The Rattler Returns to Glory in 2011
Southeast's Finest Ready to Defend Their Turf
By Elgin Traylor
Springtime in the Southeast always seems to start on Rattler weekend at South Alabama Speedway.  The Super Late Model Spring spectacular has reached its 35th year and is gearing up to be one of the biggest early-season events again in 2011.   With big money on the line, the top Super Late Model teams will flock to South Alabama Speedway for the 250-lap show on Sunday, March 6th. 

The Rattler 250 has the best of both worlds for race fans with a competition caution around lap 100 and then live pit stops at any point later in the race.  Four tires can be changed during the competition caution, while after that only two tires can be changed at a time, but they have to take place under separate caution flags.  Each race teams will get a total of eight fresh tires. 

The win list at The Ratter is impressive with guys like Dave Mader III, Pete Hamilton, Ronnie Sanders, Bobby Gill, Charlie Bradberry, Augie Grill and most recently Jeff Fultz taking home the snake-mouth trophy.   Over the years the event has grown from the 100 lap status to a marquee 250 lap event.  2011 will be the sixth year that it has been a 250 lap race. 

Last year Jeff Fultz scored his biggest win of the season in The Rattler, leading five times for 125 laps.  Fultz held off Bubba Pollard and took home his first Rattler crown.  We also saw upstart Chase Elliott contend for the win with some good pit strategy, he would later go on to score 13 wins that season and the fan-voted title of 2010 Driver of the Year.  

How Big Can the Winners Check Be?

The winner alone can pocket $10,000 for the win and if there are over 40 cars then it will be $12,500 to the winner.  $250 goes to the pole winner, with another $500 awarded if a driver wins from the pole, while a $1000 bonus will be awarded if the polesitter starts at the rear and wins.  There is also $2500 in lap money and $1000 bonus for any driver winning who has raced the event the last three years.   So there is good money and bonuses on the line for the 35th Annual Ratter 250.

Peach State Invasion

With the likes of Mike Garvey, Chase Elliott and TJ Reaid it could be a safe bet to put down the pay check on the Georgia boys to come across the state line with a Rattler trophy.  Garvey really hit on a solid set-up late last season and strung together a few wins and solid runs.  He really has not had the chance to perfect it in his Super Late Model yet with that same setup.   TJ Reaid is knocking on the door for another win, and was strong at Lanier before a spin.  Reaid did recover to post a top-10 run.  Chase Elliott won 13 times last season and really got his season rolling at the Rattler in 2010. He's already two for two in 2011 after sweeping SpeedFest.

Perhaps the big trump card in the Georgia deck is Bubba Pollard.  He and car owner Ronnie Sanders own South Alabama Speedway (AL).  Pollard has finished second in each of the last two Rattlers and he has won 11 races in the last two season at South Alabama including the Pro Late Model portion of the Rattler in 2009.  
A Little Bit for the Pro Rattler

The Pro Rattler is just about the most important race in the Pro Late Model world behind only the Snowflake 100.  The PLMs are like the Nationwide Series of the Late Model world where the likes of Elliott, Pollard, Grill, Garvey and others go toe-to-toe with several up-and-coming talents.  However, this is an event for the little guys like last year's winner Korey Ruble.  Other Pro standouts include Hunter Robbins, Dillon Spreen, Logan Boyett, DJ Vanderley and others.  

Southern Six Pack Will Take Shape After the Weekend

Despite not winning the first event, Bubba Pollard is the points leader after the first race of the CRA Southern Six Pack.  Chase Elliott won the first race at Lanier National Speedway (GA) in January, he is second in points with Grant Enfinger, Daniel Hemric and TJ Reaid rounding out the top five.  After the Rattler we will see how the points tally up with several strong drivers making their first start at the Rattler.

Last year's Champion Ryan Blaney is ninth in points.   The next scheduled event in the series is on September, 17th at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA).  

Augie Grill has won the Rattler 250 twice. (51 Photo)
Chase Elliott is the hottest Georgia driver, but Bubba Pollard has 10 wins at South Alabama.  (51 Photo)
Hunter Robbins came close to the Rattler 250 win in 2007, this year he will be in the Pro Rattler. (Chisum Photo)
Ryan Blaney won the Championship in 2010 after ending the night on his roof. (51 Photo)