Southern Super Series details emerge ahead of 2014 season

Chris Owens

With the Snowball Derby ending on Sunday, all the attention in the South turns towards the Southern Super Series, which will return in 2014.

MOBILE, Ala. -- The texture of the 2014 Southern Super Series season has started to take shape following the conclusion of Sunday's Snowball Derby.

Longtime short track official Dan Spence has been named the Competition Director following an inaugural season where the individual track promoters served as a de facto committee.

Spence served as the race director in the first season of the tour and brings with him 43 years of experience. He previously served as an official with the All-Pro Series, Champion Racing Association and American Speed Association.

The decision to name Spence as Competition Director will eliminate much of the confusion that was generated when teams and drivers were left wondering which official was in charge any time concerns would arise at the five participating tracks. The individual promoters, realizing this, were quick to install Spence as the singular voice of leadership.

"Through feedback from our fans, drivers, car owners and crew chiefs, we realized that having a single series director was the way to go for our future," Montgomery Motor Speedway promoter Paul Boswell said on Wednesday night. "Dan became the logical favorite for the spot because we were hesitant to bring in someone from the outside.

"We're determined that Dan would be able to fulfill the duties of the job well."

The roster for the second season has started to come together too as defending champion Daniel Hemric said after the Derby that he plans to return and defend his crown with Carswell Motorsports.  A variety of other contenders including Bubba Pollard, Donnie Wilson, Hunter Robbins, Justin South and Augie Grill have also stated their intentions to chase the championship.

But two other contenders may not return -- at least in a full-time capacity.

Frustrated by yet another DNF in the Snowball Derby, Mike Garvey admitted that retirement could come calling. He and car owner Tracy Goodson have also been linked to the Pro Cup Series one year after the 50-year-old went winless but still finished fourth in the standings.

"I don't even know if I'll keep racing or where we'll race or even if I'd go back to consulting and working on cars when it's this frustrating."

Third-place driver John Hunter Nemechek also went winless but made his first two starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. While the NEMCO team expects to make sporadic starts in the Southern Super Series next season, the majority of their efforts will remain on Nemechek's national touring career.

That's the case for Chase Elliott, Kyle Benjamin and Erik Jones as well.

So as it stands, the championship next year will likely come down to full-time drivers Hemric, Pollard, Robbins and Grill with Garvey holding the wild card role.

The complete schedule for the 2014 season will be released on Monday by Speed 51 and Spence told teams on Sunday during the drivers' meeting that "it will look pretty similar to this year's."

The World Crown 300 has already been announced for August 9 while Montgomery will host three Super Series races next year, including the Alabama 200.

Hemric won the inaugural crown by a single point over Pollard last season, leaving the tour with a lot of momentum heading into next season. Are you excited by the return of the Southern Super Series next season? Tell us in the comments section below.

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