Super Late Models
Johnny Sauter Racing for Fun and with Family in 2022
Mar 26, 2022
It’s race day for the Georgia Spring Nationals at Watermelon Capital Speedway and everyone appears to be chasing Speedfest winner Bubba Pollard.
There are a lot of similarities between the South Georgia speedway and South Alabama Speedway where the Rattler 250 took place on March 13. Pollard won the big race in Cordele in January and finished runner-up to Ty Majeski in Kinston, Alabama.
It appears the baseline set-up that he uses for both tracks is once again paying dividends through two days of practice in advance of the race on Saturday night.
The biggest challenge for everyone, including Pollard, is having four big deal races over a span of five weeks and making sure everything gets refreshed before returning to the track. That’s especially true for Hunter Robbins and Ronnie Sanders Racing after their fourth place run in the Rattler.
"You have to finish the first one to get to the second one and we did that," Robbins said. "But it's really hard to race, essentially back-to-back. There's a lot on the line this weekend and we're looking forward to having a consistent run, good clean run and giving ourselves a shot at the end."
The hectic nature of short track racing is essentially what prevented Matthew Craig and JCR3 Racing from making the trip out to South Alabama Speedway two weeks ago.
Needing to spend almost a full week in Kinston followed by another race weekend 11 days later would have been too much to ask on their budget and responsibilities. This is a team that intended to chase the championship this season but just needed a more condensed schedule to make the logistics work out.
"We had a lot of work to take care of at C&C Boiler and we had to take care of that," Craig said. "The Rattler would have meant leaving on Wednesday and not getting back until Monday and not getting back to work until Tuesday.
"It's tough for us to be gone that long and I hope we can just get the schedule worked out so we can do that race in the future."
The grind is real for teams hoping to chase the Southern Super Series championship and take part in the Southern Super Stars bonus program. After this race on Saturday night, there is another off weekend, followed by two races on Friday and Saturday at Five Flags Speedway on April 8-9.
"The doubleheaders like that make me nervous because you have to make sure you can get to the second race and not have anything bad happen in the first," Robbins said.
And that's from a driver that has access to Donald Long’s shop that weekend in Pensacola. With that said, a crash would take time to repair, and during a well-publicized parts shortage, all the proximity in the world might not make a difference anyway.
It’s not a NASCAR 36-race schedule but the strain is just as real for a bi-weekly Super Late Model program.
The strain was self-induced for Stephen Nasse on Friday afternoon. The team unloaded a car with the old-style body but chose to swap over to the next generation shell in the closing hours of practice. They got 45 minutes in during happy hour and decided to race with that car on Saturday.
The indecision was born of the same concern as his peers.
"There is just so much racing going on right now," Nasse said. "It’s basically back-to-back-to-back. There never seems to be enough time to get the work done. I feel pretty good about our car. We unloaded the old body car and just couldn’t get a handle on it.
"We were trying some new things and we couldn’t quite figure it out so we decided to pull out the new body. We got about 45 minutes in it and got quite a bit better with it. Honestly, I think we’re right there with Bubba based on where it unloaded, and we can work on that package some today."
What were the differences Nasse felt between the two body styles?
"The old body car, we were trying some things, so to me, I don’t notice a feel, but I do sense a wider ride sitting in it," Nasse said. "I feel like we are much closer to the wall than I actually am. I leave a lot more room and that’s weird.
"As far as the set-up, it’s a similar set-up but in traffic you might feel a little more air, but I personally haven’t had that issue yet. For us, we just wanted to try something different."
Qualifying for the Georgia Spring Nationals is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET. The race is scheduled for approximately 8 p.m. ET following features for the Bandoleros, Legends, Mini Stocks and Pure Stocks. An Outlaw Late Model race is scheduled to take place after the Southern Super Series main event.
Qualifying and racing will air on Racing America and the broadcast details can be found below.