Dalton Sargeant burst onto the short track racing scene with a runner-up finish in the 47th Annual Snowball Derby this past December. Since then, the talented driver from Boca Raton, Florida has transformed into one of the most talked about drivers in short track racing. He has recorded wins and strong finishes on both the East and West Coast.
Now, five months after his breakout performance in Pensacola, Florida, the 17-year-old rising star will return to the track where he began to make a name for himself.
Sargeant, like many of the most well-known Southeast Super Late Model stars, has filed an entry for this weekend’s Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco Gulf Coast Doubleheader. He will make his second start at Five Flags Speedway (FL) since his impressive Snowball Derby run on Friday night before travelling with the series to Mobile International Speedway (AL) on Saturday.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East star looks at the weekend as an excellent opportunity to gain additional experience at a pair of tough tracks, as well as build momentum for some of the prestigious Super Late Model events like the 48th Annual Snowball Derby in December.
“We ran Pensacola a few weeks ago and had an alright finish, I think we finished fourth,” said Sargeant. “I think we’re just trying to build up some more momentum after our second-place finish at the Derby at Pensacola. Really, we’re also just kind of trying to practice to kind of prepare better for the Derby later on this year.”
Figuring out what it takes to win at Five Flags Speedway is not an easy task. Around the country, the track is known as one that can be very abrasive on tires. That fact alone makes every lap around the track an important and valuable one, especially to a young driver like Sargeant attempting to make it to the top of the racing ladder.
“It plays a lot into not only running there at Pensacola, but also to when I go to some of the other tracks even when I’m racing the K&N car at tracks like Greenville Pickens, Bowman Gray and Columbus,” said Sargeant, this year’s No. 2 pick in the Speed51.com Short Track Draft. “All of those tracks are pretty abrasive on the tires and when we only get one set of tires at some of these smaller tracks in the K&N Series it makes it much more difficult. Being able to go to a track like Pensacola that is so demanding on just conserving your tires, and really just kind of practicing that, it will help me down the road with some of the other series that I race.”
When Sargeant makes the hop, skip and a jump over to Mobile for Saturday night’s Southern Super Series event, he will be making just his second career start at the ½-mile Alabama oval. At the age of 16, he finished ninth in his first career start at the track last September. After eight months of experience racing Late Models throughout the country since his first start at the track, he’s hoping to improve on his finish this time around.
“It’s a neat track, really cool,” said Sargeant. “It’s always fun to run there with no walls on the backstretch, as well as the corners. It’s a different experience compared to some of the places that I run at. We’re just going to go try to learn some new things, make some adjustments and get the car dialed in for later on this year when we go to some of the bigger races.”
Although Sargeant is focusing on improving and gaining more experience during the Gulf Coast swing, he’s still a race car driver and wants to win. A win in either race this weekend would be his first Southern Super Series triumph and his first win in a Super Late Model.
“I’d be super excited, super thrilled,” he stated. “I think we’re going to have a lot of great competition there this weekend. Knowing that I’m going up against the best and have a shot to beat them just gives me even more confidence when we go into these other races, some of these other Southern Super Series races as well as races like the Winchester 400, Berlin 251 and Snowball Derby coming up at the end of the year.”
Sargeant will be joined this weekend by a host of talented drivers including current Southern Super Series point leader Casey Smith, defending champion Bubba Pollard and rising star Anderson Bowen, all who will be eyeing a pair of wins on the Gulf Coast.
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit SouthernSuperSeries.com. The Facebook page for the Southern Super Series is located at www.facebook.com/southernsuperseries. The series is also on Twitter at @SoSuperSeries. For advertising or sponsorship questions, please contact the track representatives. For media inquiries, please contact Matt Kentfield at 51 Sports via [email protected].
-Southern Super Series/51 Sports Press Release. Photo credit: Sargeant Motorsports