In the first seven months of the 2015 racing season, Senoia, Georgia Super Late Model driver Bubba Pollard had won races throughout the country. He had picked up winners’ trophies from tracks from Florida to Washington, but one of those victories had yet to come in the series in which he is the defending champion, the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco..
The zero in the 2015 Southern Super Series win column was erased Friday night as Pollard dominated the Miller Lite 100 SSS/Blizzard Series combination event at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.
Pollard started from the pole following a post-qualifying redraw and led every lap, despite the best effort from Ross Kenseth on a lap 15 restart that proved to be Pollard’s only true test for the victory.
“We were pretty confident (upon starting on the pole) and clean air is always better than being stuck behind somebody,” Pollard said. “The 98 (Kenseth) and the 5 (Dalton Sargeant) ran a little harder in the beginning than we wanted to run, but we were fortunate to have enough in the end.”
A solid field of 25 cars took time with April Five Flags winner Kyle Grissom setting fast-time in qualifying. Casey Roderick, who also holds a 2015 series win at Five Flags, and Pollard qualified second and third.
With the top eight re-drawing for starting position, Grissom would start back in seventh, while Pollard would led the field to green from the pole.
Pollard set out on a blistering pace from the drop of the green and never looked back.
One caution slowed the event when Augie Grill and Donnie Wilson made contact on the backstretch. The contact sent Grill’s car into the outside wall and brought his night to an end with just over a dozen laps complete.
The restart saw Pollard’s only substantial challenge for the top spot. Kenseth, who made his first Southern Super Series start behind the wheel of the Carswell Motorsports No. 98 that won the 2013 series title with driver Daniel Hemric, got a quick jump on the restart from third. He then swiftly moved past second-place Dalton Sargeant in turn one and placed his car on Pollard’s rear bumper.
It only took a handful of laps for Pollard to fend off the challenge, as he opened up more than a two-second lead at one point over the 100-lap feature.
Pollard cruised to the win, which was his ninth career victory in the Southern Super Series.
Now that Pollard has turned around his luck in the Southern Super Series to match the 2015 success he has seen in other Super Late Model events, he is looking ahead to Saturday’s Miller Lite Series/Southern Super Series combination event at Mobile International Speedway in Irvington, Alabama to perhaps score a Gulf Coast sweep.
“You get some momentum and get on a roll, so maybe this is the turning point in our season,” added Pollard. “These are some of the best (drivers) in the country. Racing with the Southern Super Series, they race you with respect. You won’t find better caliber drivers than what we have here.”
Kenseth held on for second behind Pollard, while Sargeant crossed beneath the checkered flag in third. Grissom was fourth with SSS point leader Casey Smith fifth. With the top-five finish, Smith extended his point lead to 72 markers over Donnie Wilson, who finished 10th.
Southern Super Series teams will now make the hour’s drive west to Mobile International Speedway for the second 100-lap half of the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship doubleheader weekend on Saturday, July 25.