New Series To Take ‘Funk’ Out Of Southern Short-Track Pavement Racing

Charlotte, NC (December 3rd, 2012) – Short-track stock car racing fans that live in the Southeast United States got an early Christmas present this past weekend with the announcement that five major speedways will partner to form the Southern Super Series in 2013.

The Super Late Model paved track series will consist of 15 races at Five Flags Speedway (Pensacola, FL), Mobile (AL) International Speedway, Montgomery (AL) Motor Speedway, Nashville (TN) Fairgrounds Speedway and Gresham Motorsports Park (Jefferson, GA).

Included in the 15 races will be some of short-track racing’s most iconic events – The All-American 400 (Nashville), the Alabama 200 (Montgomery) and the World Crown 300 (GMP.)

To that, we can only say Bravo!

Pavement short-track stock car racing has been in a funk for a number of years in large part because of a lack consensus about rules. Unlike their dirt based stock car counterparts who have a uniform rules base and can race their cars just about anywhere around the country, pavement racers have been saddled with an ever-changing set of rules and requirements limiting where and when they can compete.

Toss in a tough economy over the last decade, and the result at many paved tracks have been lower car counts, less than stellar events, track closings, fan disappointment and apathy.

The new Southern Super Series has a chance to reverse much of that trend in the Southeast.

Just the fact that these five speedways have banded together for the series is a step in the right direction. To say race promoters can be a just little over the top when it comes to being territorial is an understatement. Now, instead of fighting each other for competitors and fans alike, the newly formed Southern Super Series is poised to give all involved a better opportunity.

Competitors will get a chance to run a regional touring series at multiple tracks in cars that feature a consistent rules package. Along the way, they will also get to compete in some of the biggest events in short-track racing. Best of all, the overall champion of the 15-race series will receive a check of $10,000.

Meanwhile, tracks and fans will also profit as car counts will almost surely increase. That’s better revenue for the tracks and a better show for the fans.

Simply stated, what’s not to like about that?

The new Southern Super Series is currently working on the dates for its inaugural 15-race schedule next season. Stay tuned as this story continues to unfold.

Snowball Derby Notes

The 2012 short-track racing season official came to a close Sunday with the running of the 45th-annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola.

Here’s a few observations about pavement short-track racing’s premiere event –

All of the hottest iron in the country packed the Five Flags pit area with nearly 130 entered in the Pro and Super Late Model divisions. Cars and drivers from all over the United States flock to the Derby each year – and so do fans – who packed the place to beyond capacity for Sunday’s final.

This driver mix at the Derby is amazing. This year, 18-year-old Erik Jones held off a full field that included Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Johanna Long, Steven Wallace, Nelson Piquet, Jr., Bubba Pollard, Mike Garvey, Augie Grill, Ross Kenseth and a host of other top stars. As a fan, you’ll never see a better field of cars and drivers than you those that you see at the Derby.

Saturday’s race – the Pro Late Model Snowflake 100 – is just as competitive as Sunday’s Derby 300-lapper. This year, Elliott won ‘The Flake’ backing up his victory in the Snowball Derby a year ago.

Busch was a lightning rod for driver and fan angst Sunday. He wound up finishing third, but was involved in a number of incidents that got the oil boiling for some. Included in that group was Wallace, who reportedly threw a hammer from the pits at Busch’s car as he idled around under caution.

Busch can do some pretty questionable things at times, but few if any of them are as ridiculous as throwing a hammer at another competitor. Those kinds of actions merit counseling.

Finally, it would be so cool if the Snowball Derby could somehow find its way on to television. Until then, we’ll be more than happy to follow along on Bob Dillner’s This year, Speed 51’s webcast of the Derby was its best-ever effort. With 13 reporter/photographers covering the race, the gate-to-gate news and photo feed was so extensive that fans following along throughout the country probably knew more about what was happening than those who were actually at the event.

Kudos to Dillner and all at Speed 51 for the best coverage of any race event we’ve ever followed on the Internet.

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