Saturday, March 23, 2019

PixelatedBITS: Leftovers from the 43rd Annual Rattler 250

Fans will see plenty more of Ty Majeski this year at short tracks across the country in his Super Late Model, and in the ARCA Menards Series super speedway races with Chad Bryant Racing. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

OPP, Alabama (March 23, 2019) -- The 43rd Annual Rattler 250, opening up the 2019 Southern Super Series at South Alabama Speedway is in the books, but here are a few more tidbits before we move on to the season’s second race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

Gio Youngest Rattler Winner

At just 15 years old, Giovanni Bromante became the youngest winner in the 43 year history of the Rattler 250. Previously, the youngest winner was Kyle Benjamin, who won his Rattler 250 in 2013 at the age of 16.

When told about that little stat, Bromante told PixelatedSPEED, “Wow! That’s crazy to know!”

Majeski looking at more short track racing, plus speedway racing in ARCA

During the post race interviews, Short Track Scene’s Matt Weaver found out that Ty Majeski is still employed by Ford Performance as simulator driver and still stoking the fire in an effort to continue his career.

Majeski feels like he was “thrown to the wolves” in his NASCAR Xfinity Series run with Roush Fenway Racing in 2018. This year, Roush’s Xfinity effort has been shutdown, leaving Majeski without a ride in NASCAR’s second tier series.

That said, Majeski plans on having a full plate of short track racing coupled with the recently announced ARCA Menards Series deal to race at super speedways for Chad Bryant Racing… the same team that fields cars for Corey Heim on the ARCA short track schedule. Heim finished 14th in the Rattler 250 behind the wheel of his number 78 Super Late Model.

Okrzesik rebounds to finish the weekend on a high note

Connor Okrzesik has been one of late model racing’s hottest shoes as of late, scoring a surprising win against Kyle Busch in the SpeedFest 200 in Georgia, and constantly being in contention in every race he runs.

In Saturday night’s Baby Rattler 125, Okrzesik battled with Bubba Pollard late for the win after starting from the pole. His night did not turn out the way he would have liked, however, after three restarts that were marred by jumping, laying back and contact with Pollard.

In Sunday’s main event, Okrzesik started further back in the field, but stayed out of trouble and was able to finish off a dramatic weekend, added to the notebook with a strong fourth place finish.

“It was alright,” he said after the race. “I would have liked to have finished top three, maybe even win. We just didn’t have a car to compete with them (the leaders) at all… it was just way to free early then too tight in the last run.”

“It’ solid notes, but I would’ve like to have finished better with our Metro Glass Toyota.”

Nasse, Pollard and Roderick all favorites to win, all have issues

The front row of the 43rd Rattler 250 consisted of 2014 winner Casey Roderick on the pole, alongside former Baby Ratter winner Stephen Nasse.

Roderick seemed to be off the pace compared to his rivals during the first 100 laps of the race, ultimately pulling his machine behind the wall with drive train issues. Roderick won the Baby Rattler 125 on Saturday night.

Nasse had a left rear tire come loose, causing him to spin out near the entrance of pit road, just as a caution for Austin Nason flew. Nason made contact with another car going into turn one on lap 105, and came to a stop at the exit of turn two. In the process of the caution, Nasse lost two laps getting his car down to the attention of his crew.

“We had a left rear tire come loose and that’s why I spun out,” Nasse told Speed 51’s Koty Geyer.  “I needed a caution and we got that but I lost two laps trying to get the studs to strip.  Trying to make up that track position was almost impossible.  I thought I almost got a lap back but we ended up not getting it back and it’s just one of them deals where cautions never really flew when we needed them to.”

Bubba Pollard was a top five car the bulk of the day after starting in the third spot. Contact with another driver following the race’s final restart on lap 176 left Pollard with a left front tire rub. It wasn’t long before the 2012 Rattler 250 winner began to fall back, settling in for a disappointing 13th place finish.

Grill and Bryant’s ended way too early after contact in turn four

Augie Grill’s day ended on lap 7 after contact with Dawson Fletcher in turn four sent Grill spinning into the inside wall. In the process, Kyle Bryant was jacked up by Logan Bearden, with the resulting damage causing Grill, Bryant and Bearden to drop out of the event.

Unfortunately, Bryant would be credited with a last place finish after starting 12th.

“Disappointing end to the weekend,” he said. “Got shoved into a car on lap 7 and we have nothing to show for the good car we brought to the racetrack. Guys worked hard all weekend, and we’ll rebound at Pensacola.”

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