On Saturday, a pair of Super Late Model titans clashed during CRA SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA). While the dust has settled between Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard, they both sense a rivalry brewing heading into the new racing season.
Nasse and Pollard battled intensely for the win during the closing laps of the ARCA/CRA Super Series event on Saturday night at the Cordele, Georgia bullring before Pollard spun as a result of contact with Nasse. Nasse was penalized for the contact, and Pollard retaliated by spinning Nasse before both drivers retired from the race.
The two drivers still disagree on what unfolded Saturday evening, and on Speed51’s “The Bullring” Tuesday, they both made it clear there is no love lost between them.
“It’s simple. We don’t like each other,” Pollard said. “We’re like oil and water. We’re never going to mix. He was raised one way; I was raised another. I was brought up to learn how to race one way and he was brought up to learn how to race another way. We’re never going to mix.
“Our personalities do not mix. They don’t geehaw. We’ve never liked each other. There’s no beating around the bush about it. We’re not going to like each other from this day going forward. This started way before this past weekend. It is what it is.”
“Right before Cordele, Bubba and I funneled into that crossover gate together,” Nasse said. “He looks at me, asks me how I’m doing, talked about the Gresham test, tells me ‘Good luck today,’ blah blah blah. I’m thinking we’re going to be good. I guess he’s one of those guys that puts on a fake face and acts all buddy-buddy.
“If I don’t like you, I’m not talking to you,” Nasse continued. “You won’t see me talking to Bubba Pollard no more, I promise you that. You’ll see us racing hard on that race track.”
Following the incident on Saturday, Nasse referred to Pollard as, “the biggest crybaby in this pit area.” Nasse stood by those comments on Tuesday.
“When he’s getting raced hard the way he claims he likes to do, that’s when the sore loser starts to come out. If there was a wall on that back straightaway, I would have been in it. I probably wouldn’t be talking, because it damn sure would have messed up my car more than me just running off that back straightaway.”
Pollard seemed undeterred by the criticism.
“Crybaby, whatever he wants to call it, I don’t care. I’m there for one thing, and that’s to win races for Pollard Motorsports. I didn’t come there to make friends, I brought my friends with me.”
During his conversation, Pollard referenced a recent “Bullring” interview with Nasse where the Florida driver discussed his maturation.
“I read his statement a few weeks ago that Speed51 put out. He was growing up, maturing, things like that. I just didn’t see it Saturday night.”
Moving forward, neither driver said they would place a bullseye on the other, but they both intend to race hard every week knowing their paths will cross often at major events throughout the year.
“I’ll race him the same tomorrow as I did Saturday night,” Pollard stated. “I race everybody the same. I’m there to win races. I’m not there to wreck him, or wreck the next guy. 100 laps into the race, you can let a guy go, save your tires. 15 to go, it’s man for man. You’ve got to man up and drive the thing, whatever it takes to win the race.”
“A lot of people say I’m a hothead, and I still can be, don’t get me wrong,” Nasse said. “I’m fast but I’ve still got a bit of a temper. I’ll just have to see what happens. I’m not happy with the way things went, but at the same time when I go to the next race, I’m going to win that one. I’m not going to go out there and the first thing on my mind will be to wreck the 26 car. It’s going to be to go out there and beat him straight-up like I did at Cordele.”
Both drivers also acknowledged that a rivalry between the two can be a positive for short track racing.
“Rivalries are good for our sport,” Pollard said. “We need fans to get excited, we need to put fans in the seats. If a rivalry is what it takes, that’s fine with me. I don’t get mixed up in that stuff. I don’t care, Stephen Nasse, Travis Braden, Augie Grill, who it is, I’m going to race that guy the same as the next guy.”
“At the end of the day, this is good and bad,” Nasse claimed. “The bad part is, we might wreck some race cars. The good part is, I do think it’s a good little rivalry to have.”
However, Nasse made it clear he had no problem handling matters on his own if the rivalry escalates further.
“My intentions aren’t to go out there and wreck him this next race, but if he drives me like an idiot like he did last time, he will be firewall deep in that wall,” he stated. “And it won’t be at Cordele where there’s no backstretch wall. It’s going to be a place with a wall all the way around.
“We can play nice, we can play rough, we can play however he wants to play. I can promise you one thing, we will be playing because I will be up front and I’m confident in my Jett Motorsports team on giving me good pieces to make it happen.”
To listen to the full interviews with Pollard and Nasse, click here to watch an on-demand replay of “The Bullring” on Speed51.
“The Bullring” airs on Mondays at 7:00 a.m. for free from Studio 51 in Concord, N.C. Fans can watch each week on Speed51 or on Speed51’s Facebook Feed presented by Five Star Bodies.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo