Enfinger Seals the Deal in The Rattler by Elgin Traylor
Trophy Stays in Alabama for the Second Straight Year
The 32nd annual Rattler 250 was the same story, but with a different ending, as Enfinger led the opening laps, went to the back and charged to the font to hold off Wayne Anderson for the win at South Alabama Speedway.
“It didn’t go how we expected it,” said Enfinger. “We were fast ever since we unloaded, this race means so much more then just a 100 lapper. We finally got it to pay off, we had a good car at the [Snowball] Derby but things didn’t work out.”
The win was the first for Enfinger since he won at Pensacola two years ago and he had to come from the back after being panelized for spinning Casey Smith on lap 49. Smith had won each of the last four Super Late Model events at the track dating back to last year’s Rattler.
“Casey (Smith) pressured us and he got by. I did not mean to get into him but I did. He washed up and I stuck my nose, it was just good hard racing and I hate he’s upset with me, explained Enfinger.
The spin did not damage ether car, both went to the rear and gave the lead to Wayne Anderson who would dominate the middle part of the race. Smith and Enfinger spent the next one hundred laps picking off cars one at a time.
There was a full field of Super Late Models at South Alabama Speedway for The Rattler. (51 Photos)
During the 2007 season it was clear that Fairhope, Alabama’s Grant Enfinger was one of the brightest young stars in the Super Late Model ranks. The only thing that was missing was a victory. On several occasions Enfinger and his team found themselves challenging for the win only to have it slip away. One might say they were “snake bit”.
“I was just following Casey (Smith) around, we let him do most of the passing and I just followed,” said Enfinger.
Enfinger got around Smith and when the yellow came out with 75 laps to go, Smith hit pit road for fresh rubber. The move would prove to be costly as the next restart found him back in the pack only to end up wrecked hard on the front stretch.
“The car we won all the races with is destroyed,” said Smith. “We came in for tires and the 07 (Brad Webb) got into (Shane) Seig and he turned right into us. We got turned into the wall and that was that. You know Grant told me two years ago he was going to wreck, I thought he was kidding.”
After the wreck Enfinger was second on what would be the final restart, it took only twenty laps before he would trade a little paint with leader Wayne Anderson in an effort to get by. The two went bumper to bumper as the worked around lap traffic before Anderson washed up coming out of four giving the lead to Enfinger for good on lap 206.
“This track is so hard to pass,” said Enfinger. “On we could get runs we could complete the pass. It means a lot to win and beat Wayne (Anderson) to do it. You know were not in Pensacola but the drivability went away in those closing laps.”
Anderson held off Korey Ruble for second, Jason Hogan was fourth and Shane Seig was fifth.
“Port City loaned me a McGunnegill motor and we were a rocket,” said Anderson. “The 82 (Enfinger) never stopped to put on rights and we thought we would have gotten a caution with thirty or forty to go but it never came. I brought my wife down with my son and one other guy and we pieced together a second place run, we accomplished a lot today.”
Snake lesson 101. The history of the Rattler can be traced back to the only other event that goes on each year in Opp, Al. J.P. Jones brought the Rattle Snake rodeo to town some 48 years ago. There were demonstrations with live rattlesnakes before both days of racing. And judging from the distance of the crowd races will stick to snake free events for the time being.
Hometown Kid Runs Third
Korey Ruble had some guys shaking their after the Rattler 250. The Dothan, Alabama driver went the entire distance on the same set of tires. The amazing thing was he was still closing on second place Wayne Anderson in the closing laps.
“We made a bad decision,” said Ruble. “We should have come in at lap 75 to get tires. We’re getting a little better each time we race. It’s always nice to get a good finish in front of the home town crowd.”
Truck Driver Takes a Break
Part time Craftsman Truck Series driver Shane Seig took a break from the high fast
ovals to have some fun at South Alabama Speedway. Seig timed in 11th fastest and
drove a smart race to come home third.
“Just to get track time is always fun,” said Seig. “Our car was good, but it was down on
Seig will be back behind the wheel of his truck this weekend at Atlanta.
Defending Champ Ends Up Sixth
One statement that was made all weekend was that last year’s Rattler could not be
topped. The wild finish was still the talk of the pits even as one of the two drivers involved
was not racing. The defending champion Augie Grill was back looking to defend his title
only to end up sixth, as the last car on the lead lap.
“It didn’t feel bad at all, it just wasn’t fast,” explained Grill. “We tried a few things with this car today and it didn’t work at all, I guess it’s back to the drawing board.”
Grill did bring back the same car that won the race last year, but he was never really higher then fifth during the day. Several time he ended up with minor damage mostly incidents under yellow.
“I turned under a slow car and he hit me, I got door slammed on pit road, it was a crazy day.
“I know Grant (Enfinger) is feeling good in victory lane this is a good race to win.”
While Grant Enfinger won The Rattler for the first time (Top), Casey Smith had a very different outcome to what he's been used to at South Alabama Speedway (Bottom).
Choquette Struggles Away From Florida
Many drivers would consider a top ten finish in the Rattler a good run. But when you have won seven times in nine starts it not what your use too, Jeff Choquette dominated in Florida in January and February but ended up out of the mix at The Rattler.
“We’ve got to go through this car,” said Choquette. “We came up here and we struggled all weekend. It didn’t matter what we threw at this car it just didn’t work. It was new car and we got some work to do to it.
Modified Race Turns Some Heads
Many of the super late model fans had their eyes glued to the Modified race. Manly because of the one driver, Ricky Brooks. The tech man from five Flags Speedway put on a whale of a show after battling for the lead all night in the fifty lap event. Brooks even went off road racing at one point into the tires. After fifty laps Brooks stood tall in victory lane.
“I still race on a time to time basis, these Mods are a lot of fun. I miss racing from time to time but I am doing more good down in Pensacola.”
When asked if a few drivers could take a look under his hood he replied, “They can come tear it apart, it’s legal”
For the record Brooks passed post race inspection with no problems.
1.Grant Enfinger 2.Wayne Anderson 3.Korey Ruble 4.Jason Hogan 5.Shane Seig 6.Augie Grill 7.Danny Bagwell 8.Josh Hamner 9.Jeff Choquette 10. Heath Hindman 11.Roger Reuse 12.David Hodges 13.Jason Young 14.William Wambles 15.Casey Smith 16.Brad Webb 17.Dave Mader III 18.Ryan Crane 19.Jeremy Rice 20.Dennie Perkins 21.Jeff Fultz 22.Bubba Pollard 23.Greg Boone 24.Chris Davidson DNS
You could find Ricky Brooks in victory lane instead of the tech shed at South Alabama.
The real star of The Rattler.