A storm is brewing on the Gulf Coast this coming weekend but it doesn’t include rain, thunder or lightning. This storm includes the always exciting Pro Late Model division competing in twin 50-lap races at both Five Flags Speedway (FL) and Mobile International Speedway (AL) on Friday and Saturday night.
While this will be the second twin 50 night at Five Flags in Pensacola, Saturday will be the first time that Pro Late Models hit the high banks of Mobile in 2016. It is a weekend that has everyone from race teams to track officials very excited, including the promoter for Five Flags and Mobile, Tim Bryant.
“I don’t know a time when I’ve been more excited about a Pro Late Model event short of the Snowflake 100,” Bryant told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “With the anticipation we have for the Twin 50’s and the caliber of cars that we’re going to have come and give it a try.”
The weekend will also see a changeup in the lineup format for each of the 50 lap races on both nights in hopes of keeping the competition level high throughout the weekend.
“We’ve had a slight format change, we’ve listened to some of the racers. Our first 50 lap race that will kick-off our program each night will have a 4-6-8 invert by virtue of a dice roll. Then we’re going to start the second race, unlike last time in April, it will be straight up from the finish of the first race,” Bryant explained. “Some of the better racers have warmed up to that and we think some guys will race hard in the first race and be subject to using their stuff a little more. Then you might have some guys that are a little conservative in race one that are strong in race two. We think there’s going to be good passing in both races.”
In the first Twin 50 event at Five Flags back on April 15, Brett Holmes was the victor in race one, while West Coast ace Derek Thorn won in race two. With Thorn racing back home, his winning car will be piloted by Jeff Choquette this weekend. Both Holmes and Choquette are expected to be contenders.
Minnesota driver Cole Anderson is expected to appear with his Pro Late Model, fresh off a Southern Super Series victory at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) the week before. Another driver expected to be strong, especially Saturday at Mobile is Wayne Niedecken, Jr. who dominated Pro Late Model racing at Mobile in 2015.
Bryant believes that as many as a dozen drivers have a shot at winning throughout the weekend and because of that, even he is unsure who the champions at both tracks might be at season’s end.
“I might be able to answer that after this weekend once we have our second pair of races under our belt. But right now I’m going to take the Fifth (Amendment) on that, it’s just too hard to call. There’s so many good cars and the competition is so keen. It’s quite possible we can run through the entire set of doubleheaders and the Allen Turner Tune Up and it’s quite possible that there won’t be a repeat winner in any of those races.”
Qualifying is set to roll at 7 p.m. CT with feature race starting at 8 p.m. at Five Flags on Friday, while Mobile has qualifying set for 6 p.m. and features at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com