Practice day for the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway ended with two young drivers with varying amounts of experience on top of the leaderboard. Giovanni Bromante posted the fastest time of the day with a 15.247 in his first lap of the afternoon, followed closely by NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series rookie Harrison Burton with a 15.277.
The 15-year old Bromante is making his Super Late Model debut with Anthony Campi this weekend after his 2018 season ended prematurely with a back injury suffered away from the track. He is excited with where his team is going so far and is confident he can achieve his goal come Sunday.
“It’s been a really good two days testing,” Bromante told Speed51. “Anthony put a lot of hard work into this car and now we’re just fine tuning it and it’s really paying off. I just have to stay humble and do a great job finishing the race, that’s first of all. I’m just hoping for a top five finish. For my first race back, a top five, there would be nothing better.”
After being out of the car since October, it took him no time to get reacclimated with driving a race car. He feels like the Super Late Model accommodates his driving style and is looking forward to seeing how Sunday goes.
“It felt like I’ve been in this car for a while," said Bromante. "I just really adapted quickly and I really like the Super Late Model. It adapts to my driving style and I just really like it.”
Defending Rattler 250 winner Harrison Burton feels his team is heading into the right direction with their car as they look for a second date with the rattlesnake. He is hoping to make this year’s race less competitive than last year’s thriller.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Burton said. “I knew we would have a baseline by going off what we had last year. That was a competitive race and a lot of fun. Our job is trying to make it not competitive and dominate, so we’re working hard on this thing and trying to get it better and better and I think we made some strides on it this weekend. I feel pretty good about our car but we wanted to be faster than that.”
Burton said his team will have to continue being on top of the track and the car as qualifying and the race nears. He credits his time in the Truck Series with helping him succeed as he climbs back in a Super Late Model.
“That’s just something you learn with experience about going to places over and over again," said Burton. "You know what exactly it’s going to be like and then it’s a little different. I think that’s your job as a driver is to be on top of that. I think being on the Truck said is helping me with that and the level of preparation and intensity it takes to perform well, bringing that down to the Super level helps me with that.”
15-year-old Jett Noland turned heads when he posted the third fastest time of the day. He has joined Jett Motorsports to run the full Southern Super Series season. Despite the strong showing, he admits his team still has work to do.
“We’re just a little bit off right now but we should do a lot better for qualifying and the race,” Noland stated. “It’s been pretty good. We’re just missing a little bit of drive off right now. It could be the track, everybody’s probably trying to push a little bit too hard.”
Bubba Pollard finished the day eighth-quickest in Rattler 250 practice. The Georgia is off to a strong start in the 2019 season, winning the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing points championship at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) and last weekend’s CARS SLM Tour race at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC). The 2012 Rattler 250 winner believes he will have a strong car come Sunday, but acknowledges track conditions will go through some changes between now and the green flag.
“We run through a couple things today and we got a little better,” Pollard said. “But all in all, a good day, just fine tuning some things and laying rubber on the racetrack. It rained so much last night and this morning that the racetrack’s going to change a little bit come tomorrow afternoon. We’re kind of creeping up on it and staying with it, but I felt good with it on race runs. I feel like we have a good, balanced race car.”
For updates from Friday's practice sessions, visit Trackside Now by clicking here.
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo