It’s hard to believe that just five races remain on the 2015 Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco schedule, and yet that’s exactly the case. However, the most competitive Super Late Model series in the country is set to return to action in two weeks with another pivotal Gulf Coast double-header at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and Mobile International Speedway (AL).
As the drivers, teams, officials and even fans prepare for a return to the race track, it’s time to take a look at what’s on-tap for the series and some of the big storylines heading into Pensacola.
Doing the Double: When the Southern Super Series stars take the green flag at Five Flags Speedway on July 24, it will have been two months since the last Gulf Coast weekend. Casey Roderick took home the win at Five Flags last time, with Harrison Burton walking away from Mobile a winner, even though he was the second driver to cross under the checkered flag.
The Points: Casey Smith’s two wins have carried him to the top of the standings with just five races remaining. Smith leads by 35 points over Daniel Hemric, but that gap between Smith and Hemric is guaranteed to grow when the series arrives at Five Flags Speedway. Donnie Wilson, Casey Roderick and Garrett Jones complete the top five in the standings.
Exit Hemric, Enter Kenseth: As of two weeks ago, Daniel Hemric is no longer the driver of the No. 98 Carswell Motorsports Ford. Hemric, the 2013 series champion and a two-time winner this year, told Speed51.com that due to his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series commitments, he can no longer continue racing for the Carswell team. Jake Carswell wasted no time in putting Ross Kenseth behind the wheel. The first Southern Super Series race for the new duo will be at Five Flags in two weeks.
Rookies Rising to the Top: Garrett Jones and Harrison Burton have both been surprisingly strong throughout the 2015 campaign. Jones and Burton sit fifth and sixth in the standings respectively, and both should rise due to the absence of Hemric. Burton sits 85 points behind Jones, but the 14-year-old driver has made two less starts than Jones who has run all eight races to date.
The Champ Is… Where? As has previously been discussed, the 2013 Southern Super Series champion Daniel Hemric can no longer contend for this year’s championship. But what about last year’s champion, Bubba Pollard? Pollard has run all eight races but sits just ninth in points, 284 points behind championship leader Casey Smith. Pollard has two top-five finishes this year at Mobile and Montgomery. He did cross the finish line first in June at Mobile, but he was later disqualified by chief technical inspector Ricky Brooks and received last-place points as a result.
Look for Pollard to turn the corner and pick up a win (or two or three) in the final five races of the 2015 season.
The Gulf Coast doubleheader is key to the championship chase. You won’t want to miss a lap of the action at Five Flags and Mobile. Both tracks have produced fireworks in the past and they’re sure to do just that once again in two week’s time.