Twenty-seven cars were in attendance at Five Flags Speedway (FL) Friday night to kick off the Southern Super Series doubleheader weekend. Bubba Pollard dominated the latter half of the 100-lap event before parking his No. 26 machine in familiar territory: Blizzard Series victory lane.
This win has been long anticipated for Pollard who has suffered from an unusual drought throughout the early 2017 season. His only victory had been the Red-Eye 100, a January race at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
Pollard acknowledged the difficulties his team has been having and the impact it’s had on all of them.
“We’ve been struggling and it’s been tough on us,” Pollard admitted.
Despite the misfortune, Pollard set fast-time in qualifying and after the invert, started third. At lap 51 of the feature, he left the competition in the dust.
“We’ve been working, and we haven’t given up,” Pollard said. “I can’t thank my guys enough. We had to come here and prove something. We had a good race car from the time we unloaded. Everybody has been counting us out, but we’re just getting going.”
Pollard’s words to the nonbelievers were simple.
“We’ve proved you can’t count us out. We may get down for a little bit, but we’ll be back.”
If Bubba Pollard stole the show, Kyle Plott was the opener. The 21-year-old native led the other 49 laps after getting a successful jump on pole-sitter Garrett Jones.
“My car was really good, but Bubba was just hooking up really good,” Plott said. This is our first time here with this car so we’ve got a good notebook on it.”
Plott was able to hold off the competition for three different restarts before ultimately fading to third place.
“We were really good the first part of the run,” Plott said. “We’ve just got to figure out how to make it last a little bit longer.”
Practice foreshadowed a strong run for Oklahoma native Donnie Wilson. Though disappointed with his finish, Wilson drove from a starting position of 19th all the way to second place.
“I can’t thank my crew enough,” Wilson said. “Because the driver really, really screwed up in qualifying. We had a really fast car and I guess everyone could tell with us coming from 19th to second.”
Wilson was disappointed in the lack of cautions that might have allowed him to challenge Pollard towards the end. He knows Pollard is always talented at Five Flags Speedway, but believes the tables may be turning soon.
“I think our time is coming,” Wilson said. “We had a good run and we’ll come back next time. Hopefully we’ll get a win tomorrow night at Mobile.”
Young gun Chase Purdy finished fourth and current Southern Super Series points leader Stephen Nasse rounded out the top five.
An on-demand broadcast of Friday night’s race can be seen now on Speed51.com. Trackside Now coverage can be found by clicking here.
The Southern Super Series returns to action Saturday night with a trip to nearby Mobile International Speedway (AL) for the KSJ 95. For those unable to attend the race, a live video stream will be available on Speed51.com for $14.99.
-Southern Super Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com