Bragging rights are not only on the line for drivers, but also for the Speed51.com staff during this year’s running of The Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.  Seventeen staff members throughout the United States have made their picks for the Southern Super Series season opener that will be held on Sunday, March 19.

 

According to the results, Harrison Burton is the favorite to win Sunday’s race after being picked to win by five members of our 17-member panel.  Overall, eight different drivers received at least one pick, showing just how deep the field is for the 41st edition of the prestigious race.

 

Check out the picks below and be sure to watch the race live on Speed51 TV to see which, if any, of the Speed51.com staff members will have bragging rights when the checkered flag waves.

 

Without further ado, here are the picks:

 

Aaron Creed – Speed51.com NY & PA State Editor

Pick: Harrison Burton

No one else is on a roll like this kid and I think he will keep the momentum going against the stellar competition expected.

 

Allick Jorgensen – Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent

Pick: Jeff Choquette

He shook down his new Fury Racecar at the world series and called it “the best race car I’ve ever driven.” I’d say that’s a good sign that there is a victory in the future for the No.9 Jett Concrete machine.

 

Bob and Angie Dillner – Speed51.com Owners

Pick: Christian Eckes

While Harrison Burton is getting a lot of attention for his four wins so far this year, his Fury teenage teammate Eckes remains one of the hottest drivers in America with three wins in his last five races, plus a second and another top-10. He ran well at Opp last year and now he’s got the confidence to boot. 

 

Brandon Paul – Speed51.com Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

All of the attention heading into the Rattler appears to be on Burton and Majeski, and rightfully so.  But that is the perfect setup for a Bubba Pollard victory.  The veteran driver has been relatively quiet as of late, and anyone that follows short track racing knows that Pollard doesn’t remain quite for a long periods of time.  He’s won races at Opp before and I expect him to win the biggest of them all this Sunday.

 

Bruce Nuttleman – Speed51.com Photographer

Pick: Ty Majeski

Although the 91 team may lack some of the sophisticated bells and whistles found in the industry today, it hasn’t been the whistle that has pulled the Majeski train to their success. Over the last three years, Majeski has established himself as one of the best short track drivers in the country. Ty is their pull-down rig, dartfish and wind tunnel-all rolled into one.

Crew Chief Toby Nuttleman also has had 18 hours to ruminate over recent improvements and last year’s notes, while driving the hauler to Alabama.  I like Majeski’s chances to become only the second back-to-back winner of The Rattler.
Casey LaJoie – Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
Pick: Harrison Burton
It goes without saying that he’s been one of the best SLM drivers coming out of the gate for the 2017 season. But Burton has also had a lot of track time at Opp. He’s raced there at least 20 times in his career, a majority of those starts coming in a Pro Late Model. Last year in the Rattler, Burton ran solidly in the top three for the majority of the race and came home in sixth. I think this will be his year to sink his fangs into the Rattler 250 victory.

 

Connor Sullivan – Speed51.com CT, Long Island, MA Editor

Pick: Ty Majeski

Last year I picked Majeski and I see no reason to change that for 2017. He dominated last season’s Rattler, leading all but the first eight laps. He’s coming off another solid Speedweeks, and if they made any headway at South Alabama over last year,  he might put on another clinic once again.

 

Elgin Traylor – Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Casey Roderick

Roderick comes in under the radar; he’s won the race before. He’s going to win Saturday night’s Baby Rattler, too.  Let all the focus go to the younger drivers, but Roderick already has three wins in Pro Late Models in 2017 and it will carry over to his SLM. Roderick will be the first repeat Rattler winner since Grant Enfinger.

 

Hannah Newhouse – Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent 

Pick: Harrison Burton

If Burton drives and that team has that car rolling anything like they did last weekend at Concord, he will be a force to be reckoned with. He’s just been consistent in every show he’s been to this season thus far. My runner-up pick would probably be Bubba Pollard, though. 

 

Kevin Peters – Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent 

Pick: Ty Majeski

As the only Left Coaster on the panel, I feel the pressure is on to pick a winner.  As so, I’m going to pick another driver who is cool under pressure: Ty Majeski.  Last year’s winner of the Rattler 250 showed unflappable determination in dominating for the victory.  In addition, Majeski should have finished top three in every 2017 World Series SLM Event at New Smyrna.  If it hadn’t been for a non-performance enhancing disqualification, he would have had two victories and a possible title. 

 

Mark Keeler – Speed51.com Operations Manager

Pick: Stephen Nasse

Nasse is certainly worthy and capable of winning in a field this stacked and is long overdue for a big win. In 2016 he took a brand new Pro Late Model team to Baby Rattler victory lane, granted he didn’t actually cross the line first. He is always someone to keep an eye, or ear on, every time out. He was a factor it seemed like in every big race he ran in 2016 and so far in 2017. I think it’s his time to grab a big win early in the year.

 

Melissa Strahley – Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent 

Pick: Casey Roderick

Breezing through 2017 with three Late Model wins already under his belt, Casey Roderick will be pulling double-duty this weekend at South Alabama Speedway.  Despite some post-race controversy that left him injured after his first victory of the season, Roderick managed to strike back in a dominating fashion.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this Georgia native has enough bite for a Rattler sweep. 

 

Patrick Hahe – Speed51.com IN, MI, OH State Editor

Pick: Harrison Burton

I have a feeling that Jeff Choquette will have the best chance to challenge Burton at the Rattler, but I like momentum, and Burton has it right now after a strong series of finishes at New Smyrna.  I wouldn’t count out Bubba Pollard as well, who ran well at the Winter Showdown.

 

Reese Nobles – Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent 

Pick: Kyle Plott

I am going way outside the box and picking Kyle Plott.  He had speed during Snowball Derby weekend and is coming off a win at Greenville-Pickens (SC) recently which should give him confidence and momentum.

 

Rob Blount – Speed51.com Southeast Editor

Pick: Jeff Choquette

I know that South Alabama Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway are very different race tracks, but Choquette and new crew chief Joel Martino had their new Fury Race Cars on rails in its first race. If they can get that car hooked up like that again there will be no touching Choquette and he’ll “Jett” on out to another win.

 

Ryan McCollough – Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent 

Pick: Bubba Pollard

2011: 6 wins

2012: 2 wins

2014: 2 wins

2015: 2 wins
Count ’em up. Twelve wins at South Alabama Speedway in the last six years. .When it comes time to get down to the business at Opp, he always goes elbows up. That’s all you need to know about the 2017 Rattler winner: Bubba Pollard

 

Tom Ryan – Speed51.com Digital Manager

Pick: Harrison Burton

I am not picking Ty Majeski because that team hasn’t been on top of their game as of late. His competition seems to have passed his dominant car from the 2015 and 2016 seasons. I will be picking Harrison Burton because he is on a roll and 2017 seems to be a break out year for him in Super Late Model competition.

 

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-Featured photo credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman

Speed51.com Staff Picks for the 41st Annual Rattler 250