Sunday’s practice sessions proved eventful at New Smyrna Speedway, as one marquee name surged to the top of the charts while a title hopeful encountered an unexpected hurdle to clear.
Bubba Pollard found speed after wholesale changes on his No. 26 Super Late Model after struggling during the first two nights of the World Series. Pollard was second-fastest in final Super Late Model practice, with a time of 17.884 seconds.
However, Pollard was hesitant to start counting his blessings for Sunday’s 35-lap feature based on practice results.
“We’ve just been working on stuff, working hard, trying to get better. We’ll see how it ends up tonight. We really don’t know.
“Our program needed work, and we knew we had to try a lot of different stuff to get better. It’s a learning process we’ve had to go through. It’s nothing we’re throwing at it to make it work, it’s throwing at it to get better. That’s the biggest thing, so we can carry on the rest of the year.”
Jett Noland has a pair of top-five finishes in the Super Late Models thus far in the World Series. However, the Anthony Campi Racing driver’s title aspirations hit a major speed bump during Sunday’s practice with an engine issue.
Another car from Florida racer Jesse Dutilly is en route to New Smyrna Speedway in hopes that it will arrive in time for Noland to qualify for Sunday’s feature race.
“One of our local friends, Jesse Dutilly, has got a car, so he’s bringing that,” said Anthony Campi. “It’s something Jett has never been in, so it’ll be interesting to say the least.”
“It’ll probably be here a tick after they start qualifying. We’ll get it unloaded, across the gates sometime between the start of qualifying and the end, and get him fitted in the seat, get him through tech. They said we just have to take the slowest of our three laps, and that’s where we’ll start. We’ll do the best we can.”
Derek Griffith unofficially leads the Super Late Model points standings, but he found time during Sunday’s practice to climb in a Pro Late Model as well. Griffith does not plan to race in the Pro Late Model division Sunday night but could make starts in the division later in the week.
“Our friend Jamie asked me to come over and help out a little bit, see if I could take the car out. Hopefully, it turns into something. I think it’s really good. Maybe if I’m lucky enough to drive it this week, we’ll do something with it.”
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-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo