Today we look back at some of the memorable events and notes that took place during the 2023 Southern Super Series season. We selected 10 of those that we remembered as highlights for 2023. We also invite you to add your favorite memory or nugget from the season.
Bubba Goes up the Elevator - The combination event between the ASA STARS Tour and the Southern Super Series didn’t disappoint for the southern race fans. Bubba Pollard dominated the EMCD 150 at North Wilkesboro. Pollard led 58 laps as he outdueled NASCAR Hendrick drivers Chase Elliott and William Byron for the victory. This was one of three wins on the season for Pollard who is the series all-time winner.
Rookie Champion - In his first full season of Super Late Model racing Gio Ruggiero won the Southern Super Series points title. Normally not a feat accomplished by a rookie, we can only recall from recent memory that Daniel Hemric was a rookie in the series first season the year he was crowned a champion. Ruggiero’s title fight went down to the wire as he and second-place point man finished the same amount of laps on the season, but Ruggiero was able to claim the title.
California Rules Pensacola - If we told you a driver from California was going to win a Blizzard race at Five Flags Speedway then you would think right away to Derek Thorn. The most recent Snowball Derby winner has won there before and in the Pro Late Model, but this time it was Jeremy Doss who took the checkered flag in July. The win came via the William Byron DQ, but don’t let that fool you as Doss led the most laps that night and was one of the two best cars. Doss would go on to win the Blizzard Series title at Five Flags and he’s one of the favorites for the Snowball Derby in December.
Multiple Winners - There is just something about the Southern Super Series that creates new winners each week. With the rainouts in 2023 only 10 events were contested; there were seven different winners. If another driver is added at the All American it could be the eighth different winner of 2023. In both 2021 and 2022 there were 10 different winners. 2023 could have seen the same if not for seven rainouts and four lost events.
Pole Winners - For the first time in series history there were no repeat fast time award winners during the regular season. There is still the All American 400 that could change that, but as far as the point races, there were no repeats. That’s nine different fast-time award winners.
Re-Birthing ASA - The Southern Super Series had the honor of being the first co-sanctioned event under the new ASA umbrella. The ASA STARS National Tour kicked off 2023 at Five Flags in March in an event that saw 10 lead changes among eight drivers. In the end, Casey Roderick won the first show in the new series. Five Flags is not done for the season, as the Snowball Derby will bookend the year in December.
Gio and Byron at Hickory - It was certainly one of the best finishes we have seen in recent years in the Southern Super Series. Gio Ruggiero and William Byron played cat and mouse in a chess match that saw three lead changes in the final nine laps. The end result was a photo finish that came down to 0.036 at the line.
South Georgia Clash - The season was full of interesting races, and the Georgia Summer Nationals was one of those that saw four drivers swap the lead seven times over the 125 lap distance at Watermelon Capital Speedway. Jake Garcia won the battle of “the two Jakes” and recorded his second win of the season over Jake Finch.
Car Counts - Strong in numbers was the key to the 2023 season as the ASA Southern Super Series averaged 29.7 cars over the first 10 events. That number is expected to rise after the All American 400. This average is the highest number in series history.
New Winners Waiting - There were several drivers who did not win in 2023 and they are going to be knocking on the door to try and get one at the All American 400 and next season. The way the trends are with the youthful drivers, there are names that we have not even thought about that will be factors next season.
-ASA Southern Super Series Release
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America