Charlie Bradberry "Rattler" preview

Charlie Bradberry Looks Forward to One Kind of Rattler Young Driver Might Hate Snakes, But He Loves the Famous Race Chelsea, Alabama (March 2, 2005) -- When it comes to "Rattlers," there is only one that Charlie Bradberry likes and it's not the...

Charlie Bradberry Looks Forward to One Kind of Rattler
Young Driver Might Hate Snakes, But He Loves the Famous Race

Chelsea, Alabama (March 2, 2005) -- When it comes to "Rattlers," there is only one that Charlie Bradberry likes and it's not the one that slithers around on its belly.

"I do not like snakes," said Bradberry.

But Bradberry does like the 200-lap Super Late Model race named "The Rattler" at South Alabama Speedway. He's been there three times and never taken the checkered flag in a position worse than third.

In 2002, Bradberry won in his first attempt in the race. The next year, he crossed the finish line first, but a little post-race confusion caused his scorecard to be pulled and the win was taken away. Last year, Bradberry came away with a third-place finish.

"It's definitely the biggest race at that track," said Bradberry. "It feels really good to do well in a race where there is so much history behind it. I've won a lot of races at South Alabama and I won the last race there in 2004. I had a good battle with Ryan Crane. He led a lot of the race and we beat him out after the last pit stop. He ran me down and we raced side by side before I got him at the end."

The Rattler used to be a shorter race, but Bradberry feels that the current distance of 200 laps is just about perfect.

"I feel that the longer races make for a better race," said Bradberry. "It's more about strategy and survival. A 100-lap feature is more about the guy who gets out front and holds everyone off."

Bradberry made a trip to Birmingham International Raceway last weekend for the Southern All Star Series opener. The feature event was postponed by rain, but before that happened, Bradberry managed to set fast time and win the pole position.

"We found some stuff at Birmingham last weekend that will carry over this weekend," said Bradberry. "We have a good set-up under the car and I think that we will have the best car this weekend that I've ever had at this track."

What makes Bradberry's run at Birmingham even more impressive is the fact that it was the first event with a new crew chief. Ray Jones recently joined the #78 team and the positive chemistry between driver and crew chief has been instant.

"It's the first time that we ever worked together and we were really fast," said Bradberry. "We work well together and started off on the same page. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year."

One thing that Bradberry isn't looking forward to is a sideshow to the Rattler race. The Town of Opp, Alabama, also hosts another event on the same weekend. But Bradberry will be staying far away from the Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo.

"I've never been to that and I hope to never go to it," said Bradberry. "The time that I won, I was scared to death that someone was going to bring a snake to victory lane. I've been to the track website and seen old photos of the race winners having a rattlesnake wrapped around their neck and I do not want that!"

Charlie's brother, Gary Bradberry, raced in the old days of the Rattler and got to witness the tradition that Bradberry is very happy has passed.

"They used to bring snakes out and let them loose on the front stretch," said Bradberry. "They did that for everyone to look at them. I'm glad they don't do that anymore."

And why is that Charlie?

"Like I said before, I really hate snakes," said Bradberry.

Bradberry competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and selected major short track races during the 2004 season.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Gary Bradberry , Charlie Bradberry , Ray Jones