Many sporting events have been postponed or cancelled in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including in short track racing. However, one of Super Late Model racing’s crown jewel events is moving forward for next weekend.
John Dykes, owner and promoter of South Alabama Speedway, said during a special edition of Speed51’s “The Bullring” that his track is carrying on with its plans to contest the 44th Annual Rattler Weekend on March 20-22.
Prior to joining Speed51’s live show Friday evening, Dykes said that the only thing that could prohibit moving forward with the event is a government mandate.
Dykes said every driver he has spoken with, save the exception of Washington’s Garrett Evans, plans to still compete in the Super Late Model showcase next weekend.
“We’re planning just as many races as we ever have,” said Dykes. “The only [withdrawal] we’ve had is from Washington state, where they’ve shut down his transportation in and out of the airport. Other than that, the ones I’ve talked to have all been positive and say they’re coming.”
The Rattler is not just a major weekend in the Super Late Model world. The event is also one of the most important weekends in the area surrounding the Kinston, Alabama facility, drawing teams and fans from across North America.
“It has a lot of impact here, economic impact. We have a lot of people that come from out of this area. We had one fellow call me from Canada. They were planning to come down and they still are. He said they were glad we’re going forward with it.”
While this is a new challenge, Dykes and his team at South Alabama Speedway have always worked diligently when faced with obstacles to ensure the event takes place and is worthy of its billing in the Super Late Model world.
That work is ongoing this week, as the track prepares for the 44th Rattler 250.
“We’re working today. We worked until 8 o’clock last night. We’ll be working late nights all the way up to the race itself, because we put everything into it to make sure the race is ready.
“For us personally, this is our 23rd season with the event. We have always put great emphasis on this and try to get in the race. We will continue to do that with the utmost that we can. We’re going to try to put on a show for the people. Come on down, let’s have a good race.”
Speed51 will provide coverage of the Rattler 250 from South Alabama Speedway, with an entry list of nearly 30 of the top Late Model racers in the country. Stay tuned for more details on Speed51’s coverage plans of the event.
Fans who missed Friday night’s special episode of “The Bullring” can listen to the interview with John Dykes in its entirety in podcast form.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo