After rescheduling several times since the original date in March due to COVID-19, the 44th Annual Rattler Weekend at the South Alabama Speedway is ready to wave the green flag and proceed with racing.
The action is scheduled to begin with local division races on Friday night. The Grasshopper Pro Late Model 125 highlights the action the following day and the Hardee’s Rattler 250, the main event of the weekend which kicks off the Southern Super Series, is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday.
It will be the first time the event at the 4/10 mile oval asphalt track just off Highway 52 between Kinston and Opp has been held over Memorial Day weekend.
“We’re expecting a great turnout, both in the pit area and in the grandstands because a lot of people are wanting to do something,” SAS spokesman Ryan McCollough said. “They’ve been sitting at home or they’ve been cooped up going on now two months.
“We think this will be a good opportunity for them to get out and come see a great event in a fun family environment. We’re just tickled to death to open up and let racers go race and fans can watch it.”
Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement on Thursday allowing the opening of entertainment venues and athletic activities subject to social distancing and sanitation guidelines and rules paved the way for the race weekend to go on as planned.
Fans, drivers and crew members will be screened before entering the facility.
“We have partnered with Ivy Creek Healthcare,” McCollough said. “They are going to do screens for all drivers and crew members. Anybody that goes into the infield, or goes into the pit area, they are going to have a brief little health screening.
“Fans will have a temperature check station. Once you check out OK, you’ll be able to go in. Fans will have to do that every single time they go in and out of the facility. There will be some people in the grandstand area trying to monitor (social distancing).”
The delay has meant losing some original drivers in the lineup, but picking up some others — such as Ty Majeski, who won back-to-back titles at the Rattler 250 in 2016 and 2017 and is now on the NASCAR Truck Series, and last year’s Rattler winner, Giovanni Bromante, a 16-year-old from Long Island, N.Y.
“The Rattler is normally like a kickoff event for the Late Model racing scene across the country,” McCollough said. “Even though we’re two months kind of behind, it’s still going to be that way because not a lot of race tracks have been able to run races so far.
“We’re really excited about it finally being here. We do have some reserve seats available. General admission tickets can be bought at the gate. Pit passes are still for sale.”
For ticket prices, the weekend schedule of events and more details, check www.southalabamaspeedway.com