After a slow start to 2018, Bubba Pollard turned the page with a win in the CARS Response Energy Super Late Model Tour’s Mid Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway (NC).
Between incidents and mishaps, Pollard recorded several poor finishes in 2018, often while contending for the win. On Saturday night, Pollard instead avoided chaos around him and picked up a $10,000 paycheck.
“It feels good. We’ve had fast race cars,” Pollard told Speed51.com. “These people have been working hard, we’ve got good people behind us. We just couldn’t get the finishes we needed to show for it. We’ll just try to keep this going for the rest of the year.”
“This car was so good,” he said. “It was coming to us fast. I was watching what was going on on the restarts. I knew my car could work on the bottom. So I just kept an eye on that and what Nasse had done.”
Nasse finished second but felt disappointment in the result. In the eyes of the Florida driver, the poor restart cost him a shot at the win.
“I let Bubba school me on that last restart,” Nasse said. “I was paying more attention to his car more than where the restart box was. I just really wanted to make sure I was in front of him.
“I’m beating myself up. I’m gonna lose sleep tonight. It showed at the end of the race, we had more speed than Bubba. I let him beat me on that restart.”
Nasse’s disappointment pales in comparison to that of Brandon Setzer’s. After starting on the pole with a CARS Tour track record at Orange County Speedway, Setzer won the first three segments of the Mid Atlantic Classic, leading every lap.
To start the final segment, however, Nasse and Setzer made contact battling for the lead. The contact forced Setzer into the outside wall exiting turn two, damaging the right side of his car. Setzer fell to 14th in the final running order.
Setzer did not mince words in expressing his frustration over the finish and the decisive restart.
“Well, Nasse knew he couldn’t win the race,” Setzer said. “He knew we had the best car, so he decided he was going to wreck us. I guess that’s what rich kids do whenever their daddy pays for all the bills. They decide to go in there and wreck you because it doesn’t matter much to them.
“I worked my ass off on this thing day and night, me and my dad. This thing was on rails. Just a rich kid wrecked us. He’s been racing for five or six years on his daddy’s dollar and he hasn’t gotten nowhere off of it. That’s okay, he’ll just be a short-track racer who runs over people. It is what it is. They know who had the best car tonight.”
Nasse understood Setzer’s frustration but countered that it was a byproduct of hard racing, which has hurt Nasse in the past before.
“I’m sure he’s not [happy],” Nasse said. “But I recall a time at South Boston when I ended up with a destroyed race car when I was leading the race. I didn’t carry no hard feelings. I just came to this race and raced him hard.”
Nasse referenced a line from Steven Wallace when he was interviewed after winning last year’s Mid Atlantic Classic after a last-lap run-in with none other than Bubba Pollard to sum up his feelings.
“Like Steve-O [Steve Wallace] said last year, I brought all my friends with me and I’m going home with them.”
The CARS Tour returns on May 5 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), with 150-lap features scheduled for both the Super Late Models and Late Model Stocks.
Click here to view Speed51.com’s Trackside Now updates from the Mid Atlantic Classic and relive the action from the evening.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
CARS Tour Mid Atlantic Classic Unofficial Results
Orange County Speedway (NC) – April 21, 2018
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