Picking the winners of big short track races throughout the country is a tradition that our staff at Speed51.com has enjoyed for many years. With the first Super Late Model race of the year on tap for Friday night at Five Flags Speedway (FL), we decided to challenge our staff once again.


This week we asked members of our Speed51.com team, “Who are you picking to win the Blizzard Series / Southern Super Series 125 at Five Flags Speedway?”


The answers we received varied, but when all the votes were tallied it was Bubba Pollard who was named the favorite to win the Blizzard Series opener.  Overall, six different drivers received votes from our panel of 23 experts.


Check out our full list of staff picks for the Blizzard Series opener at Five Flags below.


Aaron Creed, Speed51.com National Correspondent 

Pick: Bubba Pollard

How can you not go with Bubba Pollard? He is fresh off his first Super Late Model victory of 2018 last Saturday at Orange County Speedway and his recent stats in Blizzard Series races are impeccable with four wins in the last five races and a runner-up in the other one.


Adam Mackey, Speed51.com Announcer

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Going to have to take Bubba Pollard again for the win this week. He has been so fast at Five Flags as of late but he’s had a lot of bad luck lately. If the bad luck goes away, Pollard will again taste victory.


Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Florida State Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

I’ve tried to avoid the favorites so far this season, but I need a win here and if anyone know’s victory lane in Pensacola, it’s Bubba Pollard. No. 26 to the point in the Sunshine State.


Bob Dillner, Speed51.com Executive Editor

Pick: Chandler Smith

He got me my only true win of the year. I just selected him on my Short Track Draft Fantasy Team. And he was “The Show” in the ARCA race at Salem this past week. Still don’t know… come on, 15 year-old Chandler Smith is my pick for the win at P’cola.


Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

I didn’t want to do it, but how can you not? It’s hard to argue against Pollard’s dominating record in Blizzard Series races. I like winning and Pollard likes winning (especially at Five Flags), so it only makes sense.


Caleb Slouha, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent

Pick: Stephen Nasse

I am going with Stephen Nasse. I think he can get it done this weekend as practice for getting a Snowball Derby victory.


Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor

Pick: Casey Roderick

To tame Five Flags you need experience and a fast car, something that Roderick has, but then again a bunch of others do too. What tips the scales in Roderick’s favor this Friday? Momentum, he has collected four wins in the last month. Yes, three of them are from his Pro Late Model, but the first was at Five Flags. Most importantly he does come in as the latest Southern Super Series winner at Nashville, and Roderick tends to get his wins in packs.


Dakota Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Pollard got back on track after winning the Mid Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway last weekend. He won three of the four Blizzard Series races, the Snowflake 100, and led the most laps in the Snowball Derby in 2017. Add that up and it means trouble for the rest of the field as he looks to return to a very familiar place: Five Flags Speedway victory lane.


Daryl Canfield, Speed51.com Tri-State Editor (NY, NJ & PA)

Pick: Jeff Choquette

I will take Jeff Choquette as he is always a threat at Five Flags Speedway, and Kyle Busch won’t be there this time to spoil the party for Choquette like at the 50th Snowball Derby.


Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Five Flags Speedway is his second home and the Blizzard Series is his playground. The quest for a fourth Blizzard Series title starts on Friday night when PA announcer Robbie Harvie calls his name…. Bubaaaaaaaaaaaaa Pollardddddddd!


Evan Canfield, Speed51.com Photographer

Pick: Jeff Choquette

Jeff Choquette has something to prove coming back to Five Flags after having a Snowball Derby victory slip through his hands this past December. The No. 9 will definitely be a contender for the victory in the Blizzard Series opener.


Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com West Coast Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

I can hear Five Flags Speedway announcer Robbie Harvey announcing my pick during driver intros all the way from Washington State. Bubba Pollard will take home the “W” this weekend at Five Flags Speedway and make it back-to-back wins after last weekend.


Kendra Adams, Ontario Correspondent 

Pick: Bubba Pollard

I’m going to have to go with Bubba Pollard for this weekend. After his win this past weekend, clearly the team has found something that works and I believe that he can continue his success into this weekend.


Kevin Peters, Speed51.com Southwest Editor

Pick: Casey Roderick

Since Aaron Creed took my exact argument for the selection of Bubba Pollard for the win, I have decided to go with the driver who picked up that one win before Pollard’s hot streak. I’m going with one of the hottest drivers on the planet today: Casey Roderick.


Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com Great Lakes Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Statistically, picking Pollard in the 51 Staff Pick ‘em has not paid off for a win. When he is a favorite, he has not pulled off the W. But Pollard had the best non-KBM car at the Snowball Derby, and has tons of knowledge at Five Flags, so I will make the easy pick and expect to see “Redneck Jesus” in victory lane.


Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

I’m going to have to agree with Bob on this one. Chandler Smith had an incredibly impressive run at Salem this past weekend. He also was one of my higher picks in my draft as I believe he’s on his way to the top and in a hurry at that. Chandler Smith is my choice to take the dub at Pensacola.


Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Operations Manager

Pick: Casey Roderick

I know I’m going to (continue to) get some heat for this one. Some people like to shy away from the favorites, but this is a competition after all and the name of the game is to win. I believe there are two clear-cut favorites in Bubba Pollard and Casey Roderick and either one being in victory lane would not surprise me in the least. Although both are coming off of big wins, Pollard’s win last week stands as one of the only bright spots in what has been a tumultuous few months. For that reason, I’m going to have to go with Casey Roderick as I believe he has momentum on his side looking for his fifth straight Late Model win (Pro/Super) in as many starts.


Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Gulf Coast Editor

Pick: Connor Okrzesik

Connor Okrzesik might not be the first name everyone thinks of when placing bets, but the 2017 Southern Super Series rookie is no stranger to Five Flags Speedway. Okrzesik has steadily developed as a driver over the last few years and already has one top-ten and two top-five Late Model finishes under his belt this season. If anybody is overdue for a victory at the Pensacola half-mile, it’s this kid.


Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor

Pick: Jeff Choquette

I’ll be joining my buddy Daryl Canfield in the Jeff Choquette camp. Just two drivers won a Blizzard Series race in 2017. Choquette and Bubba Pollard. I know it was 3-1 in favor of Pollard, but this week I’m going with Jeff Choquette to hopefully get me a little higher in the standings.


Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Stephen Nasse

It’s time for the defending Southern Super Series champ to find his way to victory lane. After beginning the season with back-to-back less than stellar runs at The Rattler and Nashville, Stephen Nasse returns to the Gulf Coast looking for better luck. The defending series champ finished second to Bubba Pollard in the season finale last year at Five Flags, and racked up a couple other top 10’s in the other races in Pensacola. Nasse has never “parked it” at a Southern Super Series event, but I think his time is coming this Friday.


Tom Ryan, Speed51.com Digital Manager

Pick: Chandler Smith

Chandler Smith is on a roll and I hope to ride his positive wave of results to a victory at Five Flags. My picks have been having very bad luck with horrendous finishes, so I hope the No. 26 car will turn my fortune around.


Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor

Pick: Bubba Pollard

Bubba Pollard had a rough start to 2018, but got the proverbial monkey off his back with a win in the CARS Tour Mid Atlantic Classic last week. I expect “Redneck Jesus” to carry that momentum into Pensacola.


-Text by Speed51.com Staff

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

Speed51.com Staff Picks for Blizzard Series at Five Flags