Chad Poole dominated the NSTA Modified feature to claim the first A-Main checkered flag of the Short Track U.S. Nationals Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN).
Poole grabbed the lead just five laps in to the 50-lap sprint, and cruised to his third NSTA Top Speed Modified win a row. During a late-race red flag, Poole turned to his biggest fan for some pep talk inside the cockpit of his machine.
“I lost my mom in February, and it may have been a little bit of cheating, because I had her riding in the car with me tonight.” Poole said. “Me and her had quite a bit of discussion while we were in there about needing to stay calm and how we were going to get through this.”
Travis Eddy followed Poole’s tire tracks for the majority of the night, searching for a place and time to mount a late challenge. The move never came, as Poole never faulted in the waning circuits, forcing Eddy to settle for the runner-up spot.
Eddy, the 2017 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Modified champ, was contempt with a second-place finish after a trying few days and strong finish at The Last Great Coliseum.
“We struggled all weekend,” said Eddy. “We were only about 18th quick in practice and happed to stumble on to something right before qualifying and got up on the pole. The car was a rocket in the race. We have never run a high-banked track before, so to come to Bristol and run second – that’s awesome.”
Poole has visited victory lane at small-town bullrings all across the Midwest, but the trip to Bristol’s famous rooftop winner’s circle is the biggest win of his career. When the racing was said and done. Poole stood in the same hallowed ground as racing’s best.
It’s a moment he won’t soon forget.
“I can’t believe it’s actually true,” said Poole. “It’s Bristol baby. We have been saying that for a week now and here we are. It just hasn’t set in yet. I don’t know if I am going to wake up in a little bit and think ‘Damn, I thought it was real’ you know. The car was just phenomenal. I didn’t really have to push it that hard. There was a tone of grip in the track and we were good all night.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Saturday’s race by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage.
On Sunday, Super Late Models, Pro Late Models and Late Model Stock Cars will be in action for 100-lap features. Race fans can watch the live video broadcast on Speed51.com by clicking here.
-By Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @RyanLMcCollough
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos