It all comes down to this.
After 13 Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco races all across the southeast and more than 2000 laps of action, only a handful of points separate Bubba Pollard, Daniel Hemric, Anderson Bowen, Augie Grill and Donnie Wilson heading into the series’ final weekend.
The stage is set as the final two venues will be Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida for the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series finale on September 19. The next night will be the final act of the season as the teams head across the bay for the final race of the season at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama for the Miller Lite Series finale.
The championship contenders knew the year would be tight, but it looks as if things will go right down to the final lap just like a year ago. At the 2013 season finale at Nashville, Daniel Hemric nipped Bubba Pollard by a single point to win the series’ inaugural title.
The numbers say that Bubba Pollard should be the series champion. After five wins this year and leading close to 600 laps, Pollard has been dominant, but his performance as of late has been plagued by mechanical problems that have tightened the race for the championship. Five Flags and Mobile are his playgrounds having won a combined 22 Super Late Model races at the season ending tracks.
“All we can do is go win races,” said Pollard. “I am not worried about points. Anything could happen, just look at last year. The two tracks we are ending with have been good for us, but all we can do is put ourselves in a position to win.”
After the first three Southern Super Series races of the season, defending champ Daniel Hemric was in anything but repeat form. Hemric scored only one finish in the top 10 and was far from the lead in the championship standings. Currently he’s on a streak of nine consecutive top-five finishes heading into the final weekend. He won the last Blizzard race and is only eight points off the lead heading into the final two. Just like a year ago he looks to come from behind at the finish.
“We proved last year that it’s not over until it’s over,” said Hemric. “Not just us or Bubba, but any of these guys could pull it off. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing if after Pensacola and Mobile we gave it all we had and we come up short then at least we know we gave it our best.”
Fresh off his win in the Alabama 200 has Anderson Bowen is pumped for a late season run for the title. He’s 53 markers off the lead and would likely need both Pollard and Hemric to have trouble one of the two nights to be a factor before it’s over.
“I am not really thinking about it,” said Bowen. “That way I can just take the pressure out of it and off of us. We can go to the last two races and try to win. I think we have rebounded well from our last run at Five Flags, which was not the best. Winning is all we can try to do.”
Augie Grill is fourth in points and sits 57 points off the lead. The margin can be made up under the right circumstances. Grill has been shut out of victory lane in 2014, but has led 537 laps and has set fast time on three occasions.
“Hopefully we can have a car running as good as this one during the last two races,” said Grill. “All we can do now is go there to run up front and get the monkey off our back. I feel had we finished the last two race the way we should have then we could have had the point lead. It is what it is.”
Donnie Wilson is 88 points back in fifth, but only has a realistic chance if the car count is large both nights. If Pollard or Hemric finish the top five at Five Flags he would basically be eliminated.
“I don’t see us making up the ground,” said Wilson. “We’ll be in the mix for some wins, but one of those in front of us will win the championship.”