A champion was crowned Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
Stephen Nasse held on for 125 laps in the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco finale, finishing second to race winner Bubba Pollard and securing his championship title.
“It feels good to get the Southern Super Series championship,” Nasse told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We could’ve been one spot better tonight, but we’ll take the overall points victory.”
“It was a long night, we were really getting free in,” Nasse said. “We came in, made some adjustments, but the car just got really tight. We were just trying to hold on and survive, and in that sense we prevailed.”
An all-too familiar face celebrated just a few feet away from Nasse in victory lane. Pollard claimed his fourth straight Southern Super Series win while also guaranteeing himself a position in the 50th Annual Snowball Derby.
"Coming into the Derby, [the Blizzard Series Championship] is huge,” Pollard said. “We’ve seen it all: engines failures, crashes- whatever it may be, you just never know. We need that guaranteed spot. It’s pretty big for us.”
Pollard is the first driver in short track history to capture three Blizzard Series championships, as well as the first to win three of the series’ races in one season.
Though the Georgia native made his late-race domination look easy, a handful of Pollard’s competitors found no such luck. Chandler Smith, who came into the night only 11 points behind Nasse in the championship battle, ended up 17th.
“We had a miscommunication on the radio early in the race, we thought there was a caution,” Smith said. “[Donnie Wilson] sailed it in there, but I backed down and hit the apron, washing up a little bit. We made contact and I spun out.”
Despite the confusion and resulting commotion, Smith was able to fight his way back into the top five, only to then be involved in another incident that sidelined his effort.
“We went from the back to the front one solid time and we were about to do it again,” Smith said. It was just a really bad race for us, but I can’t thank my team enough for their hard work.”
Another driver grateful for his strong crew was third-place finisher Harrison Burton. The 16-year-old placed on the podium, despite his recent Super Late Model hiatus.
“It’s fun racing out here,” Burton said. “I’ve missed this track, missed these cars and it’s been a little bit since I’ve raced in them. These guys are hard to beat as it is, but I have an awesome team behind me. We came in with just a few races under our belt, trying to beat guys that have been doing it all year.”
Burton leaves Five Flags Speedway just a little more prepared for December’s prestigious event.
“I gave it everything I could, but [Bubba Pollard] was just on rails tonight,” Burton said. “I feel like we came out with a solid finish and a really good notebook for the Derby.”
The 50th Annual Snowball Derby will be held November 30 - December 3 at Five Flags Speedway. Visit www.5flagsspeedway.com for more information.
Southern Super Series Unofficial Results
Five Flags Speedway - September 23, 2017
1 26 Bubba Pollard
2 51 Stephen Nasse
3 12 Harrison Burton
4 18 Casey Roderick
5 15 Christian Eckes
6 2W Donnie Wilson
7 14 Connor Okrzesik
8 97 Chase Purdy
9 58 Tyler Ankrum
10 98 Paul Kelley
11 112 Augie Grill
12 11 David Rogers
13 19 Kason Plott
14 21 Riley Thornton
15 30 Jesse Dutilly
16 88 Garrett Jones
17 26C Chandler Smith
18 79 Joe Aramendia
19 11B Logan Boyett
20 4 Kyle Plott
21 5 Jerry Artuso
22 30K Bobby Knox, Jr.
23 99 Raphael Lessard
-Southern Super Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com