In the end, there were one too many cautions for Bubba Pollard in the closing stages of the Money in the Bank 150.
But misfortune for Pollard was absolution for Brian Campbell.
The 39-year-old from Battle Creek, Michigan was out-dueled on two previous restarts but the third time was the charm, beating Pollard into Turn 1 and drag-racing him down the backstretch with less than three laps remaining.
Once in clean air, Campbell pulled away and collected the biggest win of his career.
The Money in the Bank 150 has that distinction not only because it paid $20,000-to-win, but also because it came against Pollard and Kyle Busch in a three-way duel where no one hit each other and no one left with hurt feelings.
“I’ve won a lot of races at Berlin, but to race against Bubba and Kyle that hard when any of us could have won, makes me smile, regardless of who won,” Campbell said. “Bubba is the best Late Model driver in the country. Kyle is the best NASCAR driver in the country. So, to win was just awesome.”
But Campbell was also blessed with good luck, spinning from second-place when lap down Preston Peltier spun in front of the leaders with seven laps to go. This race was contested under CRA Super Series rules, meaning that Campbell would get his spot back if he was not part of the incident.
He spun to avoid the incident, so he was permitted to maintain his track position. But was he worried about flat-spotting his tires?
“I wasn’t too worried,” Campbell said. “I didn’t lock them up. I let it roll a little bit. I didn’t flat spot the tires so it’s not a big deal.”
Pollard hit the first two restarts but failed in his third attempt.
“Man, those restarts killed us,” Pollard said. “I couldn’t get a good one when I needed it the most.”
Even though, he was disappointed in the runner-up result, Pollard was also extremely proud in his personal performance. He came one position short of sweeping three big events over the span of four days after winning the Masters of the Pros 200 at Birch Run and the Border War 150 at Anderson on Friday and Saturday.
More importantly, Pollard enjoyed racing clean but aggressively with two drivers he respects in Campbell and Busch.
“These guys are just good,” Pollard said. “You have to be one top of every part of your game and that last restart just got us.”
A natural caution did not occur until Lap 95, bringing in the leaders to take their two right-side tires. Busch had led every lap up until that point. Pollard took the top spot from Busch with 35 laps to go and held off his pursuers until the pivotal series of restarts.
“We just rode the first 50 laps,” Pollard. “Tried to save our left sides. We know how this track changes as the race goes on. Man, I feel like I needed to put myself in position there, at about Lap 90 or so. I wanted the track position.”
For his part, Busch says he wishes he had more for the leaders at the end but finished about where he though he was all afternoon.
“I didn’t think we were a winning car, I thought we were a third, fourth place car and that’s what we got,” Busch said.
Ultimately, the race will be remembered for the respect shown between the three competitors. Pollard was the first to congratulate Campbell and told him he was proud. He was also visited in victory lane by Johnny VanDoorn and Terry Senneker.
The complete results can be found below.
- Brian Campbell
- Bubba Pollard
- Kyle Busch
- John VanDoorn
- Harrison Burton
- Casey Roderick
- Jeff Choquette
- Carson Hocevar
- Stewart Friesen
- Terry Senneker
- Michael Simko
- Boris Jurkovic
- Jordan Dahlke
- Preston Peltier
- Dave Lake
- Steve Dorer
- Stephen Nasse
- Aaron Hulings
- Nick Murgic
- Matt Crafton
- Hunter Jack
- Ben Welch
- Chris Koslek
- Tim DeVos
- Nate Walton
- Ben Welsh
- Lee VanDyk
- Evan Shotko
- Lauren Bush
- Kyle Jones
- Tristan VanWieringen