Bubba Pollard won the battle on Thursday night at New Smyrna Speedway, and took a big step towards winning the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing war after a mishap for the Super Late Model points leader.
Pollard took the lead from Anthony Sergi on lap 10 of the 35-lap Super Late Model feature, scoring his third victory of the week. Meanwhile, World Series points leader Brad May experienced a mechanical dilemma, dropping him unofficially to 18th in the final running order.
Pollard was excited to once again bring David Rogers’ No. 11 to victory lane, as he substitutes for the Florida legend after a minor surgical procedure.
Meanwhile, points leader Brad May suffered a mechanical issue on the opening lap of the race, which was immediately slowed for an incident involving Colin Garrett.
Brad May brought his car to pit road and climbed into his back-up car, which he drove to an 18th-place finish.
May wasn’t positive on the issue regarding his primary car, but was fairly certain something in the engine failed on the opening lap.
“Just a vibration,” said May. “It looks like the water pump belt broke. I don’t know if it stopped circulating water, overheating, something. I just had a real bad vibration. I think something in the motor broke because of it.”
Pollard feels even better about his team’s chances in the main event for Super Late Models during the World Series, the Orange Blossom 100 on Saturday night.
“We started off the race really good,” Pollard said. “We felt really good about it, and it tightened up at the end. We run pretty hard in these 35 lap races. In the 100-lap race, we’ll slow the pace down a little bit. At least I am. We’ll see what we’ve got, I feel pretty good about it.”
Unofficially, Pollard now leads the World Series points by 12 markers. A strong run in the Orange Blossom could mean a World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing championship for the David Rogers team.
“These guys deserve it,” said Pollard. “They work hard. It’d be cool. We’re here to win races, and I hate Brad had a bad night. It’s tough. He’s been so good all week long. Hopefully we can pull it off.”
At race's end, there was no official ruling on whether or not May’s run in the back-up car would stand. May believed he had a case to keep the 18th-place finish.
“I got back out before the final start there,” May said. “We got our transponder in the car. It’s not an impound race. I’d imagine I could start in the back and make it happen. I guess we’ll find out.”
Regardless of what finishing position May is credited, the Orlando driver thinks his World Series title shots were dashed with the opening lap issue.
“It really put us out of contention,” said May. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to come back from this one.”
Gabe Sommers finished second in the race, on an up-and-down night. Sommers had started on the front row, but fell back to fourth in the opening laps. The Wisconsin teenager raced his way back up to second, but didn’t have enough time to close in on Pollard and contend for the victory.
“It was really fun,” Sommers said. “It fell off a little bit at the beginning. We were able to get back up there and contend for the lead.”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Thursday night's racing by visiting Speed51.com's Trackside Now.
Super Late Model Unofficial Results
February 14, 2019 - New Smyrna Speedway (FL)
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo