Pollard Wins Blizzard 2; McDonald in Pure Stocks; Thompson in Pro Trucks; Photos & Storyadmin
Pollard Proud to Honor Rogers with Universal Fabricators 100 ‘W’ to Cap Rowdy Energy Twin 100s Weekend
By Chuck Corder
Bubba Pollard had some unfinished business.
The Senoia, Ga., superstar Super Late Model driver wanted so desperately to win the first half of the Rowdy Energy Twin 100s this weekend at Five Flags Speedway. Pollard piloted David Rogers’ legendary No. 11 Super Late Model on Friday night in the #Forever11 100, the race named in honor for the late Rogers who died in March from cancer.
Pollard and Rogers were as close off the track as they were on it.
“It was always cool to hear stories about how (Rogers) raced back in the day,” Pollard said earlier this week of his dear friend. “He had all this knowledge. When David spoke, you listened. I’d take in everything he was saying – whether it was life or anything.”
When Pollard settled for third against a 36-car field Friday, his SLM rivals and fans alike knew the all-time leader in Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series wins would be a man on a mission in the second half of the Rowdy doubleheader weekend.
Pollard wasn’t about to leave Pensacola without penning another chapter to his storied history at his beloved home away from his native Georgia.
True to form, Pollard was determined and methodical in capturing the Universal Fabricators 100 for his 27th career Blizzard Series victory. The 33-year-old passed 15-year-old Jake Garcia on Lap 74 and cashed a $15,000 payday.
“This is special. This is for David Rogers and TM Ranch,” said Pollard, who started eighth. “It has been a long, hot weekend, and it’s just awesome to see all the fans. We a’int gotten to race much, so racing in front of crowds this size is incredible.”
Garcia led nearly 30 laps on Saturday and kept Pollard honest for a while in the final 26 laps, but ultimately the teenager finished a more-than-respectable runner-up to short-track racing’s king. A night after coming home fourth, Pensacola’s Jeremy Pate capped a magical couple days by finishing third Saturday.
#Forever11 100 winner Stephen Nasse ran in the top-10 all night but could do no better than sixth in his attempt to sweep the weekend.
Casey Roderick finished fifth on Saturday after a roller-coaster ride in the maiden voyage of his self-owned No. 25 SLM on Friday. The three-time Blizzard Series champ led Friday’s race at one point and had the car to beat before a leak forced him to park it.
Kyle Plott started on the pole Saturday night and led the first 47 laps before mechanical troubles sent him behind the wall. That’s when Garcia took his turn in clean air and showed off his repertoire of skills befitting of one of the top young hotshoes in short-track racing.
Pollard, meanwhile, avoided trouble all around him and gradually chewed his way through a cluster of cars that separated him from Garcia’s bumper.
“We just got behind there for a minute,” Pollard said. “I didn’t know if we would make our way up through there. But the car was really good. Jake’s a good racecar driver. He didn’t make any mistakes and my hat’s off to him for the way he drove.”
Pollard now has 135 career Late Model wins (69 SLM, 66 PLM) and 25 victories in the Southern Super Series, 14 of which have come at Five Flags.
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks
Still strapped in, the twinkle in young Daryl McDonald III’s eyes easily gave away the million-watt smile hidden by his helmet.
The Theodore, Ala., teenager’s breakout season continued to rise to new heights Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway. McDonald, nicknamed “DIII,” coasted to his third victory of the year in the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks division.
“The car was good tonight,” he said. “The biggest thing is consistency, and I’m proud of my team for that.”
Michael Moody took home runner-up honors and Pensacola’s Caleb Burkett rounded out the podium.
McDonald’s biggest obstacle of the night came midway through the 25-lap feature when he had to hold off Jerry Goff Jr., Friday night’s feature winner.
As the leaders approached lapped traffic, McDonald went to the high side while Goff was forced to check up to avoid making it three-wide on the back stretch.
Goff, a night after setting the track record, set a new mark of 21.316 seconds in qualifying to top his Friday night time of 21.360. McDonald originally bested it Saturday when he posted a run of 21.333 seconds. But Goff came behind him moments later to reclaim the record.
Goff ultimately spun and crashed into the inside wall coming down the front stretch on Lap 19 when a tie rod broke in his No. 10 black machines.
WCIparts.com Pro Trucks
It took longer than expected to reach the finish of the WCIparts.com Pro Trucks 35-lapper Saturday.
But, when the checkered flag finally flew after three restarts in the final five laps, it was a familiar, youthful face in Victory Lane at Five Flags Speedway.
Fourteen-year-old Grant Thompson notched his second feature win of the season at Five Flags, easily dismantling the field of 14 trucks.
“This is an amazing truck,” Thompson said of his Curt Britt machine. “We’ve ran it a couple races and came away with a couple wins. It keeps getting better and better the more we race it.
Hunter Johnson and Cooper Hightower finished second and third, respectively.
1 G. Thompson
2 H Johnson
3) C Hightower
4) A. Carter
5) B Burk