For the second time in three years, Bubba Pollard rang in the new year with a victory. The Senoia, Georgia driver found himself in victory lane Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) after winning the Red Eye 100. This time, Pollard worked his way by Brad May in the late stages to take the win in a new race car.
Pollard started from the pole position but lost the lead to May 1/10th of the way into the 100-lap affair. Pollard kept May in check but didn’t start to apply the pressure until there was about 30 laps remaining.
“I let Brad go at the beginning of the race,” Pollard said in victory lane. “He was going really hard. I let him go hoping he’d burn the right front off of it. He finally did and we started catching him there. We caught a couple lapped cars and passed him.”
May said he had a great race car all race long, but he felt that the car got just a little bit too tight as the race’s long run kept getting longer.
“We were running a pretty hard pace, but I was trying to save some because I figured he’d come on hard at the end,” said May. “As the run went longer the tighter the car got. I started driving harder and harder to try to stay ahead of him knowing he was pressuring me. I probably punished the car more than it could handle. He got by me when we were in some lapped traffic and I just couldn’t catch him and couldn’t get by him.”
Pollard, who was top five in practice and qualifying, classified his car as “decent,” but that’s the reason why he came to New Smyrna on Saturday night. He said he wanted to make sure the car was better than decent as the season gets into gear in the next few months.
“We came down here to just get some seat time with this race car,” he said. “It’s new to us. We’re trying to learn as much as we can before going to California and some of these bigger races over the next couple of months. All in all, it was a good weekend.”
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
31st Annual Red Eye 100
New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna, Florida
|10||5K||Daniel Keene Jr|