While Bubba Pollard was on baby watch for Friday night’s Blizzard Series race at Five Flags Speedway, fans at the track and watching on Summer Thunder TV saw an all-too-familiar sight: Pollard in Five Flags Speedway victory lane.
The Senoia, Georgia driver picked up his seventh Blizzard Series win in the last 10 races, and 19th overall in his career. With wife Erin expecting their second child at any moment, Pollard was unsure if he was even going to be able to make it to Pensacola for the race. After adding another win to an already impressive win total for 2019, it makes him all the more excited to add to his family.
“It feels a lot better to get a win knowing we’re going into next week having a baby,” Pollard told Speed51.com. “It’s a lot of fun and I’m excited about it. I hope it all goes well and we can get back out there to a racetrack soon.”
Pollard started seventh after the redraw and methodically worked his way through the field as the race went on. After nearly being involved in a wreck while battling with Jesse Dutilly for the second position around lapped traffic, he took the lead for the only time on the ensuing restart with 20 laps to go and would go on to win. Despite having a good car, he admitted getting through the field was a struggle at times.
“I don’t really know what to think. We had a really good race car,” he said. “Track position is everything here, having that clean air, I don’t know what it does but it’s what our race car likes. It’s just so hard with these group of guys that are good race car drivers with good race cars and the top eight can win and you get stuck in seventh on the start of the race. It’s hard to be patient and get back to the front at the same time. We saved just enough there to where we had plenty at the end to make it happen. It was a good race, nerve racking, but fun.”
The race-winning pass was made on defending Blizzard Series and Southern Super Series champion Casey Roderick. For the second week in a row, Pollard made the pass on the outside, where most drivers struggle to move forward. He raced side-by-side with Roderick for two laps after the restart before he was able to clear him
“I tested the outside there the last couple restarts and I was free,” he said. “I didn’t work my tires as much and I dialed a lot of front brake into it. I was real free on entry and the center. I dialed some front brake into it and it was what I needed to hold him down and get him loose off the corner and we had enough drive to make it happen.”
While Pollard was celebrating in victory lane, fellow Georgia driver Casey Roderick was forced to settle for second after leading more than 50 laps. It seemed like he was on his way to victory with a big lead late, but the late-race caution would ultimately cost him his first Super Late Model victory of 2019.
After yet another second place finish in a Blizzard Series race, he was left wondering what it would take to go to Five Flags victory lane.
“That restart killed me. I didn’t need that caution at all and it seems like every chance I get to have a possible win here, a caution comes out,” Roderick said. “With the gap we had on the track, I feel like we would’ve won the race. But that’s the way it goes. That’s racing, that’s why we’re out here racing and we’ll make it better for next time.”
Jesse Dutilly would set fast time in qualifying earlier in the day and race inside the top five throughout most of the race, but a late-race incident while racing Pollard in lapped traffic ended what was a Blizzard Series-career run with less than twenty laps to go. When asked about his view of the incident, he did not have much to say.
“We were passing a lapped car and he got crossed up then we went through three and four and Bubba moved him up in front of me, and that was it.”
Anthony Sergi would finish a Southern Super Series career-best third, while Donnie Wilson charged from the fifteenth starting spot to finish fourth and Speedfest winner Connor Okrzesik rounded out the top five.
The Southern Super Series will be in action next on July 6th at Montgomery Motor Speedway for the Rumble by the River 125. The road to the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby continues on July 19th with the third Blizzard Series race of the year, which will feature a new format. Speed51 will have more information on the format shortly.
Fans who missed Friday’s race can watch an on-demand replay of Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes broadcast of the event by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 State Editor (IN & MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo