The 2011 racing season has come to a close for Kris Southern, son of long-time Kroger member Gary Southern and cousin of UFCW Local 400 Executive Board Member and Kroger member Larry Southern. Kris’ Crate Late Model “K2” racecar proudly displays the UFCW Local 400 lettering for all to see as he zips around the dirt tracks.
Kris Southern, 38, is an accomplished racecar driver based in Jane Lew, W.Va. This season, Kris won numerous awards finishing in the top five or better. His greatest accomplishment was winning the track Championship at Elkins Speedway in the Fastrak division.
“When my other children grew up we didn’t have any more baseball games or cheerleading competitions to watch,” said Gary. “So when Kris took up racing eight years ago it brought us back together as a family.”
Local 400 has been has been one of his sponsors for the past six years, and ever since, his union brothers and sisters have been turning out in droves to support Kirs at his races in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. This gives him one of the largest fan bases on the circuit.
“Many fans and spectators as well as the pit crews approach Kris asking what Local 400 is,” said Gary. “The response is generally positive since most places Kris races are in areas that support union workers like the coal miners in West Virginia.”
When Kris isn’t racing, he’s working at United Hospital Center and finding junk cars with useable parts to add to his racecars that he builds by himself.
“The Southern family is part of the Local 400 family and we are very proud to support Kris’ racing career,” said Mark Federici, Secretary-Treasurer. “He’s a terrific driver and every time he races, word gets out about our great union and how we empower workers to improve their lives.”
Currently, Kris only races on dirt tracks, but next season he plans to expand his racing program to include other tracks in order to improve his racing skills and gain experience. As always, Local 400 will be there supporting him and our members will be cheering him on.