Since they collided at CRA SpeedFest in January, all eyes have been glued to the rivalry between Super Late Model stars Bubba Pollard and Stephen Nasse. On Sunday afternoon at Five Flags Speedway, the two heavyweights found themselves going toe-to-toe in the Blizzard Series finale.
At the end of an entertaining battle, both drivers were celebrating triumphs at the Pensacola, Florida oval. Nasse prevailed over Pollard to score the victory, while Pollard claimed his fourth career Blizzard Series championship.
“Today we were fortunate enough to beat some of the best out here,” Nasse told Speed51. “It feels really good. We got the Derby taken away from us last year and it’s been tough to swallow. To come back here and get a couple wins here this season, and this being the last race before the Derby, it means a lot.”
Throughout the second half of the 150-lap Super Late Model race, Pollard and Nasse swapped the lead a handful of times while battling side-by-side around the half-mile oval. On the final restart with 23 laps to go, Nasse took over the lead for good, while Pollard faded to finish fifth.
“I hate that it had to end the way that it did,” Nasse said. “I wasn’t really expecting him to come down across my nose there getting in, I figured he’d give me the bottom again. He was so good on the top.”
“I made a bad decision and picked the outside there,” Pollard said of the final restart. “At night when we race during the summer it’s fine, but today it just didn’t have any grip. I made a mistake and that was the difference. I spun the right rear tire on the restart there and after that I was done. Once you spin it here, you never get it back really. Today it cost us. We take it and learn from it.”
Despite having a shaky relationship in the past, both Nasse and Pollard were appreciative of how hard they raced each other Sunday afternoon.
“I had a lot of fun racing with him,” Nasse stated. “It was one of our cleaner races and I was really surprised. He’s a heck of a wheelman and we edged him out today. That doesn’t make us better, but we’re on our way to being there. A lot of fun, I just had a lot of fun today.”
“It was a good race. It was fun,” Pollard said. “That’s how you’re supposed to race right there. You don’t have to beat and bang to make it happen. You rub on each other and that’s going to happen; you don’t take each other out. Well, not anymore maybe.”
Last year’s Snowball Derby runner-up Jake Garcia charged from his 14th starting spot to finish second, while polesitter Kaden Honeycutt completed the podium. Kyle McCallum recorded a career-best Blizzard Series finish by crossing the line fourth.
With his fifth-place finish, Pollard clinched his third straight Blizzard Series championship and fourth overall.
An on-demand replay of Sunday’s Blizzard Series finale will be available soon on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51
Blizzard Series Unofficial Results
Five Flags Speedway (FL) – October 25, 2020
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