Ten months removed from an explosive encounter between the two Super Late Model standouts at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) last August, Bubba Pollard and Matt Craig once again battled for a CARS Super Late Model Tour win at the historic track. On Saturday night, it was Pollard taking the upper hand after a battle to the finish which saw Craig spin in turns three and four on the final lap.
Last year, the two drivers battled at the finish of a race won by Matt Craig, followed by a physical altercation in the pits between Pollard and Craig’s father. While there were no such fisticuffs after Saturday’s race, the action was just as intense on-track.
Pollard closed in over the final green-flag run in the 150-lap feature, pulling alongside Craig in the final five laps of the event. The two drivers traded paint throughout the closing laps, and on the final lap Craig spun exiting turn four while Pollard drove to victory.
Pollard chalked up the exciting finish to good, hard racing between two fierce competitors.
“It was just good, hard racing. Coming down to the last lap, we had to make something happen. He got off two and got loose and we come together. I knew if I could run into three hard, I’d have a shot as long as I was up to his door.
“That was the biggest thing. We’ve had a history in the past, but it was good racing tonight. He had a good car. I just was able to run him down in the last 20 laps. I feel like we were a little better than he was.”
For Pollard, it was his first Super Late Model win since the Speed51 Super Select at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis last September. It has been a long drought by Pollard’s standards in Super Late Models, and one he is happy to put behind him.
“It’s our first win in the Super car since last year. We’re excited to get back. Our program has been a little off. We’ve been working hard to get back where we needed to the last several months, really. I feel like we found something yesterday, that we were leading ourselves down the wrong path.
“One race doesn’t tell the story but hopefully we’ve got our stuff back on track. Hopefully we can go back out there, shoot for top threes, top fives.”
Matt Craig declined an interview with Speed51 following the race. He would get his car pointed in the right direction in time to finish third in the race, with Chandler Smith the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 into second place. Carson Kvapil and Kodie Conner rounded out the top five.
The CARS Super Late Models will be back in action July 4, in a $10,000-to-win co-sanctioned event with the ARCA/CRA Super Series at Jennerstown Speedway (PA).
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo
Unofficial Results – CARS Super Late Model Tour
Hickory Motor Speedway – June 13, 2020
- 26 – Bubba Pollard
- 51 – Chandler Smith
- 54 – Matt Craig
- 35K – Carson Kvapil
- 45 – Kodie Conner
- 1 – Nolan Pope
- 51S – Sammy Smith
- 22 – Trevor Noles
- 35 – Jake Garcia
- 01 – Jake Crum
- 20 – Harrison Halder
- 9 – Hudson Halder
- 45 – Jeff Batten
- 7J – Justin Crider
- 7 – Jeremy Barclay
- 7C – Tyler Church