Pollard Outduels Nasse For Another SpeedFest Score

Pollard

Bubba Pollard won Saturday's SpeedFest super late model headliner at Crisp Motorsports Park. (ASA photo)

CORDELE, Ga. – The end of Bubba Pollard’s season last year left him wanting more. He started off that quest for more with a thrilling victory Saturday during the Protect Your Melon Buckle Up SpeedFest 150.

The annual winter crown jewel at Crisp Motorsports Park, which marked the kickoff to the ASA Southern Super Series season and was a non-points special for the ASA/CRA Super Series, saw a late-race duel of differing tire strategies pit Pollard against his longtime rival, Stephen Nasse.

At the end of a race that featured five lead changes, Pollard passed Nasse for good on lap 139 after the latter tried to pin him behind a slower car in traffic. The move didn’t work, as Pollard simply went three-wide to escape Nasse and the hornet’s nest around their battle for the win.

It marked the third straight year and fourth time overall that Pollard has opened his season with a SpeedFest victory in his familiar No. 26 Phoenix Construction-sponsored super late model.

Saturday also exorcized a few of the demons Pollard faced since missing out on the Tom Dawson Trophy from the Snowball Derby – the only super late model major he’s yet to win – again back in December.

“You never know if the [tire] strategy is going to work,” said Pollard, who led a combined 95 of the 150 laps, including the last 12. “Last year we won it by pitting early and today it was the other way. We had a 40-lap run to get it done. Had it been 25 … it would have been interesting.

“This was a great race for the fans. I hope they enjoyed it in the cold weather, but it was some really good racing.”

After a competition yellow at lap 75, Nasse pitted from fourth to take his fresh tires in hopes that the mid-race decision would pay off for him. He rose back to that fourth position, then held serve in an effort to conserve his equipment.

From there, Nasse led until fresher rubber climbed back through the order and caught him. However, he noted that he continues to appreciate the challenge of racing Pollard for wins on a regular basis.

“Every racer knows that move and I was doing everything I could because I knew he was way faster than I was, so I did try to pick him down there,” Nasse told Short Track Scene. “We did a little bit of rubbing, but it’s just hard racing. I’m not going to lay over when I’m in the lead. I’m going to race hard. We rubbed fenders, but nothing too serious, and we both have race cars we can work on to take to the next race.

“I enjoy this when we’re both running good.”

Perhaps Pollard’s closest challenger for most of the day, Casey Roderick, ended up third ahead of polesitter Dawson Sutton and Gio Ruggiero after Roderick led 13 laps early in the race and stalked Pollard for a large portion of the middle stages.

Michael Hinde, Jett Noland, Cole Butcher, Matt Craig, and Timothy Watson closed the top 10.

As for how he’s been raced recently, Pollard told Short Track Scene that he’s tired of being pushed around and that he’s going to be aggressive if situations require it going forward.

“I ain’t taking [anything from] nobody,” Pollard tipped. “I’m done … They can say what they want to about me, but I work on my own stuff and pay my own bills. I can do what I want and when I knock the fenders off it, I fix it myself.

“I don’t take it to the chassis manufacturer and have them rebuild it. I race people how they race me. I give and take a lot with a lot of guys, but I’m going to start doing whatever it takes to run up front and run [well].

“If I make enemies, I’ll get it back.”

The ASA Southern Super Series returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. The Clyde Hart Memorial 200 will be a tri-sanctioned race, also featuring the best from the ASA STARS National Tour and the David Rogers New Smyrna super late model division.

New Smyrna will mark the kickoff to the ASA STARS National Tour season.

In the JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour pro late model undercard, Nasse collected the 100-lap victory over Trackhouse Racing NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain, who finished 2.262 seconds adrift in second.

George Phillips, Seth Christensen, and Mike Hopkins were third through fifth, respectively, in that event.

Nasse took the lead for good with 38 laps left in the pro late model feature and never trailed again.

The finish:

SpeedFest (150 laps): 1. Bubba Pollard, 2. Stephen Nasse, 3. Casey Roderick, 4. Dawson Sutton, 5. Gio Ruggiero, 6. Michael Hinde, 7. Jett Noland, 8. Cole Butcher, 9. Matt Craig, 10. Timothy Watson, 11. Michael Atwell, 12. Billy VanMeter, 13. Derek Kraus, 14. Jake Finch, 15. Daniel Webster, 16. Dustin Smith, 17. Brandon Jones, 18. Steve Dorer, 19. Stuart Dutton, 20. Tony Elrod, 21. Michael Goddard, 22. Hudson Halder, 23. Colin Allman, 24. Anthony Cataldi, 25. Dave Farrington Jr., 26. Josh Berry, 27. Connor Okrzesik, 28. Jake Garcia, 29. Conner Jones (DNS).

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.