Bubba Pollard came into this weekend determined to get his 2015 season started on the winning side by entering his Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He made a statement on Saturday night by becoming the second non-Florida resident to win the season opening event in its 21st year.
Pollard took the lead from Bobby Good on lap 83 to win his first race at New Smyrna.
“It’s awesome; this gives us a lot of momentum. I feel like we had a lot of race cars capable of winning and we proved that tonight,” Pollard said in victory lane. “I really wanted to get the season started early and get going ahead of the other guys and learn. The more you race, the more you learn. Hopefully, more wins will come.”
Good took the lead on the green flag after the top-eight were inverted for the start of the 100-lap race. Good got a jump on Matthew Craig and ran away from the rest of the field.
The first caution came on lap 33 when Kevyn Terry spun in turn four. Good got a good jump on Derek Griffith on the restart and opened up to a two-second lead.
Pollard was running third at that time and patiently was looking for a way to get around Griffith for second spot. Pollard kept his patience until he was able to make the move and go to second on lap 68.
Pollard started closing in on Good’s lead until the second caution flew on lap 77 when Bradley Bowman made contact with the wall in turn one.
On the restart, Good tried to get a jump but couldn’t hold off Pollard. Pollard would get the lead six laps later and drive to victory.
“Our car is really good on long runs, but anytime our car cooled off, it would take about seven laps to get back running the way it was,” Good said. “His (Pollard’s) was better right after the cautions. If we have to finish second to someone, it would be Bubba Pollard.”
Daniel Keene Jr. beat Pollard in qualifying by .001 seconds and drew the #8 pill for the invert. He would work his way up to finish third.
“Our run was good; the car was a little free towards the end. I think we could have had a little more for those guys,” said Keene. “Third place, we will take it and go home.”
Keene wasn’t pleased with the high invert options given for the race.
“The whole pill draw, I think, is bunch of bull crap. They gave us a six, eight or a 10,” Keene explained. “Us guys, we go out there and set fast time or second place whatever, and I understand it is for the fans. At the same time, there should be at least an option to sit on the pole. If they don’t give us that option, at least give us more bonus money for qualifying fast time.”
Chad Pierce finished fourth and Spencer Davis rounded out the top five.
Saturday’s win was Pollard’s 80th 100-lap or more Late Model victory in his career. The defending Southern Super Series Champion was happy to finally get a win at New Smyrna Speedway.
“We started coming here two years ago. We hit or miss here and we felt that we always had good race cars to win here,” Pollard said. “We could never put the whole program together and make it happen. I felt very confident after practice today that we had a good race car capable of winning. We got a good start early and that helped out a lot.”
The next race for New Smyrna Speedway will be the Pete Orr Memorial 100 on Saturday, January 24th.
By Kevin Ramsell, Director of Business, Midwest Editor, Speed51.com – Twitter: @KevinRamsell(powered by 51's Third Turn)
| 1||7||26||Bubba Pollard|
| 2||1||27||Bobby Good|
| 3||8||5||Daniel Keene, Jr.|
| 4||11||57||Chad Pierce|
| 5||6||129||Spencer Davis|
| 6||9||5||Joe Boyd|
| 7||10||81||Anthony Campi|
| 8||3||12||Derek Griffith|
| 9||12||20||Anthony Sergi|
| 10||4||51||Stephen Nasse|
| 11||15||101||Clay Jones|
| 12||13||56||Gus Dean|
| 13||16||9||Rich Clouser|
| 14||20||51||Michael Atwell|
| 15||21||11||David Rogers|
| 16||18||12||David Green|
| 17||2||54||Matt Craig|
| 18||24||2||Joey Coulter|
| 19||14||5||Jerry Artuso|
| 20||22||24||Kevyn Terry|
| 21||17||00||Anthony Cataldi|
| 22||5||26||Travis Cope|
| 23||23||2||Brad Bowman|
| 24||19||57||Michael Lira|