Mobile International Speedway may as well be renamed “Bubba International Speedway” because Bubba Pollard is just that dominant at the Alabama half-mile oval. At the last Southern Super Series powered by Sunoco race at Mobile, Pollard waited until the closing laps before flexing his muscles. The race before, Pollard led all 100 laps and was untouchable until he entered the tech shed after the race.
Only once this year at Mobile has somebody beat Pollard on the track to score the win. That “somebody” was current points leader, Casey Smith.
Now the Southern Super Series heads back to Mobile for the Lee Fields Memorial 150, and Smith is hoping to be the one to stop Pollard once again.
Smith doesn’t actually believe that Pollard is as dominant at Mobile as he appears to be.
“I feel like we are right there with him,” said Smith. “In the last race we both kind of rode around and waited for the end. He got clear of some people before I did. I felt like we had pretty equal cars there.”
The Austin, Texas driver is able to recall what went wrong and what went right in each of the three races at Mobile this year as he explains why he believes he’s able to beat Pollard on Saturday night.
“The first race we ran we beat him fair and square on a restart with a few laps to go,” he said. “In the second race we struggled a little bit and were too free and we burned up the right rear.”
However, Smith said he thinks he shouldn’t have to worry about wearing his tires too much thanks to the format of the Lee Fields Memorial.
Unlike most Southern Super Series events, this race will run to lap 100, and then the caution will come out. Teams will be allowed to change tires in preparation of the final 50-lap run to the finish.
Smith said he believes that will change the way he and his fellow drivers approach the race.
“Tire conservation is not quite as big of a factor as it is in the 100-lappers,” said Smith. “You can race pretty hard there because the tires will last a good 40 laps. You can be more aggressive.”
While Smith said he expects people to be more aggressive, he explained that he plans on being passive aggressive, because he is fighting for a championship. He may have a 78-point lead over Donnie Wilson, but he is aware that anything can change between now and the season finale at Five Flags Speedway (FL) on September 26, which will be broadcast live for free on 51 TV.
“We have a good lead, but that can dissolve quickly with three races to go,” Smith said. “If we have two bad races and Donnie has two good races we’ll be right there with him having a chance to win at that last race.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo