The Southern Super Series released its 2014 schedule on Monday but with limited changes from a very successful first season that saw tour racing return to the Southeast and conclude with a championship battle that came down to a single point.
Daniel Hemric won that duel over Bubba Pollard and both drivers have announced their intent to chase the second-ever championship in tour history. And as exciting as the follow-up promises to be, there are several changes that could be made to spice things up even more in the coming years, and they have been provided below.
New Southern Super Series director Dan Spence is aware of the league's need to expand over the coming years. But he would prefer to see a slow and methodical growth to other tracks and markets, opting to work with other tours like the Champion Racing Association in the process.
And that's smart.
Previous southern Super Late Model tours, like the short lived Georgia Asphalt Tour (GAS), expanded too rapidly and didn't have the resources or finances in place to be a true regional powerhouse. But the Southern Super Series appears more organized and once the pieces fall together, it would be exciting to see the tour reach out (and receive acceptance) to places like Anderson Speedway (SC), Watermelon Capital Speedway or Revolution Park outside of Louisiana.
The southern Super Late Model racing product may be the best in motorsports.
And with many of the top stars from Hemric to Pollard, Augie Grill and Mike Garvey currently anchoring the league, it has the potential to be a hit no matter where they take the show. The status quo of Late Model racing will always be top prospects coming and going, hoping to make it to NASCAR.
But the Southeast has a healthy number of Late Model lifers that can serve as the foundation for future growth. Hopefully that foundation can be shopped around in the coming years.
Beyond the abundance of star drivers, the tour has also been blessed to have four of the top Super Late Model races in the country associated with it. That includes the Alabama 200, World Crown 300, All-American 400 and the loosely associated Snowball Derby.
But the remainder of the schedule is composed of 125-lap races across five partner tracks.
Many of these races could stand an increase of 25 laps without the expectations of a purse increase. The extra 25 laps would require no additional tires or fuel and the 150-lap number just appears more legitimate.
Races at Mobile and Pensacola could also remain at 125 laps due to the back-to-back nature of doubleheader racing. From a fan perspective, 125 laps are just enough to water the appetite while 150 feels like just enough.
While this isn't necessarily the Southern Super Series' fault, the All-American 400 (a co-sanctioned event with the CRA) falls on the same weekend as the PASS Series' North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway.
This shouldn't happen with two organizations that run the same spec of Super Late Model equipment. For short track racing to continue growing into the next decade, a stronger line of communication must be established, much in the same way that the Super Series and CRA will continue working with each other next year.
The Southern Super Series has one of the best on-track products in stock car racing. Here's to hoping that it continues to grow over the next several years.