It’s been a month since the last time the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco was on track, and now the stars of the popular Super Late Model series are gearing up for their second trip of the season to the Gulf Coast. The last time the series made their way to Gulf Coast tracks Five Flags Speedway (FL) and Mobile International Speedway (AL), it was Kyle Grissom (Five Flags) and Casey Smith (Mobile) picking up big wins.
After a month off, Grissom is ready to head back to Five Flags Speedway (FL), this time chasing a second win.
“It felt really good to win a race down there because Five Flags is so tough,” said Grissom. “It’s been a place that I’ve struggled to get a hold of, but now we’re going back with a good baseline setup. I feel like I have an idea of what it’s like to race up front and that feels good so I’m excited to go back and hopefully we can back it up.”
There are two reasons behind why Grissom was so excited to finally get a Southern Super Series victory. A lot of it has to do with the difficult competition that he races with at every SSS event.
“It seems like everywhere we go there’s good cars there every week,” Grissom said. “It’s a dogfight to just try to be in the top-10 no matter where we go. It’s hard, but I’m really thankful I get to run in this series and run against the best competition.”
The other reason has to do with his father, former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Steve Grissom. Kyle was raised in Concord, North Carolina, but his father is from Gadsden, Alabama, and has raced and won at a lot of the same tracks in which the younger Grissom is now racing.
“It’s cool to go down and race in that area where Dad raced for so many years because they know so many people down there,” said Grissom. “It felt good to finally show that I can go down there and get it done in front of all those people.”
For two other well-known Southern Super Series drivers, a return to the Gulf Coast means different things. This weekend’s trip to the Gulf Coast will be the first of the year for Georgia’s Anderson Bowen, and he’s still trying to get a handle on the tough half-mile Mobile, Alabama oval.
“Mobile always has been a struggle,” said Bowen. “We ran well in an ARCA car but that’s totally different. I’ve always struggled at Mobile with everything whether it’s a Super Late Model or a Pro Late Model. There’s just something about that track.”
Bowen said consistency has been lacking for him at Mobile in the past, but now he’s basically in win-or-go-home mode as he’s not running for the championship this year.
“We don’t have a lot of pressure on us,” Bowen said. “We can just have fun and see what happens. If we win, that’ll be great. If we don’t, we’ll still have fun doing it and we’ll try to be better each weekend.”
For full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Daniel Hemric, the 2013 Southern Super Series championship, a return to the Gulf Coast means a return to a track where he experienced one of his most memorable wins. Hemric edged fellow competitors Augie Grill and Jeff Choquette in a thrilling three-wide photo finish at Mobile during the 2014 Southern Super Series season finale.
Hemric came as close as he could have, but failed to defend his 2013 SSS title despite his win in the season finale. He lost the championship to Bubba Pollard by seven points, but was still thrilled with what took place at Mobile that night in September.
“We did it three wide and in front of a great crowd,” Hemric said. “The crowd that night was probably twice what we’ve had there in the past.”
The only thing Hemric could have done differently that night was to remember to take his helmet off before his signature backflip in victory lane.
“Everybody joked that I did the backflip with my helmet on,” said Hemric. “But I did the burnout and then couldn’t breathe so I realized I had to get out. But it all worked out.”
-Southern Super Series/51 Sports Press Release