Special from Speed51.com – Defending Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Pro Late Model champion Jackson Boone will be taking the next step in his racing career during the 2020 season. The Tennessee teenager recently told Speed51 that he will be moving up to the Super Late Model division, beginning with the 44th Annual Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway on March 22.
Boone enjoyed a breakout year in 2019, earning his first two career Pro Late Model wins on his way to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway track championship. After ending the year with a sixth-place run at the Snowflake 100, he makes the jump to Super Late Models in 2020 with a focus on the Southern Super Series title.
His Super Late Model career begins at the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway, a race that saw Giovanni Bromante pull off a surprise win in his SLM debut just one year ago.
“I’m so excited I can’t even put it into words. Just the feeling I’ve got going in, everyone’s worked so hard for this opportunity,” Boone told Speed51.com. “I look forward to racing with truly, in my opinion, what are the best drivers in the world. You’ve got a group of guys, not everybody has the funds to make it into NASCAR and this is all they’ve got. This is truly the cream of the crop. If you can beat drivers in the Super Late Model ranks, then you can beat anyone in the world in my opinion.”
The extra distance will bring a new challenge to Boone, who is accustomed to 100-lap races in the Pro Late Model. He is leaning on his experience in the Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway last year to prepare for the Rattler 250 and the strategy that goes with the event, noting the importance of sticking to a plan for an extra-distance race.
“I think it’ll be a combination of pacing myself and learning the strategy of the race. I’ve run the Alabama 200 before and I’ve run big races before but this will be one of the longer races I’ve ever run, and it’ll be my first Super race,” he said. “I think the biggest thing will be making sure I hit my marks every single lap. Our team will make a strategy and stick to the strategy the entire day, really not lose sight of that even if we come up on some mishaps during the race. Nothing will ever go straightforward to your plan but you’ve got to learn to adapt and stick with what you’ve got from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.”
The new season also brings new opportunities for Boone, who will chase after the Southern Super Series title. While he has seen stiff Pro Late Model competition over the years at tracks throughout the Southeast, the Southern Super Series provides a whole new level of challengers at any given race. He is reveling at the opportunity to see where he stacks up and to improve behind the wheel.
“It’s a really, really high level of intensity. It goes back to what I said about the Super Late Model competition, the Southern Super Series is just the cream of the crop of Late Model racers,” he said. “You’ve got Bubba Pollard, Stephen Nasse, guys like that out there that are the best of the best, I could go on and name names for probably 30 minutes that race in the Southern Super Series that are incredible drivers. It’ll be a really tight field, I think moving on with that field will definitely be good for my driving, it’ll teach me how to hone my skills with the most aggressive breed of drivers there is.”
While he would like to replicate Bromante’s performance from one year ago, Boone and team are keeping the goal simple for his Super Late Model debut. However, he is confident that his team is fully capable of putting the No. 7 in victory lane after 250-laps.
“My goal is to win. Obviously, you want to set your goals to win any race that you’re in, but I think if we can get through and run the whole race, finish the race, stick to our strategy and get us a top five it would be absolutely amazing,” he stated. “I never count out a win, and me and my team have talked about that. It’s never impossible to win and I’ve seen plenty of drivers get into a Super for the first time and win. I wouldn’t count that out because we have a great team and great equipment and I know if we do the right things, we can run up front.”
Boone is showing no fear heading into The Rattler, the first event of the season for the Southern Super Series. Not only of the fact that he will be making his Super Late Model debut in one of the region’s premier races, but also of the famed rattlesnake that awaits the winner, even going as far as offering a victory kiss if it means scoring a win.
“I know the snake scared my mom a lot, but snakes don’t really bother me. I told my crew chief if I win I’ll kiss the snake.”
The 44th Annual Rattler 250 will be broadcast live on Speed51. Stay tuned for more information regarding that broadcast and how you can watch if you’re not able to make it to Opp, Alabama.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51