Chaos reigned supreme in the first half of Friday’s Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco race at Five Flags Speedway. But at the end of the night, it was former Southern Super Series champion and Blizzard Series master Bubba Pollard who rose above the flames of controversy to score his 16th career victory.
Pollard beat out early race leader Chandler Smith on a Lap 95 restart, following the race’s major round of pit stops, to score his 16th career Blizzard Series win.
“It feels good. We had a good race car. It was a long race man,” Pollard said. “I knew we were coming in to get rights, some time, some point during the race. It was all about saving our left side tires and we had to be patient at the beginning of the race and ride and save our left rear for when we had that 20, 25-lap run here we had something for him. So, that’s just being patient. Kind of letting these races play out. The field has gotten a lot better. They’re racing hard. The style of racing has kind of changed from last year because the field has gotten so much better.”
Pollard’s biggest threat was a multi-car crash on Lap 52, with Pollard’s No. 26 sustaining a noticeable flesh wound between the right-side tires when Donnie Wilson slid sideways.
“We just got lucky it isn’t worse than it is,” Pollard admitted. “Luckily, it didn’t affect us. You know, all four wheels are pointed straight forward so that’s the important thing.”
Perhaps even more amazing was Casey Roderick’s runner-up finish, following a separate crash the lap before the big wreck, with the No. 18 sustaining heavy damage to the rear after going three-wide with Wilson and Pollard. The Ronnie Sanders Racing crew showed their grit and ingenuity, patching the tail of the car back together. In the end, Roderick felt he had no one to blame but himself for being in that situation.
“Feels really good to come back from an issue during a race, and like I said I put myself in that position; I shouldn’t have,” Roderick, the current Southern Super Series points leader said. “I got way more experience to know better than that. Upset at myself more than anything. I want to thank my guys for working hard and getting me back out there to be able to contend for winning the race.
“We weren’t quite good enough there at the end. Just a little bit too tight rolling the center. I got to the gas really good, but it’s too late in the corner and you know they’re already in the gas when I’m sitting there waiting for it to get turned down. We’ll go back to the shop, make some notes, comeback stronger and beat Bubba.”
For Chandler Smith, the early race dominator, he eventually brought his No. 26S home in the third position after leading the most laps of the race. Late restarts and short runs ultimately proved to be his undoing for a race victory.
“We had a really good Toyota Camry tonight,” Smith began. “I felt we had the car to beat to be honest. If we were able to get a really long green flag run, like 40 laps, we would definitely had them beat. Pollard hands down had us down on the restarts, I need to work on that a little bit as a driver but good job to him, hats off to his crew. We’ll come back and be a little better.
Kyle Plott recovered from also being involved in the Lap 52 crash and came back to finish a seasons-best fourth with Garrett Jones rounding the top five.
Next up, the drivers from the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco will head to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Short Track U.S. Nationals, May 19-20.
-Story By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Blizzard Series / Southern Super Series Unofficial Results
Five Flags Speedway (FL) – April 27, 2018
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