Bubba Pollard Goes to Victory Lane in Wild Blizzard Race 51Sports / Series PR
Senoia, Georgia, Driver Wins First Ever Race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida
You never know what to expect when you go to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. You know you’re going to see a great race, and chances are that some drivers are going to go home heartbroken. Would you ever expect to see it happen to not one, not two, but five drivers in the final ten laps?
Bubba Pollard has felt the heartbreak, and he probably was relieved when he cleared a five-car tangle that gave him the lead and the victory in the Miller Chill 100. The win was Pollard’s first in the Blizzard Series and his first at Five Flags Speedway.
“We have had good cars down here (Five Flags Speedway) all season,” said Pollard. We just haven’t had anything to show for it until tonight. A win means a lot for this team. We have had some bad races recently, but it feels really good to get a Blizzard win. I thought we had a car that could win before all the late-race mishaps.”
Bubba Pollard takes home his first career win at Five Flags Speedway. (51 Photos)
Pollard got the lead with five laps to go when leader Grant Enfinger and Eddie Mercer spun in the first turn. Enfinger and Mercer each claim that contact with third-place driver Mitch Cobb triggered the incident. Cobb and Pollard were right behind the two when the leaders went spinning. The wreck also included both Alex Haase and Blizzard Series points leader Josh Hamner. Enfinger and Cobb were done for the night.
“I had a run on the 82 (Enfinger), and he gave me the lane because his car was tight. I about had him cleared when the 94 (Cobb) drilled me from behind,” said Mercer. “I think the 94 (Cobb) had the fastest car and he still could have won the race, but he’s young and impatient.”
Enfinger was leading and had the best car all night, as he led a good chunk of the race, but a potential victory turned into a sour memory.
“Eddie (Mercer) had the line on me going into one; I gave him plenty of room,” explained Enfinger. “As quick as Mercer went around, I think Cobb just ran into him. It hurt our car pretty good. It was probably the most dominate car I have had since I have been racing here in Pensacola.”
Cobb has been very strong at Five Flags Speedway this season. He started on the pole for the Miller Chill 100 and had a fast hotrod until the wreck. Even before that he was coming back from a mishap on pit road that left him out of the top five with 35 laps to go.
The #72 Eddie Mercer (top), the #82 Grant Enfinger (middle), and #94 Mitch Cobb (bottom), could all have easily won the race before the late-race tangle with five to go. (51 Photos)
“Perfect. It was hands down the best car I have had this season,” said Cobb. “It looked to me that Mercer got under Enfinger and just lost it. He never took tires and he was loose; it was bound to happen. It’s frustrating because we were so good in the early part of the race.”
Perhaps the best view of the final wreck came from the race winner Pollard. He was right in the sandwich as the leaders spun. Pollard knows a lot about heartbreak, as he lost a race in the past to Augie Grill after getting moved out of the way on the final lap.
“I have been in their situation before,” said Pollard about the leaders. “They were racing pretty hard there, and guys were kind of getting pushy and they just all got together. I was committed to the low lane and I got tagged a little bit from behind, but they all spun up the track and I drove by.”
Pollard crossed the line first with Donnie Wilson, Donald Long, Mercer and Haase rounding out the top five.
All of this happened after Scott Carlson’s bid for a second Blizzard win of the season ended in the same turn. After a restart with ten laps to go Carlson pulled out by three car lengths, only to loop his car going into turn one and ending up in the wall. He managed to fix the car, and with the late-race accident he finished seventh, a spot in front of Hamner.
“I guess the track officials didn’t see the oil in turn one. I know that I didn’t see it”, said Carlson. “I thought our night was over, but my crew did an amazing job to get the toe back in line on the car. We came back and we picked up points, but it was frustrating because I got by Mercer and we were looking good. It was just not our night.”
Despite being caught up in the late-race wreck, Hamner will take the points lead going into the final race of the Blizzard Series on September 26th. A guaranteed starting spot for the 41st Annual Snowball Derby will be on the line.
“We were a little off tonight, and I was trying to come home with a decent finish,” said Hamner. “I don’t know what happened. I just figured that it was going to happen. You had Mercer and Enfinger up front and that’s enough to make it interesting. People get brain dead when there are 10 laps to go. We have all done it. We had a good points night by riding around at the end. It all comes down to the last race.”
The next Blizzard Series race will be on September 26th at Five Flags Speedway. For more information, please contact Matt Kentfield at (704) 788-2134.