he works on our cars some and I know he helps Casey Roderick some. He comes and works on the race car with us and we’re trying to teach him as much as we can.
“I’d say in the next three or four years as I’m fading now, I’d say we’re going to have a program set in place, whether he sells it all or we pick up a kid and start teaching him too or add a car to the fleet. That’ll all be on Larry and what makes him happy,” he added. “He’s doing this for enjoyment and competitiveness and right now it’s all clicking good. It’s getting through the tough times that shows you what kind of team you are.”
Meanwhile, Pate has also added an Outlaw Stock in recent years to compete at Five Flags Speedway, and even won the Outlaw Stock feature during Snowball Derby weekend in 2018. He purchased the car thinking his Late Model career could possibly be over. The opportunity with Blount gave him a new lease on life in the Late Model world, and he plans to make the most out of it.
“I don’t think I’ll ever quit racing. We talked about it at the Derby two years ago when I finished up my deal with the Reuses with the Pro Late Model deal. I have an Outlaw car that I run locally around here and it really honestly was a gut check because that was probably going to be it. I was going to have my local car and basically race it and enjoy it and have fun.
“This opportunity with Larry came back and has lit a fire under me. We’re coming to the track leading most practices. The expectations are there and when you do it every week or every other week and you’re consistently strong, coming to the racetrack feels different. You’re not struggling or stressing, you’re just going to do your job and not make mistakes and be there at the end regardless.”
Now in their sophomore Southern Super Series season together, the overall goal is much bigger than it was in 2019. They don’t see why they can’t be crowned Southern Super Series champions at the end of the season.
“Last year, our goal was to run every single lap of the Southern Super Series and I missed it by one. This year’s goal is to win the points (championship), I’m trying not to make any unnecessary mistakes. We’re not real deep on car inventory right now, so as things get farther and more settled you might see me make more moves that I wouldn’t make to get those wins.”
Click here to watch a replay of Monday’s episode of “The Bullring.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo