Pro Late Models
JoJo Wilkinson Tackles Alabama 200 with Jett Motorsports
Mar 3, 2022
The spirits are high inside the office at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
General manager Stan Narrison and race director Nicholas Rogers are working on some last-minute logistics, and there are indeed logistics to be worked out. There are over 40 Pro Late Models and at least two dozen cars on the entry list for the Modifieds of Mayhem season opener.
There is a chance they might have to send some cars home before the Alabama 200 starts. It’s a good problem and everyone says it’s a testament to what Narrison has built since taking over at the venerable Alabama half-mile.
Narrison converted the Alabama 200 from a Super Late Model race into a Pro Late Model showcase. He also moved the race from early fall to early spring and the event has been growing in recent years as a result.
The $10,000-to-win payday certainly doesn’t hurt.
Everyone inside the grounds say Narrison has worked his butt off to make this event and track a marquee destination for high level short track competition.
"You can't say enough about Stan Narrison," veteran racer Justin South said. "He's the key to Montgomery coming back so strong the past couple of years. That's part of it, but I think coming out of COVID and people wanting to get out more, and this is just a perfect storm for a great car count."
Matthew Craig has made over a dozen trips to Montgomery over the past half-decade and it’s not one of his best tracks but JCR3 Racing continues to race here due to Narrision.
"Just the nicest guy," Craig says. "They call you and ask if you’d like to come race, ask us what we need and really want us to come. That’s why so many people are here today."
Rackley WAR team owner Willie Allen has two cars at Montgomery for Cole Williams and Brittney Zamora, but also operates a shock supplier and he says there’s just a big enthusiasm for racing right now.
"I think it’s the purse, the reduced tire bill and a better economy," Allen said. "Everyone wants to go racing. It seems like part suppliers can’t keep up right now because so many people want to come race."
Veteran racer Ricky Turner is now the crew chief for Jake Garcia and thinks the limited tires from the past year has started to save racers so much money that there’s more income to race early in 2022.
"It’s fun to show up and see a big field like this," Turner said. "It’s no fun to show up here and race against 12-15 cars and I really hope this keeps up next week at the Rattler and the rest of the summer."
Sure, the purse size helps, as does tire cost management, but racers like to race competition. Stephen Nasse was the 41st and made the decision to race after seeing the entry list. He was going to make the trip anyway to help Michael Hinde, but he wasn’t going to turn down the chance to race against Craig, Garcia, the Rackley WAR cars and defending winner Christopher Tullis.
Hunter Wright competed in the World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna last month and regularly competed against 30 cars every night. Even though he was involved in a handful of accidents, Wright was genuinely excited to compete against this caliber of competition.
It just feels like a big deal.
"This is a great field," Wright said. "It sometimes makes for a lot of cautions, longer races, but for fans, you get more racing around that race track, that’s important for everyone."
Narrison hopes to get a good crowd to watch on Saturday night as well. It hasn’t been for a lack of effort with a lot of social media activation, interviews and phone calls. Narrison is a definition promoter and two-time Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway champion Williams says he’s noticed the work.
"It just comes down to marketing and promotion," Williams said. "The last year in general, southern tracks are getting so much better at promoting their track and events. Stan is leading the way here. I think that’s part of it.
"The $10,000-to-win is part of it, but that trophy is a big deal. It’s a race that’s been around for 50 years and everyone wants to win it."
40 everyones, apparently!