The 40th Annual Rattler 250, the season opener for the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco, is garnering some of the biggest names in Super Late Model racing both young and old. One of the young drivers throwing his name into the ring for the 250-lap battle at South Alabama Speedway on March 20 is 17-year-old Dalton Sargeant.
Sargeant, of Boca Raton, Florida, will make his way to the Rattler paired with a fresh team being led by former Kyle Busch Motorsports Late Model Manager Bond Suss. The Rattler will be just the second event for Sargeant and the Bond Suss Racing team since coming together in the off-season, but Sargeant is already feeling confident following a smooth outing at the Winter Showdown in Bakersfield, California on February 28.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Sargeant said. “It’s a pretty new team but everyone has worked great together so far and only one race under our belts out in California at Kern County. It wasn’t the best, but it was a great start to the season and a good way to kick things off with a solid top-10 finish.”
Sargeant looked at his first start with the team as an excellent opportunity to gel with the team and prepare for other big events such as the Rattler 250.
“It was a start of the chemistry for myself and everybody on the team working with each other and also getting used to each other,” he said. “Bond Suss himself, he has such a great background and knowledge. For me to be able to work with him is really going to teach me a lot and I’m really looking for to all the Super Late Model events coming up for us this year including The Rattler.”
The Suss team is now in the midst of a reset for the remainder of 2016. The squad is preparing a fresh ride, which Sargeant is eagerly waiting to debut at the Rattler 250 in one week.
“Right now we are building a brand new car which is going to be our primary car for the entire season. We’ll have that done for The Rattler,” said Sargeant. “I’m looking forward to going there, shaking the thing down, getting it on track, building experience and continuing to learn.”
It will be the second appearance for Sargeant at the Rattler 250 after making his race debut in 2015. He is very keen to the race’s pedigree for attracting big names throughout the years, especially drivers who worked their way up to the highest levels NASCAR in just the past few seasons. This year he hopes to be the one joining the elite list of previous winners.
“It would be huge to win The Rattler,” Sargeant said. “Look at the names who have won in the past. Christopher Bell won it last year, actually working with Bond Suss. I have high expectations for myself going into it, a little bit of pressure. The race itself is so big. Last year you also had Chase Elliott and Erik Jones driving in it. I think it’s just such a big deal and a lot of talent competing at the front. Everybody’s eyes are on that race so it would be a big achievement.”
More eyes than ever before will be on the Rattler 250 this year with the race being available via a live online video broadcast on Speed51.com. If Sargeant is to wind up meeting the Alabama rattlesnake in victory lane, he’ll be the first driver to do so in front of a worldwide audience. That’s something he said he’d be perfectly fine with given the right circumstances.
“I’d feel really good meeting the rattlesnake, as long as it is in victory lane.”
The 40th annual Rattler 250 weekend kicks off on Friday, March 18 with practice for the Southern Super Series, as well as feature racing for local divisions. On Saturday, March 19 the grid for the Rattler 250 will be set during time trials before the Pro Late Models hit the track for the Rattler 125. All of that leads up to the big show, the Rattler 250 on Sunday, March 20.
More information about the 40th annual Rattler 250 including ticket information can be found by visiting www.southalabamaspeedway.com.
The 40th Rattler 250 will be just the tip of a packed 12-race schedule that makes up the 2016 season for the Southern Super Series. For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit www.southernsuperseries.com.
-51 Sports/Southern Super Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Dalton Sargeant Facebook