IRVINGTON, AL - Strategy was the name of the game for Bubba Pollard Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama. Instead of taking advantage of a series pre-season rule change like many of his competitors did, the Senoia, GA speedster made a later pit stop that proved to be the winning plan for victory in the Southern Super Series and Miller Lite Super Late Model Series combination Mobile Lumber 125 at the Irvington, AL raceway.
Southern Super Series officials adjusted the rules regarding the lap 75 competition cautions in their 125-lap events before the 2014 season took the green flag to allow teams to take their allotted two tires at any point in the race. Previously, teams were required to take their fresh rubber during the competition yellow.
After several teams made the call to pit while under yellow for an extended caution at lap 63 Saturday night, Pollard, who was leading at the time, elected to stay out and wait for the scheduled lap-75 caution. It was a move that required a lot of confidence in his machine, but it paid off when Pollard was able to rifle back through the field after his pit stop to score the victory.
Saturday's win at Mobile completed the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Series weekend sweep on the heels of his victory in the Mountain Dew Kick Start 125 Friday night at Pensacola, Florida's Five Flags Speedway.
"We had a good racecar from the beginning," said Pollard following Saturday's victory. "We just didn't know how much to save with this tire. I just didn't know what to expect really, but man we had an awesome racecar. I had these guys working their tails off all day and we made it work. It's fun coming here and having the strategy like that that plays into it. I felt like tires were going to be the key at the end of the race and I felt like we had a good enough car to make it to the lap 75 and be able to get back through the field."
When several of the top-10 cars pitted early, Pollard was confident in his strategy, but did have some hesitations about being able to overcome the stiff competition that would be in his way to victory lane.
"I knew we had a good car," said Pollard. "But you don't want to get stuck back there behind them because you never know what they've got back there. Augie (Grill) has a good racecar and it goes through your mind. But I was confident and I was confident in our racecar and I felt like we could get the job done."
Casey Smith brought home the runner-up honors in his No. 99 Chevrolet, marking his best finish of the season thus far after swapping cars after Friday night's race at Five Flags.
"Last night at Five Flags we were fighting motor issues," explained Smith. "The car was awesome but we were having major motor problems with that other car. And then tonight I think I over drove it a little bit because my warm up lap was faster than my qualifying lap. We got a little bit tight in that first run and burned up the right front. We came in early, 10 laps before that break, and took our tires and made a bunch of changes that helped a lot.
"We weren't as good as Bubba, but we're happy with second for points. It's still not where we want to be. We used to be dominant like Bubba is here and we've still got a little bit to go for that. But we're working a little bit at a time. Second is good but we want a win."
Friday night's runner-up finisher, John Hunter Nemechek, was scored in the third position Saturday at Mobile followed by Donnie Wilson, while Mike Garvey rounded out the top-five finishers.
Earlier in the night at Mobile, John Hunter Nemechek scored his first career Southern Super Series fast time award with a lap of 16.961, the only qualifier in the 16-second bracket all evening.
Next up for the Southern Super Series will be another 125-lapper in the Yellowhammer State, the Montgomery 125 at Montgomery Motor Speedway in Montgomery, AL on Saturday night, May 10.
For ticket information and more on the Mobile 125 at Montgomery Motor Speedway, visit montgomerymotorspeedway.com.
Southern Super Series
Mobile International Speedway - Irvington, AL
Mobile Lumber and Millwork 125 - April 26, 2014
1. Bubba Pollard
2. Casey Smith
3. John Hunter Nemechek
4. Donnie Wilson
5. Mike Garvey
6. Daniel Hemric
7. Kyle Grissom
8. Jake Perkins
9. Augie Grill
10. Kyle Bryant
11. Josh Bragg
12. Will Gallaher
13. Justin South
14. Landon Cling
15. Chet Morrison
16. Hunter Robbins
17. Anderson Bowen
18. Chris Davidson
19. Logan Boyett
20. Stephen Nasse
21. Jeremy Pate
22. Allen Karnes