The 2,600-mile trek through ice, snow and the desert from Senoia, Georgia paid off for Bubba Pollard and his team after winning the SRL Open Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California on Sunday afternoon.
The 2014 Southern Super Series champion took the lead on lap 148 and led the final 102 laps en route to one of his biggest paydays in his career.
“We had a good racecar since we unloaded,” Pollard said with a huge smile in victory lane. “These big races seem to bite me and this weekend I took a different approach and didn’t consider a big race, but I knew it was. I felt confident when I got here and felt calm. My guys gave me a fast car when we unloaded and we just had to fine-tune it. I can’t thank those guys enough.”
Derek Thorn came into the race as the fast qualifier and led the first 136 laps. Pollard did lead lap 137 until Thorn got back to the front. Thorn stayed within close range of Pollard.
But Thorn’s car got tight on him and had nothing for Pollard in the latter stages of the race.
“It got tighter, the hard part was that the bottom was really tough for us and Pollard’s car was real good there,” Thorn said after the race. “We made some adjustments for the second half to compensate for the tightness of the track and still couldn’t go to the bottom.”
Thorn gave Sargeant a battle for the runner-up spot all the way to the checkered flag with Sargeant earning another podium finish in a big race.
“We struggled a little bit in the beginning. The car was free early in the day and as the day went on, the track got tighter and tighter. We didn’t make any adjustments at the halfway break, and that kind of hurt us a little bit,” Sargeant said. “We had to move up the track and the track started getting warmer and what not. Bubba seemed to get more off of the corner than we were too and that is where we lost.”
Blaine Rocha finished fourth and Preston Peltier rounded out the top five.
This event has a partnership with the Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington on June 27th. The driver with the best average finish from both the Winter Showdown and the Summer Showdown will receive a $10,000 bonus.
Will Pollard make the trip to Washington?
“There is a good possibility. We have been thinking about it and talking to sponsors,” Pollard proclaimed. “We want to hit more of these bigger shows this year and venture around to see if we can get some more of these big wins.”
Pollard also said that his trip to the west coast would be extended with a trip to Las Vegas after collecting $25,000 today.
Trackside Now replay is available by clicking here.
– Kevin Ramsell, Director of Business/Midwest Editor. Twitter: @KevinRamsell
Photo Credit: Speed51.com(powered by 51's Third Turn)
| 1||2||26||Bubba Pollard|
| 2||3||5||Dalton Sargeant|
| 3||1||43||Derek Thorn|
| 4||11||21||Blaine Rocha|
| 5||5||26||Preston Peltier|
| 6||17||11||Dustin Ash|
| 7||30||12||Colby Potts|
| 8||32||99||Linny White|
| 9||26||77||Toni Marie McCray|
| 10||12||89||Bobby Hodges|
| 11||13||75||Jeremy Doss|
| 12||27||8||Noah Gragson|
| 13||15||81||Darrell Midgley|
| 14||9||6||Dominic Ursetta|
| 15||35||71||Christian McGhee|
| 16||15||29||Greg Voigt|
| 17||7||17||David Mayhew|
| 18||22||20||Tracy Bolin|
| 19||6||16||Jacob Gomes|
| 20||14||5||Will Gallaher|
| 21||16||19||Brandon White|
| 22||20||22||Jonathon Gomez|
| 23||24||6||Donny St. Ours|
| 24||31||33||M.K. Kanke|
| 25||29||5||Ryan Wells|
| 26||33||57||David Ross|
| 27||10||22||Chris Eggleston|
| 28||19||51||Carlos Vieira|
| 29||4||18||Jim Pettit, II|
| 30||21||7||Johnny White|
| 31||8||31||Jason Fraser|
| 32||23||66||Darren Bucklen|
| 33||34||34||Scott Walker|
| 34||36||37||Mike Longton|
| 35||18||05||Eric Schmidt|
| 36||28||37||Keith Spangler|