Five Flags Speedway (FL) hosted its third Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco event of the 2017 season Friday night. A talented field of 25 Super Late Model drivers made their way to the Pensacola half-mile oval, but at the end of the night it was one driver in a league of his own.
Bubba Pollard made the 125-lap race look easy as he cruised under the checkered flag, claiming his 15th career Southern Super Series win. Pollard took over the lead just before the race reached the halfway mark and never bothered looking back.
One late-race caution on lap 90 erased the gap between first and second, threatening to end Pollard’s dominating performance. Donnie Wilson would have a chance steal back the lead from Pollard as the two restarted side-by-side. The ten-lap shootout proved to be more of the same, however, as Pollard got the jump, once again running away with the show.
“I know it wasn’t the most exciting race, but I appreciate all the fans coming out,” Pollard said to a crowd of cheers. “It’s great to see this many people and I can’t thank them enough.”
Practice makes perfect, and that’s exactly what Pollard contributed his wild string of success to.
“We’ve been racing a lot more the last couple of months, about every weekend,” Pollard said. “It definitely helps being in this seat each and every week; all we do is learn more and more. We just keep gaining. We’ve got some big races here toward the end of the year, so hopefully by then we’re going to learn all we can.”
Third-place finisher and defending SSS champion Donnie Wilson is another driver still searching for the perfect formula. He took over the lead from Cole Williams just 19 laps into the feature, but ran into some frustration with lapped traffic, allowing Pollard to catch up and contend for lead.
“It was a good run for us,” Wilson said. “We finished second the first Blizzard Series race and had bad luck on the second one. I think I ran this one a little too hard but we’ll be back. We’re getting closer.”
Jeff Choquette finished the night one position short of where he wanted to be. Choquette had showed strength earlier that afternoon when he was fastest in both practice sessions, but wasn’t able to transfer that momentum into the feature.
“This was a salvage position,” Choquette said. “I think we were running fourth there for a while with fifth place running us down. We got a late-race restart and were able to get up through the gears pretty good. We got to second and were just lucky enough that it was a short enough run to be able to hold [Wilson] off.”
Choquette knows the competition is fierce, but he’s ready to pick up where he left off.
“It just goes to show you that we have a car we’re not happy with,” Choquette admitted. “We’ve got one win under our belt, so hopefully we can get the next one. You know we run in second, we’re right there. But we just weren’t in the league with [Pollard], he was in a league of his own.”
Defending Snowball Derby winner Christian Eckes and Casey Roderick completed the top five. Stephen Nasse unofficially took over sole possession of the Southern Super Series points lead with a sixth-place finish.
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Friday night’s race by clicking here.
-Southern Super Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Southern Super Series Unofficial Results
Five Flags Speedway (FL) – July 28, 2017