Often times, drivers are measured by the number of wins they tally during a race season or during their career. However, what often gets overlooked is the scope of tracks they race and win on. Winning 20 races in a season at one track is a great achievement, but how about winning at more than 20 different tracks during a career?
That's a feat that Bubba Pollard can add to his resume.
Pollard added to his career win total and his track victory list Saturday night after he out-dueled Brandon Setzer for the CARS Tour Super Late Model win at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). For Pollard, the victory served as the 22nd different track that he’s won at during his Late Model career and his second straight in North Carolina this season.
“This is one of the places I have always wanted to win at,” Pollard said in victory lane. "I knew I had to get out in front of [Setzer] on the restart because he’s tough here. If I didn’t get the lead, I knew it was going to be hard to pass him. When we started out racing, we didn’t think we’d get to this level but it comes from surrounding yourself with good people.”
Setzer and Pollard were left to battle for the win after Josh Berry spun from the lead late in the going. Berry was the cause of the caution and thus went to the rear of the field. Pollard also spun in the incident; however, CARS Tour officials determined he spun to avoid the incident and gave him his spot back.
Pollard and Setzer were equal down the stretch and even ran identical lap times with 20 laps to go. The two were never separated by more then three car lengths for the final circuits before Pollard ultimately came out on top.
After coming up just short of the victory, Setzer was happy to be in contention as he never practiced the car after having to drive in from Martinsville after finishing his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series duties for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Setzer’s dad, Dennis Setzer, shook the car down before time trials.
“The race played out a little differently then I expected,” Setzer said. “Once we got to lap 80 it was game on with the cool temperatures and the grip. It sucks to not beat Bubba for the win. I think we were a tick better at the end, but we couldn’t get him tonight.”
Finishing behind Setzer was three-time PASS South champion Matt Craig, former CARS Tour winner Corey Heim and defending CARS Tour champion Jared Fryar.
For Pollard, his victory was the end of a long road to redemption after he failed to make the show in his first Super Late Model event at Hickory about 10 years ago.
“It’s hard to imagine that we ever struggled here because I like this type of racing,” Pollard stated. “I like saving your stuff for late in the race. It really fits my driving style.”
The win was Pollard's fifth career CARS Tour victory, putting him just one behind Brandon Setzer and Raphael Lessard on the series' all-time wins list.
Race fans can find on-demand updates, photos and more from Saturday's event at Hickory by visiting Speed51.com's Race Day Now coverage presented by Buzze Racing.
The CARS Tour Super Late Models are off until May 4 when they combine with the ARCA/CRA Super Series and Southern Super Series for the North/South Super Late Model Challenge at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN).
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com