When it’s come to Super Late Model racing at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway this season, “parity” has been the key word.
Three Southern Super Series races. Three different winners.
Kyle Grissom, Casey Roderick and Bubba Pollard all have scored wins.
With the Southern Super Series campaign coming to an end on Saturday night at Five Flags, the question has to be asked. Can any of them win again, or will we see a fourth different winner?
When the Super Series first visited the legendary half-mile in Florida’s panhandle for the first time this year back in April it was Grissom who took down the victory over Dominique Van Wieringen and Casey Smith. In May it was Casey Roderick scoring the win, and in July it was the always strong Pollard who captured the checkered flag.
The key to winning this weekend is confidence, and those three drivers all said they believe they’re more confident than the rest of the field because they have those wins already this season. They believe that they all have already figured out what it takes to win because they’ve already done it once this season.
“You’ve just got to work harder than everybody else,” Roderick told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’ve been working really hard this whole year, but some things have been working against us that hopefully we can get figured out this weekend. I think we’ll have a good shot at it this weekend.”
Roderick said he believes he and his team have figured out most of the issues they’ve dealt with this year. So now he said he believes they can go back using their notes from the previous races, and he thinks his odds of winning this weekend have increased as a result.
“You can always go back on notes and be pretty close,” he said. “There might be a few different adjustments once you’re down there, but I think you can start with the same deal as last time there. You just tweak it a bit during practice to adjust to the track conditions this weekend.”
Pollard said he’s in a similar situation, especially as the most recent SSS winner at Five Flags. He explained that earlier in the year he and his team were experimenting a lot, and now they’ve finally hit on something.
“We’d been searching around and trying to develop new things for the Snowball Derby and I think we’ve done that,” Pollard said. “I think we’ve stepped our program up a little bit. We’ll go down there with the basics and have a good race and stay clean and be there at the end.”
In the three races at Five Flags this season, Kyle Grissom is the only one of the three race winners to score a top five finish in one of the other races. Roderick finished sixth and eighth in the other two races, and Pollard finished 12th and 20th in the races that he didn’t win.
Pollard said he believes a lot of that is because of how difficult Five Flags Speedway is as a race track.
“It’s a tough place. It’s abrasive and you have to be conservative,” Pollard said. “The line is very critical. There are also a lot of good cars that
will show up for this race to get ready for the Derby. It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can have a good car like we’ve had in the past and we can go out there and get a win.”
After finishing second at a Super Late Model event in South Carolina on Saturday, Grissom said now all he’s thinking about is another win at Five Flags.
“We’re looking forward to that,” said Grissom. “It’s the last race before the Derby. There will definitely be a lot of good cars. We’ll take our same car down there and hopefully we’ll be on our A-game.”
So who will it be at the end of 150 laps around Five Flags Speedway on Saturday night? Will it be one of these three drivers? Pollard thinks so.
“I hope it’s me,” he said. “I’d like to see me and Kyle up front. We’ve been working together a lot this year with his race car. Between him and me, I think we have a good package there. If I can’t win it I hope he gets a shot at winning it. I think he’ll be good. Hopefully we can bring a win back to Georgia.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com