Pollard Holds Off Grill in Instant Classic, Claims Rubber & Specialties 125 Victory to Make Blizzard Series History

By Chuck Corder You pay for the whole seat, but you only need the edge. That’s an oldie, but goodie when it comes to racing adages. It was never truer than during the Rubber and Specialties 125 on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway. Bubba Pollard won his fourth straight Southern Super Series race, his third consecutive Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series race and his fifth in a row in the last month. It didn’t come easy. Pollard had to hold off a hard charge from Augie Grill in the final 25 laps, finally reclaiming the lead for good with five laps to go. “That’s what racing all about!” said a visibly excited Pollard, 27, who became the first driver to win three straight Blizzard races. “That’s what makes it so fun. Two great racecars. Everyone talks about how dirty Augie races sometimes, but he always races me clean.” Pollard’s win catapulted him past Grill [...]

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Streaking Pollard has Regained Form, Eyes Third Straight Blizzard Victory Come Friday

By Chuck Corder Athletes talk with reverence about “the zone.” It’s mythical territory where they’re at their best. Whether it’s Bubba Watson rolling in birdies and eagles, LeBron James going off for 50 points, Peyton Manning tossing seven touchdowns or racking up Sprint Cup Series titles like Jimmie Johnson, athletes covet every chance encounter in “the zone.” It’s sacred ground, and never sullied because trips to this enchanted utopia are often so rare. When Bubba Pollard returns Friday to Five Flags Speedway for the Rubber and Specialties 125, “the zone” will be riding shotgun. The 27-year-old Super Late Model driver has won two consecutive Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series features run in Pensacola dating back to last year. He also boasts five straight Blizzard poles, setting the track record a few times along the way. A win Friday would give Pollard nine Blizzard victories and crown him the all-time winningest Blizzard Series driver, one clear [...]

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Teenager Ward Basking in Breakout Season, Leads Butler U-Pull-It Bombers

  By Chuck Corder What a difference a new ride makes. Hunter Ward wishes he had a crystal ball last year. All things considered, the 18 year old from Pensacola had a respectable 2013 season, which included his first two career Butler U-Pull-It Bombers wins at Five Flags Speedway. But Ward fought that car’s handling night and day, both on and off the track. After a mid-season wreck finally did it in, Ward purchased the silver No. 1 that has already brought him two wins and the Bombers points lead in this young season. “It has made a big difference,” he said. “I was fighting my old car so much, the frame was out of whack and it just didn’t work like it was supposed to anymore. “I got this fresh-new car and I was, like, ‘Dang.’ My friends and I have been working with it and getting it to where we want it to be. [...]

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Kyle Bryant Is Chasing the Dream in Southern Super Series

By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Racing Against the "Best of the Best" in His Back Yard is Shaping the Young Driver Racing is in Kyle Bryant's blood.  Short track racing has been a passion of his family for decades in the Deep South.  His family has raced, worked on cars, sold parts or promoted tracks in the region for years. Now it's the 21-year-old Navarre, Florida driver to make a name for himself on the racing scene to continue the family legacy behind the wheel of his No. 79 Super Late Model.  When not working at Bryant Racing Equipment in Navarre during the week, Bryant can be found on the asphalt chasing the dreams of winning in the deep south in the Southern Super Series Presented by Sunoco.  Bryant heads to the second doubleheader weekend on the Gulf Coast at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and Mobile International Speedway (AL) looking to break into [...]

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Southern Vintage Racing Association will Once Again Turn Back the Clock in June

By Chuck Corder Last summer, they delighted the Five Flags faithful who have fond memories of racing in its purest form. In less than a month, they’ll be back. This time their mission will be, once again, to entertain, but also stir up an interest in the average fan who is mesmerized by the group of 1932 and ’34 Ford and Chevy open-wheeled coupes and trucks. The Southern Vintage Racing Association — “the little series that could” — will return to the famed half-mile asphalt oval on June 6 to be part of a show that will also include Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Beef “O” Brady’s Sportsmen and Butler U-Pull-It Bombers. And this season, the Southern Vintage Racing Association is bring more fiberglass-bodied cars than the field that made its inaugural appearance at Pensacola’s high banks last September. “We’ve grown from a six-car, one-track start in 2013 to 20-plus cars and six tracks in four different [...]

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Jones Gets Breakthrough PLM Win; Johanna Scores Pair of Top-10s to Take Points Lead

By Chuck Corder   Since Garrett Jones first made his Five Flags Speedway debut last year, all the precocious teenager could talk about was making the famed half-mile oval the spot where he got his first career late model win. That talk was finally put to bed Friday night. The 14-year-old Jones from Mooresville, N.C., has created quite the fan base in Pensacola. On Friday night, Jones nipped Junior Niedecken — one of Five Flags’ first sons — at the line in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series split feature finale to finally earn that elusive win he so desperately coveted. The crowd erupted with delight as the pair were door-to-door on the 30th and final lap. Jones passed Niedecken coming out of Turn 4 and he won the drag race to a photo finish. “Man, I can’t believe this!” an overjoyed Jones said. “It’s been a long time coming, for sure. We’ve had our [...]

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After a 5-Year Layoff, 2009 Sportsman Derby Champ Hoover is Back in Contention at Five Flags

By Chuck Corder The time seemed right for Billy Hoover. A former Sportsman Snowball Derby champion, Hoover hadn’t run a full slate of races at Five Flags Speedway since that memorable year. But feeling like his house was in as good of order as it’ll ever be, Hoover decided to return to racing full-time this year. He’s picked up where he left off. While he’s still searching for his first win since 2009, Hoover boasts a runner-up and fifth-place finish through three races and sits third in the Beef “O” Brady’s Sportsman class points standings coming into Friday night. “All the guys are really working hard, I’m telling you,” Hoover said of the series level of talent. “The competition has been pretty intense. Everybody wants to poke their chests out a little bit. It gets pretty aggressive, so I’ve gotta stay up on the wheel.” The Allen Turner Pro Late Models, Faith Chapel Super Stocks and [...]

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