SPEED 51 DOT COM STORY – There were plenty of contenders throughout the 200-lap CRA SpeedFest event on Sunday afternoon at the Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia, but at the end of a knock-down, drag-out race it was Bubba Pollard who stood tallest.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Pollard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after his first win of 2016. “It feels good after what happened last year, we had the fastest car and nothing to show for it.”
Last year it was Pollard and John Hunter Nemechek battling for the win in the closing laps when Nemechek made contact with Pollard and Pollard went spinning.
A similar situation happened on Sunday evening, but this time it was Nemechek going for a spin from the lead off Pollard’s front bumper, and Pollard going on to take the victory.
Going into turn one, Nemechek, Pollard and William Byron all made contact, and Nemechek ended up getting the worst of it. After consulting video replay, CRA officials deemed that Bryon was ultimately the reason for the incident, which resulted in Byron being sent to the rear of the field.
“I was disappointed because I was there but it’s their call,” said William Byron. “I was to his inside and it appeared he (Pollard) wanted to turn the 8, so I think I got blamed for that.”
Nemechek, the winner of the Pro Late Model 125 earlier in the day, restarted at the rear of the field as well, ending his chances at a sweep of the day.
“There at the end of race when it came down to it everyone was bumping and rubbing, and rubbing is racing,” John Hunter Nemechek said when reflecting back on the incident that took him out of the running for the win.
When all was said and done and the lineup for the restart was complete we went into overtime. Pollard went head to head on lap 201 against Harrison Burton, who transferred into the 200-lap show from the Last Chance Race earlier in the day, in a green-white-checkered finish. The two made considerable contact on the last lap of the race, but it was Pollard that crossed under the checkered flag to win the SpeedFest 2016 Super Late Model race.
Burton said wasn’t disappointed with his overall run, but admitted he would’ve been much happier with first.
“It’s something I’ve been really wanting to do, have a chance to beat someone like Bubba Pollard,” said Burton.
Despite his second-place finish, Burton managed to come up through the field from the 24th-place last chance transfer spot.
“I’m not superman, I can’t drive without my great crew underneath me,” said the 15-year-old second generation driver.
Meanwhile, Pollard said the last thing he wanted to do was turn around Nemechek, because he’d risk tearing up his own equipment.
“I had to (at least) finish second, because I have to pay the bills to come back and race next week,” said Pollard. “It takes everything I’ve got”.
Even though for a while it seemed like the win would come down to young-guns Nemechek and Byron, Pollard pulled it out in typical Bubba Pollard fashion.
“You just can’t ever count that 26 car out,” said Pollard. “It’s always lurking around.”
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – ARCA CRA Super Series SpeedFest 200
-By Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Contributor