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Commentary: Mobile SRL Was a Good Time, More on Pollard v Roderick

It was an interesting, newsworthy and fun weekend on the Gulf Coast

Daniel Vining

You can’t control the weather, they say, but Larry Collins, Brian Olsen and Ricky Brooks put on the best possible show they could with all the things they could on Saturday night in the SRL National event at Mobile International Speedway.

The race ended just past halfway with Bubba Pollard ahead of Stephen Nasse, Jett Noland, Casey Rodrick and Hunter Robbins due to a thick fog that more or less stuck around the rest of the night. Could Brooks have treated the initial atmospheric thickening as the halfway break? Yes. Could he have run the SRL Sportsman race after the Super Late Models in response to the rain delay earlier in the afternoon? Yes.

Did any of that seem to matter to the fans that emptied out of the grandstands for a post-race party? Nope.

Everyone had a good time, from the largest crowd in almost a decade at the Irvington Alabama half-mile, to the racers that genuinely seem to love racing under Brooks for his approach to technical inspection and procedures.

Even Stephen Nasse, who has endured a series of public disagreements and disputes with Brooks and had seemingly stayed clear of SRL National events as a result, came away very complimentary of how the event played out on Saturday and expressed a willingness to enter another one in the future. He only went to Mobile once Southern Super Series announced it was a rain out on Thursday.


Mobile International Speedway, the home track of this website, has seen better days. The grandstands in both Turn 1 and Turn 4 are closed off due to structural concerns and the urinals do not pass any semblance of the bathroom test.

Note: Clarity on a previous version of the story. The leaseholder assumes all responsibility for facility improvements.

And despite it all, the speedway had itself a throwback night that made it easy to dream about a day where new owners come in and revitalize the track and make it capable of hosting high level short track and entertainment events on a more regular basis.

Of note, the speedway just earned the contract for the popular holiday lights shows that had been held at nearby Hank Aaron Stadium for the past two decades.

Given the proximity to Pensacola and Five Flags Speedway, Mobile is every bit the motorsports market with the same group of fans and racers that make the Florida crown jewel such a special place for the community.

It’s a shame that the said community were not ultimately treated to The Cordele – Mobile Double that both Bubba Pollard and Casey Roderick had intended to pursue this weekend.

Their rivalry, while intense for the participants, is very good for the discipline. Controversy creates cash, they say. Every short track promoter on the continent should want to have both of these top-level drivers and teams at their events this summer.

The rivalry is very much real and not fabricated on any level.

This has also been a week of tension over the flight that James Finch had arranged for Pollard and Jake Finch to use to go back and forth across both tracks this weekend. Which is all a moot point now because Cordele and Southern Super Series canceled on Thursday citing rain that actually did manifest come Saturday afternoon. With that said, there was rain in Mobile around the same time so who knows what the logistics would have ended up looking like.

But here are the details behind this feud and how it got to this point:

Pollard called out Roderick for ‘stupid’ driving during the World Series of Asphalt as a byproduct of the Anthony Campi Racing veteran’s emerging tension with Donnie Wilson Motorsports youngsters William Sawalich and Gio Ruggiero,

“There is nothing wrong with (how Sawalich) raced. The 18 (Roderick) on the other hand, that’s stupid. I was glad to see (Sawalich) win. It’s not my battle, but it was good to see those kids stick up for themselves.”

Roderick took exception to that:

“What people don’t realize. Bubba, he races every freaking weekend. The (Wilson) cars race every weekend. I don’t. I don’t have family money out here racing like they are. This is for everyone out here who races for the next race. People can say what they want to. I don’t care. I have a lot of heart and I’m racing for wins for these guys. That’s my job. I never know if I’m going to race the next weekend or not. I’m going to race like it’s the last one.”

And then came the fateful finish of the ASA STARS race at Pensacola when Pollard spun due to contact from Roderick behind him. Roderick went on to win the race. It resulted in Pollard finding Roderick in the tech shed where they needed to be pulled apart off the ground.

“They just don’t like each other,” said a prominent short track racing notable, who didn’t want to be sourced. “But you can print that. They really don’t like each other and haven’t for a while.”

Then came the ASA Southern Super Series and SRL National date conflict with Pollard teasing last Monday that he was going to do The Double.

Finch has supported Pollard this season with Phoenix Construction on his No. 26. For Cordele, the Phoenix Racing No. 51 was the owner’s championship leader after Jake Finch won the points opener at New Smyrna in February. Pollard would drive a No. 51 to secure points for Phoenix and then fly with the Finches to Mobile so he could race the No. 26.

This is where it gets complicated.

Anthony Campi is very adamant he had a deal with Finch and Pollard to be on that plane on Monday. In fact, while the two tracks worked together to make the double feasible, it was Campi that got the Super Late Model race moved to the very start of the card at Cordele, as opposed to after the Pro Late Model race.

Campi raced every Pro Late Model event there last year with Ruggiero and the veteran racer and team owner effectively called in a favor to the Sumner family he has supported for years.

He was told the deal was okayed by Pollard too. That deal appeared to turn sour when Campi and Roderick posted on Tuesday morning that they too were running the double with a graphic that included the Phoenix Construction logo.

Finch has been a long-time supporter of Roderick over the years, having backed his racing program across Graham Trucking Racing, Ronnie Sanders Racing and his own car since 2020. Jake Finch even drove for Campi in a handful of Pro Late Model races.

Campi texted Finch the graphic and had vinyl printed to put on the Roderick car at Mobile. He says he wouldn’t have gone through all that effort to get Cordele to move their Pro Late Model race after the Southern Super Series race, had the vinyl printed and the social graphic made for something that wasn’t ‘concrete.’

He has been running a successful race team and business for far too long to not make sure something was finalized before making it public.

Pollard appeared to have nixed the deal. He wasn’t going to ride on that plane with Roderick that weekend and Campi felt like everyone had gone back on their word with him.

As a result, Campi had to make efforts on Tuesday night to secure their own plane for his team and driver. It came together by that Wednesday morning and he found something that he believes could even have beat Finch and Pollard to Mobile by 15 minutes if they theoretically left at the same time.

That made Finch mad, who made an angry call to Campi that Wednesday over the entire deal, the lack of agreement over who would be on the plane and whether or not they had a deal in the first place.

It might even have been as simple as Campi and Roderick making it official first or maybe Pollard just simply wasn’t going to share that plane with someone he held a degree animus towards at that moment.

Nevertheless, The Double never happened due to the weather, and the long-awaited rematch took place on Saturday night at Mobile.

Roderick ran second to Pollard behind Nasse for most of the race until his right front severely blistered for a reason that wasn’t immediately apparent. They were hoping to get to the halfway break to take their right-side tires and make an adjustment to alleviate the problem, and potentially take the fight to Nasse and Pollard, but the fog negated that too.

Regardless, again, the rivalry is good for the discipline and the next rematch is scheduled for April 15 in the ASA Southern Super Series Rumble by the River at Montgomery Motor Speedway.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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