There were a lot of questions surrounding the new Late Model rules package ahead of last Saturday’s season opening race at Southern National Motorsports Park. After twin features provided some of the best racing the track has produced in years and four different engine combinations finished in the top five, there’s little question that the new rules provide parity among several different engine combinations.
A GM 604 Crate engine picked up the win in the first of twin races with Bradley McCaskill taking home the victory. In race number two of the night, a GM 603 Crate engine went to victory lane piloted by Andrew Grady. In both races, a Chevrolet built engine finished in the top five with a Little Hickory engine finishing third in the night cap before being moved to the rear of the finishing order for a tire infraction.
“We spent a lot of time on our rules package and talked with a lot of engine builders and racers to come up with what we thought would be a great rules package,” track promoter Langley Austin said. “You never know how it will all play out when the cars actually hit the race track but we couldn’t ask for any better results.
“Four different engine packages finished in the top five of the second race with three of them in the top five of the first race. The engine that everyone said would have the biggest advantage (Chevrolet built engine) finished a best of third place. We couldn’t have expected any closer performance between the engine combinations.”
That parity was also exhibited in qualifying with a GM 604 Crate engine turning fast time, two Chevrolet built engines in second and third and two GM 603 Crate engines rounding out the top five. The only Ford 347JR Crate engine that attempted the race had problems in qualifying and did not take time or start either of the twin features.
“We found some places where we need to make tweaks in the rules and make some clarifications. We knew we couldn’t be perfect on opening night with something this new and combining two divisions but we were closer than everyone thought we’d be. The next couple of races will give us more insight but we feel pretty good about where we’re at with the rules right now.”
Austin promised to make more tweaks and continue to strive for parity.
“We’re going to make some tweaks here and some tweaks there but I think we’ve found a set of rules that everyone can run competitively with what they have available to them. They won’t have to spend a bunch of money on another engine package because no matter what you run it will be competitive at Southern National.”
The next race at Southern National Motorsports Park will be the Jerry Moody Memorial on Sunday, April 26th. The green flag will drop at 3pm.
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