When you’re hot, you’re hot. Bubba Pollard is on top of the Super Late Model racing world in the Southeast. He’s had a season where all the chips have fallen his way. He now has a half-a-dozen victories, due to his last-lap heroics in the second round of the Blizzard Series Super Late Model Series Friday night at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
Pollard ran in the top five all night throughout the Papa John’s 100, but it wasn’t until the final straightaway of the final lap that he took the top spot away from two-time defending Snowball Derby champion Augie Grill to take the win. During that final lap, Pollard sailed off into the third turn only to break loose. Grill did the same and drifted high. The two came off the fourth turn side-by-side, just inches apart from each other. The drag race to the finish line was won by Pollard by just 75-hundredths of a second.
“To start out a season with this many wins (now 6 total) is awesome,” said Pollard. “That was a great finish. I was really in the zone on that final lap and it’s great to be able to race that hard and not wreck or tear up equipment. We had a similar finish with Augie (Grill) a year ago in a 100-lap Pro Late Model race here. We ended up in the wall backwards at the finish on that night. This feels better for all of us, I think, and I know the fans loved it.”
For Pollard, it was his second career Blizzard Series win at Five Flags and it gives him the overall lead in the Blizzard Series standings. Pollard also leads the overall Gulf Coast Championship Series, which consists of Super Late Model events at Five Flags and at Mobile Int’l Speedway (AL).
“Anytime you come down here to race, the competition is tough,” said Pollard. “It’s always like a Derby field. Getting a top five is hard enough, winning is even tougher. We have had a really good start and hope we can keep the momentum going.”
Augie Grill ended up second after leading well over half of the race. Grill led the first fifty laps before the two-tire pit stop during a lap-50 caution flag. Grill then sliced back through the field and regained the top spot from Eddie Mercer with the aid of a lapped car on lap 81, before losing it on the final lap.
“I think we were just as good as Bubba at the end,” said Grill. “He could stay with me, but he couldn’t do anything with me until I got crossed up real bad. I thought we could still pull it off. We both went into turn three way too hard on the last lap; he broke loose, I slid up the hill, and it made a great race for all the fans. It was fun! There are only a handful of guys that could race that hard and not wreck each other; tonight we ended up racing with a good group of guys.”
Mercer tried hard to stay with Grill once the number-112 went by his car, but with 10 laps to go he lost the back end of his racecar and slipped back to fourth.
“We were really good tonight,” said Mercer. “I caught a lapped car that pinned us on the bottom and Augie got by me. We ran him back down and I broke it loose off of two really bad, and I slipped way back and we wound up fourth.”
Texas driver Casey Smith was able to get by Mercer for third place late in the race. As Grill and Pollard crossed the finish line, Smith had a bird’s eye view of the fantastic finish. He ended up short of the victory; however, he was very satisfied with his finish.
“It’s good to finish strong in one of these races,” said Smith. “It was a crazy finish at the end. Bubba got loose off of four and I could have gotten him, but I had to wreck him to do that and I wasn’t going to do that so we settled for third.”
The final rundown had Pollard over Grill, Smith, Mercer and Hunter Robbins. Sixth through 10th were John Bolen, Ryan Sieg, Johanna Long, Josh Hamner and Jeremy Colangelo.
The five Blizzard Series and five Miller Lite Series events at Mobile Int’l Speedway will make up the “Gulf Coast Championship” Series, where drivers competing at both tracks are eligible for bonuses at the end of the season.
For more information about Five Flags Speedway, the Blizzard Series or the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com or contact the track by calling (850) 944-8400.
BLIZZARD SERIES ROUND #2
Five Flags Speedway, Pensacola, FL