The phrase “close, but no cigar” has come to define Kyle Plott’s 2018 season. The Georgia native has competed all across the south, coming frustratingly close to a win, but never getting to light up in victory lane.
“I sure do hope this bad luck ends soon,” Plott said. “I know this car is capable of winning.”
Let’s take a look at Plott’s Southern Super Series stats to date:
—Rattler 250 at South Alabama (AL): 10th
—Blizzard Series Race No. 1 at Five Flags (FL): 4th
—Border War 150 at Anderson Motor (SC): 3rd
—Blizzard Series Race No. 2 at Five Flags (FL): 21st
Following a comfortable top-ten finish in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway, the race that kicked off the Southern Super Series schedule in March, Plott and his team started a new project.
“After the Rattler we built a brand new car,” Plott said. “It’s been good kind of learning about what I need in the car, and we’ve been improving every weekend.”
The results agree; Plott consistently bettered his finishes in the new No. 4 machine, first at Pensacola’s famous half-mile and then at Anderson, South Carolina’s 3/8-mile oval.
But what the results for those races don’t show is the combination of bad luck and bad timing that contributed to two empty spots on Plott’s trophy shelf.
“We had a lot of speed that first Blizzard race and just got caught up in a wreck,” Plott said.
Despite being involved in a wreck just after the halfway mark of the race, Plott was able to work his way back up through the field, avoiding the chaos surrounding the Wilson/Nasse incident and rebounding with a fourth-place finish.
“All things considered, that was a pretty good weekend,” Plott said.
Fast-forwarding to June 9th, the Southern Super Series headed towards the East coast in a co-sanctioned race with the CARS Tour.
Bubba Pollard and Plott led the field to green but that’s as far as they got. Transmission issues with Plott’s machine caused it to lag, everyone stacking up behind him, which brought out the first red flag of the race, no laps complete.
After resuming the race and battling up through the field, Plott would have to deal with another bout of bad luck— a flat tire— before fighting for his podium finish.
“At Anderson, we just got tangled up in a bunch of messes like usual,” Plott said. “Didn’t really get the finish we deserved, but that’s just a part of racing.”
Offering another chance at redemption, the sixth Southern Super Series race was going to be Plott’s silver lining of an otherwise stressful season. That is, until a motor mount broke nine laps into a 125-lap feature.
“We broke a motor mount and that broke the power steering,” Plott said. “I had to pull it in, there wasn’t any sense of causing more damage to the car.”
Now, with only five races left for the series this year, a win at Montgomery Motor Speedway this weekend is more crucial than ever.
“Getting ready for Montgomery, we’re making sure we’ve got all of our t’s crossed and our i’s dotted this time,” Plott said. “We’ve had the speed to win them, we just haven’t had the luck or circumstances. Hopefully the stars will line up and get us in victory lane this time.”
If Plott is able to seal the deal, it’ll be the big breakthrough the 22-year-old needs to finish out the season strong.
“I think it’ll give us a good confidence booster going into all the other races,” Plott said. “Once you have a bad string of luck and you finally get a win, it’s like the weight lifting off your shoulders. It’s a big relief that lets you focus on more wins, instead of worrying about stupid stuff happening.”
Grandstands open at 5:00 p.m. CT and feature racing starts at 7:00 p.m. CT. Race fans who can’t make it out to Montgomery Motor Speedway can watch the Southern Super Series action live on Summer Thunder TV.
The best part about Summer Thunder TV races is that if you’re already a premium member of Speed51.com, then they’re totally free. And if you aren’t yet a premium member, you can become one for just $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year by clicking here.
The 2018 Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes schedule continues to grow as more races are added weekly. You can see the full schedule for Summer Thunder TV here.
-By: Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Gulf Coast Editor — Twitter: @MelissaStrahley
-Photo Credit: Melissa Strahley/Speed51.com