Taking a swing around the Southeast finds the birth of a new year in all areas of the region. March is the green flag to the 2015 racing season for many and there will be no shortage of action on the asphalt in the South.
51’s Southeast Beat takes you around the region and gives you a look at some of the storylines heading into the upcoming racing season.
Sellers Seeks Glory Elsewhere in 2015
2014 South Boston Speedway (VA) Late Model Track Champion Peyton Sellers will not defend his title in 2015. Sellers told Speed51.com this week that he plans to run for the title at Motor Mile Speedway (VA), chase the Virginia Triple Crown and even run some Super Late Model events for another team on the CARS Tour.
Sellers has won the Virginia Triple Crown twice in three years and he’d love to cap off another title with a win at Martinsville in October.
Sellers also said he’ll be planning a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) in April. Sellers has 30 career starts in the series and scored a win at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) back in 2008.
The two-time track champion could still field a championship mount with Matt Bowling who will seek the crown in 2015. Bowling won the crown in 2012 and last season he won the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown.
Southern Super Series Starts With Rattler 250
Over 30 cars will be on hand for the season opening Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway. It will likely be the biggest field to start the 250-lap Southern Super Series event in the history of the historic race. Former winners Casey Roderick, Bubba Pollard, Johnny Brazier and Augie Grill are expected to be in the field.
Pollard comes to the Rattler after the biggest and richest win of his career. Pollard took the inaugural Winter Showdown 250 at Kern County Raceway (CA) the first weekend in March. Now the defending Southern Super Series champion wants more.
Non-Rattler 250 winners chasing their first win in this event include 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Chase Elliott, 2014 Snowball Derby winner John Hunter Nemechek, Anderson Bowen, Stephen Nasse and Donnie Wilson.
Pro 8 Time
Highland Rim Speedway (TN) will feature an eight-race track series this year called the Pro 8 Pro Late Model Series. The first race is slated for March 21 with future dates set for April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19 and October 24.
Mark Day has already entered the season opener and a full field of cars is expected. Mike Barnett was the track champion one year ago.
Supers Show Strength in the Southeast
After years of up and down results, the Super Late Model scene in the south has improved dramatically. Leading the way is the veteran Pro All Starts Series which has produced over 40 winners in just over 100 races. Strong car counts in the Carolinas have helped to produce NASCAR stars including Ryan Blaney and several others.
The Southern Super Series is in its third year as the Deep South scene draws cars from the Texas region and all parts of Florida. They say you are only as good as your last race and a three-wide finish to conclude the 2014 season left fans excited for the 2015 SSS campaign.
The rookie Super Late Model tour is the CARS Tour which will serve two facets this season. The tour will serve as a competitive place for the Super Late Models to run in the Carolinas and a home for the touring Late Model Stock drivers. CARS could draw from both the Southern Super Series and PASS South as they look to provide another place to race.
Elsewhere, Auburndale Speedway (FL) will host five Super Late Model events before June, New Smyrna Speedway (FL) and Desoto Speedway (FL) will host a combined six-race Bright House Challenge Series. Showtime Speedway (FL) and Desoto will also hold independent Super Late Model events during the 2015 year.
Southern National Trims Late Model Events to 50 Laps
Late Model Stock Cars are the main attraction at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) and there will be a slight change for 2015. The Late Models will run six double features that will be 50 laps each, which is shorter than the 75 lap events last year. The season opener is set for March 28 with the CARS Tour in town. Weekly racing at the track is scheduled to begin on April 11.
The Texas Scene
Central Texas Speedway (TX) will host nine races during the 2015 season with Pro Late Models running each night. While Central Texas’ main focus is on Late Models, the main attraction at Houston Motorsports Park (TX) will once again be the NASCAR Modifieds. The season will feature the Mods for 23 events with racing starting on March 7.
Elsewhere in Texas, the Texas Asphalt Limited Modified Series has a 10-race scheduled planned with stops in Houston, Central Texas and CC Speedway in Corpus Christi. A year ago, Joey Heinaman won the title with two wins and nine top-five finishes. The series drew over 40 drivers in nine events. Look for more growth this year.
– The Pro All Stars Series seeks a 10th straight year with no repeat champions. Preston Peltier has finished in the top-three in points some five times. Tyler Church was the 2014 champion and looks to begin the quest for title number two this upcoming weekend at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC).
– Nearly a dozen southeast area tracks scream into high gear in the month of March. Anderson Speedway (SC), Caraway Speedway (NC), Dillon Motor Speedway, Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC), Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), Kingsport Speedway (TN), South Boston Speedway (VA) and Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) will all open their slates in the coming weeks.
– March also kicks off the March Madness Schedule at the Concord Speedway (NC) quarter-mile. The four-race series will be run on Saturday’s starting at 9 a.m. The regular season for Legends and Bandoleros starts on April 3.
– Super Late Models will have their first 50-lap race of the regular season at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on March 28. The SLM’s did not run at Smyrna in 2014 other then during special events like the Governor’s Cup and Pete Orr Memorial.
– The Paramount KIA Big 10 Series is back for another year at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). The 10-race series will be run for the third consecutive season. Josh Berry, the 2014 track champion, has five wins in the Big 10 Series.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com