Pollard Wins Another Blizzard Series Race; Wilson, Nasse Batter Each Other In and Out of Carsadmin
Pollard Wins Another Blizzard Series Race; Wilson, Nasse Batter Each Other In and Out of Cars
By Chuck Corder
Bubba Pollard’s smartest decision Friday night came when he was behind.
Instead of coming to the pits to repair significant cosmetic damage to his No. 26 Super Late Model, Pollard opted to stay out on the track and not surrender his spot among the leaders.
It proved a wise choice, as short-track’s “Redneck Jesus” won the Rubber & Specialties 125 at Five Flags Speedway.
“Honestly, I didn’t know it was that bad,” Pollard said, as he inspected the crunched-up right panel in Victory Lane. “I could hear the tone in the engine change, but I had no clue.”
The win marked a fifth consecutive year the Senoia, Ga., driver captured the Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series season opener. It also gave him 16 career Blizzard Series wins, the most all time in the SLM series.
Pollard, 30, took the lead from 15-year-old Chandler Smith on Lap 96. It was Pollard’s first lead, and one he didn’t relinquish for the final 30 laps
“It was a good race, a little up and down for us,” Pollard said. “I didn’t feel good about the car in the first 25 laps. I almost went to pits. But, it came to us, and now we’ve got a little momentum here.”
After a topsy-turvy opening to his season, Pollard has bounced back in style winning consecutively for the first time all year.
Casey Roderick, whose rear end was being held together by duct tape and bungee cords, had a remarkable runner-up finish while Smith finished third after dominating much of the race.
“That one was hard-fought there,” said Roderick, who sustained damage after drawing the short straw on three-wide racing between Turn Nos. 1 and 2 on Lap 52.
“I made stupid move on that restart. It was too early in the race. I really tore up the racecar. I don’t think it would’ve changed the outcome tonight. We were too tight in the center, and Bubba’s always good here. We’ve closed the gap, but we’ve got more work to do.”
Donnie Wilson and Stephen Nasse have some work to do on repairing their on-track relationship.
More aggressive, three-wide racing caused an accident between the two drivers and collected nearly half the cars in the 27-car field. Pollard was one of those involved. He was the third car, sliding inside of Wilson, who had Nasse on his outside.
Nasse and Wilson, both running in the top-five at the time, swapped paint entering Turn No. 1. That sent Wilson into Pollard’s right side.
While Pollard was somehow able to escape, the carnage of cars wadded up behind Nasse and Wilson was jaw-dropping.
“If you have patience, you can make it to the end,” Pollard said of his two hot-tempered rivals. “Some these guys don’t have it. I could kinda see (the Wilson-Nasse fight) happen there.”
It was certainly a “Big One,” as our neighbors to the north in Talladega might call it.
Nasse and Wilson’s cars rolled to the top of the outside wall, and Nasse hopped out of his No. 51 car first. With his helmet still on, Nasse gestured demonstrably toward Wilson. Then, he walked up to the driver’s side and started delivering haymakers as he leaned into Wilson’s No. 2.
None of Nasse’s punches landed with great force, however, as Wilson still had the window net up while the Oklahoma City driver was unstrapping. Once Wilson slid out of the car, the pair brawled like heavyweights on the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
Track officials and local sheriff deputies tried to separate them, but to little avail. The two continued to jaw at each other, as their pits were in close proximity to one another.
It was a scene from a bygone area where fights were more frequent. The jam-pack grandstands roared to life when Nasse began peppering Wilson’s car.
Smith stayed out of the fray, which led to him leading more than 50 laps before Pollard stole the teenager’s thunder.
“We were really good tonight,” a jubilant Smith said. “Bubba was just a little bit better. We gotta come back and work with it. “
WCI.com Pro Trucks
Chris Comalander’s Pro Truck had been to Victory Lane at Five Flags Speedway before Friday night.
But, that was when Steven Davis piloted the black No. 95 to multiple wins.
With Davis serving as spotter and crew chief, Comalander got to experience the rush of joy as a driver, capturing his first career checkered flag in the 30-lap WCI.com Pro Trucks feature Friday at the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
The Texan reclaimed the lead from Pensacola’s Logan Boyett on Lap 18 after Boyett suffered clutch problems.
“I think it’s the guy on the radio,” Comalander said, giving all credit to Davis’ sage advice.
Boyett took the lead from Comalander on Lap 4 after the pair drove door-to-door for the opening three laps. But Boyett’s No. 9 struggled in the corners, getting way out of shape as he came out of each of the four turns at Pensacola’s high banks.
“We had a really good truck,” said Boyett, who already has two wins this year. “The clutch went out on Lap 3 or 4, so that was about as fast as I could go. All we could do was nurse it home.”
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks
Update Monday 4/30 8pm
Engine inspection completed on Robert Balkum’s #52 Pure Stock and he is officially the Winner of Friday Nights event. Thank You to everyone who was patient while 5 Flags Tech crew did their job in the fairest way possible. Results and points / payout will be done Tuesday morning. The Bounty Hunters are all invited to our next event on May 11th
Original story below:
RESULTS UNOFFICAL, PENDING FURTHER INSPECTION MONDAY. CHECK BACK FOR OFFICIAL RESULTS.
Robert Balkum kept the challengers at bay Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
Coming into Friday, the Pensacola driver had won each of the first three Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks 20-lap features of the season. As a result, Five Flags general manager Tim Bryant placed a $200 bounty if someone could dethrone Balkum.
No one collected the cash, as Balkum drove to Victory Lane for a fourth consecutive time. He held off Alabama driver Charles Barber and John Kevin Merritt, who finished second and third, respectively.
“I saw (Barber) coming, so I had to turn it on at the end,” Balkum said. “We had a little oil leak that may have hurt the motor.”