PENSACOLA, Fla. — Although Andrew “Bubba” Pollard has made it look easy before the race this year by snagging every Blizzard Series Super Late Model pole award of the 2013 season, it’s been much more difficult for Pollard to hold on to that top spot when the checkered flag waved.
But on the final night of Blizzard Series action, an evening beneath a full moon, that proved to be nothing short of exciting, Pollard was finally able to put his No. 26 JEGS machine in victory lane at Five Flags Speedway.
“I was really starting to get worried about it,” said Pollard of the thought of going winless at Five Flags Speedway in 2013. “I’ve won a race here at least once a year in the last four or five seasons. And no, it’s not really a big deal but we’ve been fast all year and we haven’t been able to put all the wins together. But now I think this may be the point where we turn it around here. We tried a completely different package than what we’ve been used to and I think it worked out for us. We definitely hit on something and hopefully we can carry the momentum over into the Derby and even into some of these bigger races like at Nashville and the other places so I’m looking forward to it.”
Unlike the previous few Blizzard Series Super Late Model events at Five Flags Speedway, the Buddy’s Home Furnishings 125 was littered with cautions that never allowed the leader the opportunity to pull away from the field. For Pollard, the key was being prepared for any outcome.
“I was trying to save because you never know when you’re going to have a sprint like that to the end,” said Pollard. “So we were just keeping our distance right there like I thought we needed to when we had a comfortable lead. You know this place just wears equipment out. The 29 (Ross Kenseth) and the 98 (Daniel Hemric) were both good on the short runs and we could stay consistent and be consistent when the race went green. I can’t thank my guys enough, we’ve put a lot of hard work into this trying to get some momentum built up going into the end of the year.”
Hemric, John Hunter Nemechek, Casey Smith and Ross Kenseth rounded out the top five.
While Pollard was celebrating his first Blizzard win of 2013, Hemric was hoisting the trophy after winning the series title in just his first full season of super late model competition.
And although the series title and trophy will live on longer, it’s likely Hemric and his Carswell Motorsports team were also celebrating their newly earned guaranteed starting spot in December’s 46th annual Snowball Derby.
“That’s huge for this whole team,” said Hemric. “From running the Snowball Derby last year just hoping to get in on time to now being able to come down here week to week and compete with these guys and compete at their level, it’s just an honor to be a part of this whole Carswell Motorsports team. Everyone has put in a lot of hours and there’s a lot of preparation that goes into coming here and running like we do week to week.
“I really wanted to get the win to try to get the championship and the race in the same night but these guys are tough; Bubba was just better than us tonight. But I can’t thank everyone enough for running us clean all year. And congratulations to John Hunter Nemechek, he had a strong run as well. We lacked just a little bit there but I was hoping to do it right and win them both.”
Bubba Pollard, Danniel Hemric, John Hunter Nemechek, Casey Smith, Ross Kenseth, Chris Davidson, Mike Garvey, Kyle Benjamin, David Rogers, Zak Hausler, D.J. VanderLey, Jake Perkins, Scott Carlson, Jimmy Garmon, Kyle Bryant, Anderson Bowen, Lonnie Sommerville, Troy Grisaffi, Allen Karnes, Donnie Wilson, Austin Theriault, Hunter Robbins, Jerry Artuso, Chet Morrison, Wayne Niedecken Jr.