A lot of what made the All Pro Super Series great in the 1980s has now made its way into the Southern Super Series formula for 2021.
All that remains is a driver roster to meet the challenge.
This is the most ambitious schedule in the 10-year history of the southeastern Super Late Model series. There are 13 stops across six states from North Carolina to Florida. To facilitate the expansion is an increased purse and bonus programs designed to encourage participation throughout the season.
For one, every points race will now pay no less than $10,000-to-win and $750-to-start. The 'Southern Super Stars' program will reward drivers inside the top 12 in the championship standings during each successive event:
Super Late Model drivers inside the top 12 in series points following the Rattler 250 on March 13th qualify to enter the Southern Super Stars for the next series points event. At that event, they will compete against the other drivers in the top 12 of series points for up to $750 in additional prize money for the highest finisher, in essence creating a race within the race for those racing for series points.
The second-place driver would receive $600, with third place receiving $500, fourth place earning $400, fifth place taking $300 and sixth through 12th receiving $250.
Now it’s up to series director Nicholas Rogers to start recruiting the challengers.
"We've got some great race tracks we're going to, and the purse is really, really good next year," Rogers said. "I've already seen on social media where some say the purse isn't enough and it's never going to be enough. It's a very expensive sport. I wish we could police that, but every time we try to save a little bit of money, it backfires and costs teams three times as much.
"So, we need to get out of the business of trying to save them money. They're going to spend what they spend and we're coming up with rules to keep everyone competitive. I want to give teams a chance to come into the Southern Super Series and be competitive, and if not, still have a means to get something out of it."
To that end, Rogers is excited to see what a new partnership with the Hype Motorsports marketing group produces. The company has already started producing pre-race shows and hospitality strategies for the biggest Super Late Model races in the Deep South and that goal is coming to the Southern Super Series.
Hype director of marketing Allick Jorgensen has frequently stated his intent to create a social media and digital platform that crates a means for every short track team in the region to use the Southern Super Series to build a fanbase, sell merchandise and grow the discipline.
"What Hype is doing from that standpoint is really incredible," Rogers said. "They're going to create fan experiences and create opportunities for teams to promote what they have going on with their sponsors and our series. It has the potential to be really incredible."
The additions have piqued the interest of the two biggest names in the south -- Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard.
"There are a lot of interesting things there," Nasse said when first told of the schedule and bonus program.
"The $10,000 minimum is pretty big. We really enjoyed the 'double down in the next town program they had a few years ago and we took home some $10,000 checks that season. That's a good payday. It's better than $5,000, obviously."
Pollard is hoping to race more regularly in 2022 and would expect to keep racing in the Southern Super Series if the championship standings dictated it.
"I'm looking forward to doing a lot of that," Pollard said. "Now that I've started to promote races a little bit, I really understand some of the challenges, and some of the things you have to do to keep racers happy. I really appreciate the promoters who are trying to keep us on the track and do things the right way."
All-American 400 winner, CARS Tour and PASS South champion Matthew Craig has also indicated his desire to race for the Southern Super Series championship next season. Rogers hopes Pollard, Nasse and Craig can be the foundation for years to come. The marketing platform, schedule and purse has certainly done its part.
"We're looking forward to an incredible 2022 and I think race fans and teams will be doing the same," Rogers said. "We're working on some other things too. It's going to be a great time."