Bubba Pollard Puts Sanders’ Car in
Victory Lane at Five Flags in Pepsi Max 100
With Car Owner Overcoming Cancer, Pollard
Climbs to Victory in Blizzard Series Opener
51 Sports PR Report

Bubba Pollard took the Ronnie Sanders-owned red #18 Super Late Model back to victory lane at Five Flags Speedway for the first time in eight years Friday night by winning the 2010 Blizzard Series Opening Pepsi Max 100.  Sanders, a veteran short track racer who is on the mend from a recent successful surgery to combat cancer, was the last driver to take the checkers in the car at the famed Pensacola, Florida track in the final race of the Blizzard Series season in 2002.

“The biggest thing tonight is Mr. Ronnie,” said Pollard.  “Without him and his crew I wouldn’t be doing all the racing that I’m doing.  He’s getting himself well and I’m just doing what I can to hold up my end of this deal and keep winning races.

For much of the event, it looked like it was going to be three-in-a-row for Augie Grill, who won the final two Blizzard races of the 2009 season and led 95 laps of Friday night’s feature.  However, it was seemingly not meant to be for the Hayden, Alabama driver as Grill experienced rear end trouble with only five laps to go and was forced to park his #112 behind the wall.

Once Grill parked his machine, the lead was handed to 14-year old Chase Elliott.  But, a pair of late-race restarts allowed Pollard to jump to victory.  On each of the final restarts, Elliott spun the tires of his #9 car.  The first time, Elliott was bailed out by a caution that flew just one lap after the restart.  The second time around, however, another bad restart by Elliott allowed Pollard to get along side.  The two battled side-by-side before Pollard was able to take the lead with two laps remaining.

“It looked like Augie pretty much had us all covered,” explained Pollard.  “But when he came in (to the pits) I could see we were really going to have a good shot at it. Chase (Elliott) spun the tires on both of the (late-race) restarts.  I was able to get up next to him and on the second restart I was able to make it by.  Hopefully this is a good showing of what’s to come for us this year.”

“That was completely my fault,” commented Elliott.  “I spun the tires on both of those restarts with Bubba behind me and I just wasn’t able to hold him off.  Ricky (Turner, Crew Chief) and the guys gave me a great car tonight though and this was a good run for us regardless.  Hopefully we can keep backing up these good finishes down here all year.”

Behind Elliott in third was Ryan Lawler in Stanley Smith’s #49 machine with a strong run on his 23rd birthday.  Casey Smith finished fourth and Jeff Fultz rounded out the top-five.

The Pepsi Max 100 also marked the opening event of the 2010 Gulf Coast Championship Series which consists of both the Blizzard Series events at Five Flags Speedway and the Miller Lite Series races at Mobile International Speedway.

The best drivers of the Super Late Model ranks will head back to Pensacola, Florida to Five Flags Speedway for the second round of Blizzard Series competition on May 28th, 2010.

For more information about Five Flags Speedway, the Pepsi Max 100 or the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com or contact the track by calling (850) 944-8400.

Bubba Pollard and Ronnie Sanders in victory lane.  (51 Photos)
Augie Grill dominated the race, but found himself parked at the finish due to a mechanical problem.
Chase Elliott's #9 Super Late Model.