Twenty-nine years after his father Steve won a race at Five Flags Speedway in the old All-Pro Series, Kyle Grissom pulled into Victory Lane with his first career win at the famed half-mile oval Saturday night for the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco, Gulf Coast swing opener.
Grissom would start from the pole after the top eight from qualifying redrew for their starting spots. From the drop of the green flag he drove out to the lead and never looked back, that is until a lap 60 restart would put fast-qualifier and defending series champion Bubba Pollard to his outside for the ensuing run to the green.
Pollard would start back in fifth and work his way up to second by lap 32 and although he managed to reel in Grissom, could never get a run alongside or mount a serious challenge for the top spot.
A four lap side-by-side battle for the lead followed the restart when Pollard finally cleared Grissom at the line. It looked like deja-vu with Pollard out front and opening up a sizeable advantage.
“I wasn’t surprised (Bubba) got by me, but they told me once we got going under green that my lap times were a little bit quicker than his so that gave me hope.” Grissom said about watching Pollard open up a lead on him.
But just as a restart gave Pollard his chance, just 20 laps later Grissom would get his redemption on a restart.
After choosing the inside lane for every restart as the leader, Grissom was forced to the outside when it was Pollard’s chance to choose and Grissom was able to over-take Pollard on lap 81.
Two more late-race cautions, including one with three laps to go, gave Grissom the choice and he chose the outside lane both times over Dominique Van Wieringen and was able to hold on for the win.
“The reason I chose the outside was that Bubba made me go out there and I was able to beat him,” said Grissom. “From there I just stuck on the outside because I felt like that is what was working.”
Van Wieringen lurked inside the top five and top three all race long and after mechanical problems sidelined Pollard late in the race, she found herself in a position to fight for the win.
Van Wieringen challenged Grissom and almost got along the outside of him exiting turn two after a restart but her car got sideways and knocked her back a few car lengths.
“I screwed up off of two. If I didn’t do that I think it would have been a tough fight for the win,” said the NEMCO development driver. “I’m very excited. This is where the (Snowball) Derby is at the end of the year so this is just more practice for that.”
Current Southern Super Series points leader Casey Smith rounded out the podium after struggling during the mid-point of the race.
For race winner Grissom, the first leg of this opening Gulf Coast swing for the Southern Super Series provides a much needed boost heading into Saturday night’s race just over the bay in Mobile, Alabama.
“This is huge. With all the struggles we’ve had here. Last year I didn’t think we would ever get to this point,” said the race winner. “We worked our butts off all winter. It’s feels awesome to finally be able to pull it off.”
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit SouthernSuperSeries.com. The Facebook page for the Southern Super Series is located at www.facebook.com/southernsuperseries. The series is also on Twitter at @SoSuperSeries. For advertising or sponsorship questions, please contact the track representatives. For media inquiries, please contact Matt Kentfield at 51 Sports via [email protected]
-Southern Super Series/51 Sports Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com
Southern Super Series / Blizzard Series
Friday April 24, 2015
Five Flags Speedway (FL)
|2||5DW||Dominique Van Wieringen|
|18||12||Friday Hassler Jr|