Bragging rights are once again on the line here at Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  Like with many of the prestigious short track racing events throughout the country, the Speed51 staff has sat down and made their picks for the 40th annual Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.  With bragging rights on the line until the next major short track event, who will come out on top?

 

Check out all of the picks below and then tune into the live stream on Speed51.com this weekend to see who was correct with their pick. ‘

 

Aaron Creed – Speed51.com State Editor (PA, NY) – Twitter: @aaron_creed

Pick: Bubba Pollard 

He is fresh off a 250-lap feature win in last month’s Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park, so why not add to the 2016 accomplishments?  In the southeast, the 2014 Southern Super Series champion most recently won in his home state of Georgia during SpeedFest and rides the momentum into Alabama.

 

Allick Jorgensen – Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24

Pick: Ty Majeski

He won the World Series, was strong at points in Speedfest, and we haven’t seen much out of him since. I suspect the team has regrouped and will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend.

 

Brandon Paul – Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51

Pick: William Byron

I’ve created a new rule for myself when making picks for major Super Late Model races in the south: don’t bet against Kyle Busch Motorsports.  That rule itself narrows the list down to two drivers: Christopher Bell and William Byron.  While I wouldn’t normally pick against Bell, I’m going to here.  Byron is hungry for his first major Super Late Model win.  He has a good head on his shoulders to survive 250 laps in order to be around at the end and I think he rebounds after watching one slip away at SpeedFest earlier this year.

 

Bruce Nuttleman – Speed51.com Photographer – Twitter: @BruceNuttleman

Pick: Ty Majeski

I am not a homer. (Editor’s Note: Yes, he is.) Ty was very strong last year at the Rattler and I feel as though he will probably adjust his tire strategy from last year to maintain better speed late in the race.

 

graphic 51 tv rattler 2016Connor Sullivan – Speed51.com State Editor (CT, LI, MA) – Twitter: @Connor51CT

Pick: Ty Majeski

Majeski has been one of the hot shoes as of late. In February he won three races at New Smyrna including the 100-lap finale all en route to the World Series championship. Since moving up full-time to the ARCA Midwest Tour in 2014 he has won the championship both seasons with seven wins over those seasons. He was sixth in his Rattler debut in 2015. He had a strong run of third at the Snowball Derby in December. This will be the weekend he finally takes home one of the big prizes for Super Late Model drivers.

 

Daryl Canfield – Speed51.com Northeast Photographer

Pick: Christian Eckes

Christian is on a jet plane toward the top of short track racing. I have seen him win at the Chemung Speedrome and he is a great young kid with a positive attitude and a ton of talent. I look forward to Christian making a major impact in 2016 beginning with The Rattler.

 

Duane Canfield – Speed51.com Northeast Photographer 

Pick: Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell will pick up the checkered flag at the Rattler 250 this weekend. He is the defending race winner and is piloting of the the potent Kyle Busch Motorsports cars.

 

Elgin Traylor – Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor

Pick: Casey Smith

Years ago he was so dominate at South Alabama Speedway when he won the Viper Series title. Smith always runs well and this year he will find that Texas mojo to score the big win. It’s a common showing for the defending series champion to win on opening day in a new season. Smith will do just that.  

 

William Byron is hoping to score a big Super Late Model win this weekend. (Photo credit: Speed51.com)

William Byron is hoping to score a big Super Late Model win this weekend. (Speed51.com photo)

Jana Wimmer – Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22

Pick: William Byron

Byron had a good run at SpeedFest and is going to win a big one soon, I think it’s this weekend at The Rattler.

 

Patrick Hahe – Speed51.com State Editor (IN, MI, OH) – Twitter: @PatrickHahe_S51

Pick: Ty Majeski

Of the two drivers coming into this race with the “hot hand”, I have to go with the driver who has shown more consistency.  Majeski ran near the front all week at New Smyrna, while Bubba Pollard struggled for most of the weekend at Kern County before finally figuring out the setup the night before the race.  While they didn’t run head to head, I’ll give the nod to Majeski’s strong showing from Florida.

 

Mark Keeler – Speed51.com Operations Manager – Twitter: @MarkKeeler975

Pick: Christopher Bell

Bell is the defending winner of the race and will be looking for redemption after what happened at the Snowball Derby. He completely dominated in 2015 so he clearly knows how to get around South Alabama Speedway. The only thing that “rattled” him last year was the snake in Victory Lane.

 

Augie Grill has already visited victory lane once in 2016 and Matt Kentfield thinks he'll do it again this weekend. (Speed51.com photo)

Augie Grill has already visited victory lane once in 2016 and Matt Kentfield thinks he’ll do it again this weekend. (Speed51.com photo)

Matt Kentfield – Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @mattkentfield

Pick: Augie Grill

I might be going out on a little bit of a limb here, but I’m going with Augie Grill.  While his recent Super Late Model efforts have been subpar compared to the type of success he had previously seen in his career, I think his big Pro Late Model win last week at Montgomery will start some momentum for Augie in 2016.  He’s not in his own car, rather in Rick Pollaro’s ride this time around, but I think that will provide Augie with a different outlook on things that could bode well in a race that he has won before.

 

Mikayla Kugler – Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent – Twitter: @MikaylaKugler

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Pollard is an easy pick for this one. He had a couple years of bad luck, but he has certainly turned that around already this season. 2016 is going to be one for the books for Pollard as he continues to rack up victories and gets ready to welcome baby Pollard in September 2016. A win this weekend at the Rattler 250 would also cap off Pollard’s birthday week.

 

Rob Blount – Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

Pick: Cody Coughlin

The 20-year-old Ohio driver has a habit of being near the front of the field at the end of big races. Just look at the Winchester 400 from last year.  Coughlin was caught up in an early incident in last year’s race, but he and his team are searching for redemption this year.  Look for Coughlin in victory lane at the end of 250 laps, but don’t expect to see a rattlesnake around his neck.

 

Ryan McCollough – Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @RyanLMcCollough

Pick: Bubba Pollard

In three SLM starts in 2016, Pollard has two wins and a second. The great philosopher Meat Loaf once said “Two outta three ain’t bad.” Bubba has visited victory lane at South Alabama nearly three dozen times between Super Late Model, Pro Late Model and Modified races. He will charm the snake once again at The Rattler and take the $12,000 check back to the woods of Coweta County.

 

-Text by Speed51.com Staff. Photo credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman

Speed51.com Staff Makes Their Picks for The Rattler