The top five drivers in points from the 2014 Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco are heading north to run one of the crown jewels of short track racing, the Winchester 400.
Series champion Bubba Pollard, Daniel Hemirc, Augie Grill, Donnie Wilson and Anderson Bowen combined to win 13 of the 15 Southern Super Series events in 2014 and will be looking to earn the ARCA/CRA Super Series victory on Sunday, October 12. They have all had success at Winchester in the past, as well. Each one of them hopes that this is the year the famed rifle that is awarded to the winner of the Winchester 400 will be making a trip south.
Bubba Pollard finished fourth in 2012 and led 48 laps in his first 400 experience. Last year he lost a lap in the pits and could never make it up in a race that saw seven cars finish on the lead lap.
“We want to win the Winchester 400,” said Pollard. “We had never won up north until Berlin this year and I think we can do it this weekend. I know we are bringing our best and so are the rest in the our series and CRA, so it’ll be a great race with all of those cars entered. We just need to make sure we are there at the end of the day.”
Pollard will have 2001 Winchester 400 winner Joey Clanton calling the shots on the pit box.
Donnie Wilson has led over 100 laps in the 400 on two occasions only to not finish the event either time he led. He’s been a model of consistency this season and with three wins it’s been his best year yet. He’ll look to improve on a fourth in 2008.
“I’m really excited for the 400,” stated Wilson. “The last three races we had some issues but we still managed some good finishes to end the season. We found what was wrong so that was a relief and feel really good about the 400. I’ve led a lot of laps the past few years in the 400 and I know what it takes in this long race so looking forward to Sunday.”
Butch Miller, winner of the 400 in 1987 and 1989 will serve as Wilson’s crew chief along with Troy Smith. The trio has been very successful this season and Wilson have proven to be strong at Winchester in the past.
Augie Grill has two Snowball Derby wins, two Governor’s Cup 200 wins and two Rattler 250 wins to his credit. However, the 400 win has been on his fingertips twice only to see victory fade away. Grill led 131 laps last year, but a miscue on pit road left them fourth at the end.
“We are pretty excited about going to Winchester,” said Grill “I hope we can finish it off this year. We feel good about our chances and we have really been running well in the last few races and we finally got our first win of the year so I think the timing is right.”
Grill was second way back in 2006 in his first 400.
Anderson Bowen sat on the outside of the front row in his first Winchester 400 back in 2012. A year ago he completed 399 laps to finish 11th. 2014 has been a year filled with improvement with victories at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA), The Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) and at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, MO.
“I love Winchester and I can’t wait for the 400,” said Bowen. “I think it’s coming at the right time for us after we finished third at Nashville last weekend. We already won one extra distance race this season and I think we can win another at the 400.”
Bowen was also second at the Rattler 250 back in March.
Daniel Hemric has already won the Redbud 300 this season in Indiana and now he hopes to takes another big win on a high-banked track. Hemric has led 13 laps in Winchester 400 action and had a career-best fifth a year ago.
“The Winchester 400 has been such a premier event for so long,” said Hemric “It’s just an honor to take part in it. Also with the pit stops, it allows the whole team to get all pumped up and really be part of how the race could turn out for you. It’s a ton of excitement for everyone involved.”
Hemric, the 2013 Southern Super Series champion was third in the Winchester JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event back in 2012.
The Winchester 400 will take place on Sunday, October 12th will qualifying taking place the day before. Speed51.com will be on hand with live Trackside Now coverage.
– By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Operations Manager. Twitter: @Elgin Traylor
– Photo credit: Speed51.com