The Southern Super Series announced both a new venue and season opener for its 2014 season on Monday as the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway has joined the tour according to a Speed 51 news release.
The Rattler will be held for the 38th time on March 16 and is traditionally one of the more popular events on the Super Late Model schedule. But the race only drew 20 entrants last year and the location of the track made a partnership with the Super Series an ideal destination.
"I am very excited about the Southern Super Series coming to South Alabama Speedway to kick off our season opener," MaLeah Hill, Operations Manager of South Alabama Speedway said via a tour news release. "I personally followed the (tour) races all last year and love all the excitement that went along with the series as well as the great car counts."
Kyle Benjamin, Bubba Pollard and Grant Enfinger have won the past three Rattler events and that's the level of talent that the track hopes to continue delivering to fans through a partnership with the Southern Super Series, a second-year tour based in four Southeastern states.
The tour raced 13 times last season and Daniel Hemric became the inaugural champion, in dramatic fashion, winning the title by a single point over Bubba Pollard.
"It's cool for the series -- for the fans and everyone involved with the Southern Super Series," Hemric told SB Nation on Monday. "It's exciting to see a new venue get added to the schedule, especially when it's a race as big as the Rattler.
"Really, this leaves only one or two marquee southern races that the Super Series doesn't have on the schedule. Fans and track promoters both have quickly come around to acknowledging the kind of product that we deliver."
Hunter Robbins is from nearby Montgomery and is expected to be a championship contender next season. He also drives a car owned by former Rattler winner Ronnie Sanders, leaving the 22-year-old even more excited for the season to begin.
"That's really exciting," Robbins said. "I've been hoping they would add a couple events down there. No one works harder than John Dykes as a track owner, and he has a really nice facility."
But with the addition of The Rattler, South Alabama Speedway joins the original five partner tracks on the 2014 schedule, including Mobile International Speedway (Ala.), Montgomery Motor Speedway (Ala.), Pensacola Five Flags Speedway (Fla.), Gresham Motorsports Park (Ga.) and Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
With Monday's announcement, the Southern Super Series now has three of the more beloved regional extra distant events represented on the calendar.
The list includes the Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway, World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park and season-ending All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
And while it's not officially part of the Super Series season, the Snowball Derby serves as an unofficial all-star event for the all of Super Late Model racing, using the same rulebook and technical staff as the SSS regular season.
2014 Southern Super Series schedule
March 16 South Alabama Speedway (AL) Rattler 250
April 5 Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN)
April 25 Five Flags Speedway (FL)
April 26 Mobile International Speedway (AL)
May 10 Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL)
May 23 Five Flags Speedway (FL)
May 24 Mobile International Speedway (AL)
June 28 Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL)
July 12 Gresham Motorsports Park (GA)
July 25 Five Flags Speedway (FL)
July 26 Mobile International Speedway (AL)
August 9 Gresham Motorsports Park (GA) World Crown 300
September 6 Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) Alabama 200
September 19 Five Flags Speedway (FL)
September 20 Mobile International Speedway (AL)
November 1 Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) All-American 400
*All races are 125 laps except where noted otherwise
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