Bubba Pollard was a corner away from notching his second big Super Late Model victory of the week, but a caution gave Steven Wallace new life and he capitalized.
Wallace took advantage of a green-white-checkered and moved Pollard out of the way on the ensuing restart to win the CARS Tour Mid-Atlantic Classic on Saturday night at the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, North Carolina.
Pollard chose his customary high side for the restart and Wallace drifted up the corner in Turn 1 to forcibly take the lead. By time Pollard righted the ship, he had fallen to fourth behind Wallace, Matt Craig and Cole Rouse.
Despite not winning either of the first two NASCAR style segments, Wallace had one of the fastest cars on the track, running no lower than fifth. Per his reputation, Wallace was aggressive when he needed to be, door slamming Tate Fogleman on Lap 110 to take his first lead of the night.
From there, it was a back-and-forth battle with Pollard.
The recently-crowned Slinger Nationals champion took the lead on Lap 125 and held the spot until the final caution for a last-lap incident between Lucas Jones and Kodie Connor. Wallace jumped at the opportunity and stole one from Pollard.
“It was just wild,” Wallace said. “It’s just short track racing. I went into Turn 1 and we touched doors a little bit, but it wasn’t like a big beating-and-banging thing. I think the world of Bubba, me and him always race good. Just good hard racing. That’s really all I can say about it.”
Wallace said he was expecting a caution, but didn’t think it fall on the final corner of the originally scheduled distance.
“I was kind of just chilling, riding a little bit,” Wallace said. “I was going pretty hard but not 100 percent. I would say about 95 percent because I knew there would or could be a little bit of a caution. It’s just a tough race. I’ve got a couple of issues with a couple of these younger kids.
“They ran all over me, tore the body all to hell, the Rouse kid and Lessard. But look, Pollard would do the same thing to win $10,000. Sometimes you’re on the winning end and sometimes you’re on the losing end, but I didn’t go down there and try to spin him out or anything like that.”
After changing four tires between segments two and three, Wallace’s team then swapped the positions of the tires, adjusting the stagger to improve grip on his No. 66 Super Late Model. The move worked as he surged forward, taking second-place in a daring three-wide up the middle pass.
“The segments actually was kind of cool,” Wallace said. “It gave everybody a good chance to improve their cars and work on them. If the thing had went green the whole time, I wouldn’t have won the race because I didn’t have as good of a car as I needed to. And we were able to come down pit road and work on the car which was exciting.”
Pollard dominated most the race, winning two of the first three segments. This gave him the lead entering the fourth, and final segment, a 15-lap run to the finish.
“That’s part of racing,” Pollard said. “That’s short track racing. He beat me at the end and that’s a part of racing. It sucks but it’s a part of racing. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. There ain’t nothing else for the fans to come see. He out drove me at the end. The fastest car doesn’t always win the race, and that’s what makes short track racing great.”
The complete results can be found below.
- Steven Wallace
- Matt Craig
- Cole Rouse
- Spencer Davis
- Bubba Pollard
- Tate Fogleman
- Chase Purdy
- Matt Wallace
- Raphael Lessard
- Jeff Batten
- Nolan Pope
- Christopher Bell
- Mike Speeney
- Lucas Jones
- Kodie Connor
- Trevor Noles
- Brandon Setzer
- Stephen Nasse
- Bradley McCaskill
- Jody Measmer
- Jared Irvan
STS’ Matt Weaver contributed to this report