When the Southern Super Series unloaded at Mobile International Speedway, to wrap up the first Gulf Coast swing of the year, racing seemed like a long shot as torrential rains and thunderstorms battered the track all afternoon.
All of the scheduled afternoon practice sessions were washed out, and teams were given one 40 minute session to get their cars dialed in.
The 100 lap main event would start based on current 2015 point standings putting Austin, Texas’ Casey Smith on the pole as point leader, after starting the year with three straight top five finishes.
With nothing but clean race track in front of him, Smith took advantage at the start and drove away from the field, opening up more than a four second, full straightaway advantage in the opening 50 laps.
“(My spotter) got on the radio and said you know this is a 100 lap race? I was trying to go slower. Sometimes when you try to go slow and you back up your corner you have to get in the throttle sooner and it burns up your right rear. I couldn’t really go any slower than I was.” Smith said of his fast start.
Behind Smith, all eyes were on defending series champion, Bubba Pollard, who in contrast to Smith, started the year with mediocre results in the opening three races and would start back in the ninth spot.
After moving all the way into the top three just 40 laps in, he set his sights on Donnie Wilson who at that point had a three second cushion over third place. It took the Senoia, Georgia driver just over ten laps to catch and pass Wilson. From there he set out to catch Smith who still had a four plus second lead.
Pollard spent the next 30 laps using everything his car had to run down Smith and the two ran nose to tail for several laps before the only caution slowed the event with five laps to go.
“I figured Hemric and Bubba were saving their tires and I was afraid if we got a late race caution we might have abused (our tires) too much. So that concerned me but luckily we were able to hold Bubba off.”
Pollard’s car had all but lost it’s handling after using up so much just to catch Smith. Despite starting alongside with the late restart, Pollard felt he had no chance to head to victory lane,
“Having to start that far back just killed us” A dejected Pollard said after the race, “We had the best racecar. I ran him down from half a track back. We were just too free when I caught him to make the pass.”
“I pretty much knew we were done. We didn’t have a shot, we were too free. That caution didn’t help us or hurt us.” Pollard finished.
For Smith it was his first career Southern Super Series victory, and his first win at Mobile since 2007, “We dominated here back in ’07, and ever since, Bubba’s pretty much had everyone covered.” Explained Smith “This was the best car I’ve ever had here and it feels good to be back.”
“You get to a point where you don’t know if it’s ever going to come again and so you’ve got to cherish it if it does. It makes it just that much more special.”
The next stop for the Southern Super Series will be another Gulf Coast swing between Five Flags Speedway (FL) and back at Mobile on May 22nd and 23rd.
For more information visit, www.SouthernSuperSeries.com
Trackside Now Replay presented by Earnest Performance – Click Here
Southern Super Series
Saturday April 25, 2015
Mobile International Speedway (AL)
1 99 Casey Smith
2 83 Bubba Pollard
3 98 Daniel Hemric
4 31 Kyle Grissom
5 47 Allen Karnes
6 7 Casey Roderick
7 2 Donnie Wilson
8 5 Dominique Van Wieringen
9 88 Garrett Jones
10 1M Tim Martin
11 1 Mike Garvey
12 22 Jeremy Pate
– Southern Super Series/51 Sports Press Release
Photo Credit: Speed51.com