Mobile International Speedway hosted its second of only two Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco events of the 2017 season Saturday night. Sixteen Super Late Models battled it out around the Alabama half-mile, but the victory came down to a wrestling match of horsepower between two strong machines.
Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard played a game of cat and mouse as the laps wound down in the Lee Fields Classic 150. Nasse had managed to fend off the No. 26 throughout the later stages, but a move with less than five laps to go netted Pollard his sixth victory in the race.
“I had Bubba pressuring me for about 20 to 30 laps there towards the end,” Nasse said. “It definitely made it a little tough behind the wheel.”
Pollard’s strategy was a combination of patience and intimidation. There was no doubt who was fastest; Nasse ran the best lap of the night at 18.151 seconds. Pollard needed a mistake or a miracle to take home his sixth Lee Fields win.
“I’ll tell you what, Stephen had a really good car,” Pollard said. “I was watching him, trying to put pressure on him. The only way I felt like I was going to get around him was if he messed up and I feel like he did that.”
After what seemed like an indomitable run by Nasse, the No. 51 machine began to falter with less than 10 laps remaining in the race.
“I slipped up a couple times but we were able to stay out in front of [Pollard],” Nasse admitted. “The last five laps, though, I couldn’t even keep the car on the bottom. I just seemed to get a little bit free getting in on the long runs. I don’t know if anything was going wrong with the rear end or something but we’ll find out when we get back to the shop.”
As the flagman pointed to five fingers, Pollard made his final play for the lead. The Georgia native passed smoothly for first, quickly leaving the No. 51 machine behind in the dust. Pollard pulled into the winner’s circle once again.
“That’s what racing is all about,” Pollard said. “That was fun. Hopefully we put on a great show for the fans.”
Nasse was quick to congratulate Pollard in Victory Lane. The two chatted for a few seconds, following their talk up with a handshake.
“You know, Bubba’s one of the best in the country and it was fun to race him,” Nasse said. “I wish we could’ve beaten him tonight, but the luck just wasn’t on our side. It wasn’t from a lack of effort. We had a really good car tonight, we just missed it a little bit there for the long run. We’ll be back and hopefully we’ll get them next time.”
Pollard couldn’t hide his elation as he added yet another win to his lengthy resume at one of his favorite tracks.
“It’s crazy,” Pollard said adorning the wrestling belt in honor of Mobile’s late owner. “We’ve had a lot of success here. We’ve won a lot of races and it’s been fun. It’s hard to win one race much less six of them. I love this place and I don’t want to see it close the doors.”
Another driver who’s seen success at Mobile International is Saturday’s third-place finisher Garrett Jones. The 17-year-old won the Lee Fields feature last year, but couldn’t get the right formula for back-to-back wins.
“We had a really fast race car, but not quite as fast as last year’s,” Jones said. “We started ninth, which was a little bit better than last year, so we thought we were in good shape. It worked out there on the initial start. Our lane was rolling and we got up there pretty quick, but we lacked a little bit of rear grip those first 75.”
Jones further explained that the adjustments made during the competition caution caused his car to be too tight. It carried him to third, but time had already run out.
“By the time we got to third and ran down [Chandler Smith], Bubba and Stephen were already checked out,” Jones said. “We were just saving our tires at that point hoping for a caution, but it just wasn’t our night. I think I kept us in the points battle for another race, so that’s always good. We’ll go to Crisp Motorsports Park in Georgia next and look for another win.”
The Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco returns to action on September 2 at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA).
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit www.southernsuperseries.com.