The 2014 Southern Super Series championship will be decided Saturday night, but Friday Augie Grill made sure he is not going down without a fight.
Grill, of Hayden, Alabama, won his first Southern Super Series race in more than a year Friday night in the Miller Lite 125 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The victory moved Grill to third in the point standings and set up a three-driver battle for the series championship Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama.
Point leader Bubba Pollard clinched the Buddy's Home Furnishings Blizzard Series, a four-race mini-series at the Pensacola half-mile within the Southern Super Series. Pollard's fourth-place finish Friday made his point lead 13 over Daniel Hemric and 46 over Grill entering the season-ending event Saturday.
Grill, a two-time Snowball Derby winner at Five Flags, led three times for a total of 108 of the race's 125 laps. He had led 537 laps throughout the Southern Super Series season, but had not led the last lap in any series race until Friday.
"It feels good to be back in victory lane," said Grill after the win, which was the fourth of his SSS career. "It's not been because of a lack of effort as we have been so close all season long. We have led races everywhere and it just has not worked out. Tonight we put it all together.
"We gained 10 points tonight after getting max points. All we can do is go to Mobile and win and see what happens, but I don't think we can gain on both Pollard and Hemric."
Mike Garvey finished second with Jeff Choquette third, Pollard fourth and Donnie Wilson fifth. Pollard's finish was enough to clinch the 2014 Buddy's Home Furnishing Blizzard Series title, which was the second Blizzard title of his career.
"This is awesome to be a champion again," said Pollard. "We really enjoy coming down here and racing with this group of guys. The Southern Super Series is so tough so to be a champion even with the Blizzard Series means a lot. We'll rest up and go and try to complete the deal (Saturday)."
Daniel Hemric was sixth in the final rundown, allowing Pollard to hold a 13-point lead heading into the final race.
"It's a smaller margin then what we overcame last year," said Hemric, who came from behind to beat Pollard by one point in the 2013 season finale in Nashville, Tennessee for the series' inaugural championship. "Bottom line is we just need to perform better. We qualified well tonight, but we need to be spot on tomorrow to win the title again."
Five drivers entered the Five Flags event with a mathematical shot at the series' championship on its final weekend. Donnie Wilson, a three-time winner in 2014, held on to dim championship hopes with his fifth-place finish, but will need a lot of external help if he is going to overtake the three drivers ahead of him in the standings at Mobile. Anderson Bowen was eliminated from championship contention with a crash on lap 75.
Augie Grill started the night by capturing the $500 Southern Super Series Pole Award, which is presented by Hamner Racing Engines, McGunegill Engine Performance, Progressive Racing Engines, Ford Racing and RW Racing Engines. This was the fourth fast time award for Grill this season.
Grill was also the Dubz Thermal Products halfway leader and pocketed $100 for leading lap 63.
The Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco will travel west to Mobile International Speedway for the final race of the 2014 season in the Sunoco 125. The 2014 Southern Super Series Championship will be decided at the Irvington, Alabama oval. For ticket information and more, visit www.mobilespeedway.net.
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]
Click here to replay Speed51.com's Trackside Now coverage from Five Flags.
|Southern Super Series / Blizzard Series|
|Miller Lite 125|