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Unpacking Montgomery 2024

Updated: Apr 16



After Each Race this season we are going to spend time unpacking the additional information that comes after the checkered flag drops. 


What a feeling it was for Matt Craig who had not won a Southern Super Series race since 2021.  Several close calls and near misses went by the wayside when he won at Montgomery for the second time in his career.  


Coming into Montgomery the last nine races had featured nine different pole winners. That streak continued as Connor Okrzesik set a fast time for the first time since 2018.  It was his third career pole and he marked the fourth different fast-time award winner this season. 


It was a career-best third-place finish for Billy VanMeter at Montgomery Motor Speedway.  VanMeter, who charged from 16th to finish third, earned the hard charger award for the second straight race.  VanMeter has finished three of the four races this season and has an average finish of 9th in those events. 


Regarding career-best finishes, Dustin Smith did the same with his second-place run, despite having the engine running hot as he pulled into victory lane.  Smith’s previous best finish came in the 2023 All American 400 where he posted a sixth-place run.  Now he’s logged a top five and the series will be heading to his home track at Mobile as the second part of the doubleheader in two weeks.  Look for more from Smith on the Gulf Coast. 


Another driver was fighting for a chance at a career-best finish. Jasper, Alabama driver John Bolen was running with the leaders when he ran out of fuel on the final lap causing a tangle and crash with Stephen Nasse.  Both were looking at top-five runs that ended up getting erased. 


Casey Roderick managed to maintain the point lead in the Southern Super Series point standings after a fifth-place run by the former series champion.  Roderick wasn’t around the top five most of the night but managed to be there at the end. Unofficially he leads Gio Ruggiero by 10 and Matt Craig by 23. 


Rookie Dawson Sutton posted another impressive run as he was sixth at Montgomery to mark his second top 10 of the year.  For Sutton, it was a refreshing run as he finished the race for the first time since SpeedFest where he was fourth. 


Cole Butcher didn’t have the best of days, but he posted a top-10 run along with teammate Gio Ruggiero.  Both Donnie Wilson Motorsports drivers have finished all four races in the top 10. What was impressive is this was the first start for both drivers in a Super Late Model at Montgomery.  They will face this again in two weeks when the series returns to Mobile. 


It was yet another heartbreaker for Michael Hinde who led a race-high 83 laps before a broken axle forced him out of the race.  Hinde led the most laps at Cordele last year and failed to win the race.  Several drivers are knocking on the door to be the next first-time winner. 


Only three drivers have posted top 10 runs in all four races this season and Jett Noland is one of them.  Noland has seven top-10 runs in his last nine starts dating back to last season.  It seems like it’s only a matter of time before he visits Victory Lane. 


The Rumble by the River 125 was not the only Late Model show at Montgomery this weekend as the track's Pro Late Model Show Me the Money series ran before the main event.  Stephen Nasse won the event over Bubba Pollard who was driving the Jim Wall ride as Wall himself was ill and asked Pollard to race the car.  


(Dan Vining Photo)

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