Ronnie Sanders is something of a legend in southern Super Late Model racing.
The title certainly applies at South Alabama Speedway where he won the prestigious Rattler 250 on three different occasions in a career that also spanned victories in the 1977 Snowball Derby and 2005 World Crown 300.
So, when Ty Majeski matched Sanders with his third Rattler 250 last summer, the accomplishment wasn’t lost on him.
“It means a lot to be tied with him,” Majeski said. “I mean, winning this race once means a lot when you look at the entry list every year. It’s like the Snowball Derby in the sense that there’s the same quality 30 deep, even without the quantity.
“It’s the first big race of the year where a lot of the top teams come down and it would just mean a lot being a team from Wisconsin to come down here and win any time we can.”
Sanders didn’t have to come as far, hailing from Fayetteville, Georgia, but it certainly was equally challenging back in the day against the likes of Jody Ridley, Junior Niedecken, Butch Lindley and Mickey Gibbs.
“That was a long time ago,” Sanders will tell you.
His first one came in 1982 but did it against a different generation in 1999 and 2001, too.
Sanders was that good at the .4-mile for that long.
“This is a special race to every one of us,” Sanders said. “It’s been around a long time. It’s special once you get a hold of that snake.”
The snake, of course, referring to the live rattler the winner has to pose with in victory lane after 250 laps.
What makes Majeski’s accomplishment here so more impressive is that he has three wins in just five starts at the track – each in the Rattler.
Sanders made over 20 starts in the event.
“This place is very similar to midwestern tracks that we have back home,” Majeski said. “It’s abrasive and fits our package. What we do with our race cars carries over.”
Majeski will start the 2021 Rattler from third seeking to break the record he shares with Sanders. One of the cars lined up in front of him when he takes the green flag will actually be the Ronnie Sanders Racing No. 18 now driven by Hunter Robbins.
This will be Robbins’ sixth time taking the green in the Rattler with a best finish of second in 2007. He’s won twice here in Pro Late Model competition, and it would be rewarding to win on two fronts: Winning for his team but also preventing Majeski from overtaking his mentor.
“I want to win this really bad,” Robbins said. “Beyond all of that, here and Montgomery is where I learned how to race and to do it against this caliber of field would be really rewarding.”
A win for Robbins would also be a fifth Rattler win for Sanders, who also won as an owner with Bubba Pollard in 2012.
“My style of driving just fit this place,” Sanders said. “We just killed them. It’s like what Ty is doing to us now. I want to leave here with his car.”