Rattler 250 & Grasshopper 125 (Baby Rattler)

March 12, 2022

The Southern Super Series season presented by Sunoco opens with a bang this weekend with a doubleheader of both Pro Late and Super Late Model racing at South Alabama Speedway. The first Rattler was in 1974 and has continued to grow its prominence and prestige. The Grasshopper Pro Late Model Rattler 125 was added to include a full weekend of racing in 2006.

Of note is that the weather this weekend is expected to be cold by Alabama standards – well even by Michigan standards for this time of year. The high temperature is only expected to reach 46 degrees with lows forecasted to be 24 degrees. Because of the low temperatures, officials have decided to move up start times on Saturday. The pit gates will now open at 7 AM with alternating Pro and Super Late Model practice beginning at 8:30 AM. Super Late Model qualifying begins at noon where the top 24 will be locked into the race. Pro Late Model qualifying is next, also with the top 24 being locked in. The green flag is expected to fall at 2 PM for The Grasshopper 125 presented by JR’s Lawn Mower Shop and powered by U.S. Tank. The time for the green flag of the Rattler 250 on Sunday is still expected to be at 2 PM.

The 46th Rattler 250 field is filled with all of the top names you would expect to see at one of the most well-known Super Late Model races in the country. With a week off from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ty Majeski returns to try to break the record he set last year by becoming the first 4 time winner of the race. If Majeski is able to defend last years’ win he will also become the first to win three consecutive Rattler races.

Others entered in the races include Casey Roderick in the #14 Rock Motorsports car, recent Nascar Camping World Truck race winner Chandler Smith, last week’s winner of the Alabama 200 Hunter Robbins, Michigan drivers Evan Shotko, Brain Campbell, and Carson Hocevar, and the recent entries of Holt, Hudson, and Harrison Halder.

Nashville Fairgrounds regular Dylan Fetcho has made the trip to Alabama for the Grasshopper Pro Late Model Rattler 125. Dylan took some time out of his busy weekend schedule to talk to me about the weekend. “We’ve only been to the Rattler once but we love the racetrack and the facility! So we decided to come back this year,” Dylan said. “Practice went really well for us today and we experienced the same outcome at Speedfest in Cordele to start out the season. (where) we had a podium finish.” Regarding the remainder of the season, Dylan said “(We) look forward to running a full season at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, races at Montgomery and Five Flags- the Snowflake in particular, and running other tracks throughout the season. For this weekend, we’re hoping to take a picture with that snake on Saturday in victory lane!”

Grant Thompson talked to me last night after practice and told me this is his first pro-late model race at South Alabama Speedway and the Rattler. “We have a good piece for tomorrow. We did not run any qualifying runs, but we are good on the long runs,” Grant said. “The weather is supposed to be super cold and the track will cool off,” Grant said. “ We should be able to qualify tomorrow and the time of the race has been moved up because of the weather.”

I first heard of Grant during the 2020 Snowball Derby where he made quite an impression on the crowd. I asked how that ride came together. “Kurt Britt is a great guy and I raced against him in the trucks. The next year he asked me to drive for him at the Snowflake, Montgomery, and Cordele. We won a lot. We got to the Derby and had a good truck all weekend and then won. It was a heck of a weekend!”

In 2021 the Alabama native made his way up to Wisconson to compete in the Tundra Series, “Our buddy John Alverson is friends with both Casey Johnson and saw me race and was and was impressed. John asked Casey if there was a Super Late Model available for me to drive up there and he did. We did really well with a lot of top 5’ and top 10’s. One of the toughest things was showing up at the tracks I have never been to with old tires for practice and then switching to the new tires for qualifying.”

For the remainder of the year, Grant will be running his own Pro Late at 5 Flags including the Allen Turner Memorial, and Montgomery with the Show Me the Money Series and Mobile International Speedway. Grant will also be running one Super Late Model race at Golden Sands Speedway in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.

Jett Noland is looking forward to the 2022 season “I’m really excited to get the season kicked off with Anthony Campi Racing,” Jett said. “This year I’m focused on contending for the Southern Super Series Season championship and that starts this weekend at South Alabama.”

The field has a little extra motivation to race to meet the famed rattlesnake in victory lane thanks to the Southern Super Series and many businesses and even fans, creating one of the largest purses in the event’s history. The Southern Super Series added an additional $12,500 to the purse, increasing payout through the field to bring the winner’s take home to $15,000 and starting money for the race to $1,500. The increased winnings for this event are to help mark the 25th anniversary of the Southern Super Series sanctioning the event.

Starting as a lap sponsorship event for the added bonus money, the laps ‘sold out’ very quickly for both the Hardees Rattler 250 and Grasshopper 125 presented by JR’s Lawn Mower Shop. The premise is simple – lead the lap and win the corresponding bonus money provided by businesses or fans. The response was tremendous and should one driver lead all the laps of the Rattler they will earn an additional $2500 and should one driver lead all the laps of the Grasshopper that driver would bring home an additional $1,250 as all 125 laps were purchased by U.S. Tank and Cryogenics. The pole winner of the Grasshopper will earn an additional $500 from Godfrey Environmental Contracts.

Fans unable to attend the event in person will be able to watch live with a subscription to Racing America.

Photo : Dylan Fetcho Facebook Page

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