PLOVER, WI – Gabe Sommers Racing headed south for their second event of the racing season, the UARA National Series’ Rattler 250 at the famed South Alabama Speedway. The threats of rain made for a chaotic and fast paced whirlwind of a weekend for GSR in Kinston, Alabama.

Unloading on Thursday for some ever important tack time, Gabe and the No. 15 set the tone early on as a potential frontrunner to meet the rattlesnake in victory lane. Timing in third quick after turning a total of 107 laps around the speedway, Sommers was content with the overall handling of the car, but far from ready to settle on its raw pace. Friday brought more of the same for GSR, with the No. 15 lurking just behind the leaders on the scoring pylon as the crew continued to tune in their machine. As the afternoon skies started to dim, a decision was announced by the UARA officials to move the race from Sunday to Saturday with the expectation of heavy rain on the original race date.

The newly announced date for the Rattler 250 made teams and drivers alike consider a change in their game plans, GSR included. Now set to qualify and race on the same day, and transitioning from a daytime race on Sunday to Saturday night under the lights, they knew execution would be paramount in the pits and on track.

Saturday’s qualifying session would put Gabe in the hole a bit, mustering an 18th place effort out of a potentially bad set of tires, with the driver unsure of how it was possible the car had changed so drastically after bolting on the new set of shoes for time trials. Rolling off from the outside of the ninth row, patience was the new operative of the night for Gabe. Picking his way slowly up the order, the No. 15 popped up in the fifteenth spot on Lap 40/250. A yellow would come out right as Gabe slotted into the position, reracking the field for another opportunity of door to door action.

Yellows scattered the race up until the 60th circuit around South Alabama Speedway, where fans would see the field stretch out and snake their way around the track until Lap 120, as Gabe was sent nose first into the backstretch wall by another car while running 12th, causing considerable cosmetic damage to the right front and rear quarters of his racecar. The field took the opportunity to make use of the caution flag as their halfway break, a chance to top off their cars and snag some new American Racer tires.

With the body patched up as best as they could with the short break, the GSR crew sent Gabe back out, with the No. 15 tagging onto the field in 18th. Within thirty laps time, Sommers had gone back on the offensive, tearing up the running order and finding his way to the top ten, with plenty more in the tank. With just 90 laps to go, a bottleneck for 8th set up a chain reaction, with Sommers barely escaping with his nose and rear bumper intact. He’d soon pull onto pit road under caution for adjustments and to make sure the body panels were still in functioning shape.

Rejoining the field in 11th, it was all business for Gabe, putting his head down and driving back up to 7th before the yellow flag flew again with just 40 laps to go, receiving some nose damage after two cars in front of him stacked up, with one ending up backwards off turn two. Once again, Gabe would bring his No. 15 pit side for some more adjustments, looking to fix the handle on his machine as the tires began to show their wear.

Returning to the rear of the field again, Sommers would lurk inside the backside of the top ten as a freight train of seven cars stood in the way of clean air and open track. Once again the caution would fly, this time with just 22 laps remaining in the Rattler 250 for a single car spin in turn one. Return trips to the pits would be in order for Sommers on this particular caution flag, as well as the following just 13 laps later. Unable to catch the field by the time they went back green, Gabe would keep the nose clean for the final few laps, bringing the Meristem Crop Performance/Farmer’s Promise Ford home in P11.

Overcoming many challenges and obstacles in Alabama, GSR’s trip to the Rattler 250 left the crew and driver looking for more, but happy to load the car up in one piece at the end of the day. They look forward to their next race on the schedule, where they will take on the best of the Midwest at Dells Raceway Park on April 13 for the opening race of the 2024 Alive For 5 Series season, and their first of the year on home turf.