NEW SMYRNA, FL. – Report by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – NASCAR Home Tracks photo –
Super Late Model driver and short track superstar Bubba Pollard kicked off his 2015 racing season with a bang, earning his first-career Red Eye 100 victory at the historic New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday night.
Pollard used a restart with 17 laps remaining to get past polesitter Bobby Good, who led 83 laps on the evening, before marching into Victory Lane as a victor in the first NASCAR-sanctioned event of season.
“That’s pretty cool; that’s awesome,” Pollard explained. “It means a lot coming down here and winning at a race track we’ve never won at. We’ve been good, we’ve had cars capable of winning and to finally get it – we’ve worked hard for this and all the guys who help me out have worked hard for this – it’s pretty special to us.”
The win marked Pollard’s 80th career 100-lap plus Late Model victory, and he also becomes the second non-Florida resident to win the Red Eye 100.
He didn’t do so without a fight, however.
After extending his lead to half a second, Pollard’s run from the field was slowed one final time when Rich Clouser’s machine stopped on the racetrack – drawing the third and final caution of the evening and giving Good a chance to rebound on the final restart.
However, Good could not muster an attempt as Pollard used the outside lane to power away on the green flag, maintaining the advantage all the way to the checkered flag.
“The tires cooled off there and it was able to tighten the car up.” Pollard expressed. “And I was able to get up off the corner. I knew I could get a good run on him restarting on the outside. And as long as I could clear him off (turn) two, I could win the race there.”
After a dominant night and hoping to repeat what his father, Mike Good, did in 2003 by winning the Red Eye 100, the younger Good would come up just short of Smyrna glory, crossing the line second. Daniel Keene Jr. set fast-time in qualifying, but after a six-car invert started him back in traffic he was only able to climb three positions, finishing the podium in third. Chad Pierce and Spencer Davis rounded out the top five.
“We prepared the whole week for a long run,” Good said. “We had the right car. We just didn’t have the right caution periods.”
Several top prospects had rough nights, with two-time Red-Eye winner Stephen Nasse staying quiet all night en route to a tenth place result. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Joey Coulter finished 18th and David Rogers, who began his 38th season of racing Saturday night, concluded with a 15th place result.
Defending race winner Travis Cope finished 22nd after struggling throughout the weekend.
Two of the race’s three cautions came in the late-stages – the first occurred on Lap 33 when Kevyn Terry spun around.
In the Pro Late Model Zack Donatti Memorial, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour rookie Spencer Davis scored his first win of the 2015 season after leading 42 laps en route to the victory.
“It is awesome to win this race,” an excited Davis said. “It’s a special one for sure, especially because of the Donattis.”
Davis earned fast-time earlier in the night, but after a three-car invert he was forced to start inside the second row before proceeding to take the lead and celebrate in the winner’s circle.
Larry Blount finished second, with Cody Blair, Anthony Sergi and Scott Reeves rounding out the top five in the 50-lap event.
Reed Christensen (Strictly Stock) and Justin Reynolds (Super Stock) also earned feature wins on the opening night of racing at New Smyrna.
Super Late Models return to New Smyrna Speedway in just three weeks, on January 24, for the Pete Orr Memorial 100.
RESULTS: Red-Eye 100; New Smyrna Speedway; January 3, 2014
- Bubba Pollard
- Bobby Good
- Daniel Keene
- Chad Pierce
- Spencer Davis
- Joe Boyd
- Anthony Campi
- Derek Griffith
- Anthony Sergi
- Stephen Nasse
- Clay Jones
- Gus Dean
- Rich Clouser
- Michael Atwell
- David Rogers
- David Green
- Matthew Craig
- Joey Coulter
- Jerry Artuso
- Kevyn Terry
- Anthony Cataldi
- Travis Cope
- Bradley Bowman
- Michael Lira