Bubba Pollard earned the first Super Late Model trophy of 2015, winning the season-opening Red Eye 100 on Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
It was a special win on several fronts for Pollard as it was the 80th Late Model victory of his career and his first at New Smyrna — a fact not lost on the defending Southern Super Series champion in Victory Lane.
“That’s pretty cool,” Pollard said. “It means a lot coming down here and winning at a race track we’ve never won at. We’ve been good, we’ve had cars capable of winning … we’ve worked hard for this and all the guys who help me out also worked hard for this. That’s pretty special to us.”
Pollard previously made a handful of trips to the track located just 30 minutes south of Daytona International Speedway but was never able to put a complete race together there until Saturday night.
He has contended in the World Series of Asphalt held each February and finished fifth in the Florida Governor’s Cup in November, using that experience to defeat a 24-car field in the Red Eye.
Pollard posted the second-fastest time in qualifying behind Daniel Keene Jr., just missing out on the pole by one-thousands of a second. The results of qualifying were ultimately negated by the invert as Keene rolled an eight, placing he and Pollard well behind the leaders at the start.
Pollard methodically worked his way through the top half of the field, passing Bobby Good for the lead on a restart with 23 laps remaining. Good would get one more shot at Pollard on a restart with 11 to go but Pollard simply drove away from the outside line, never looking back.
“The tires cooled off there and that tightened the car up,” Pollard said. “It allowed me to get up off the corner. I knew I could get a good run on him restarting on the outside and as long as I could clear him off (Turn) 2, I could win the race there.”
And he did.
Good was able to hold on to second by the finish, followed by Keene, Chad Pierce, Spencer Davis, Joe Boyd, Anthony Campu, Derek Griffith, Anthony Sergi and Stephen Nasse.
The restarts benefitted Pollard but hampered Good, who said his car was set-up for longer runs and on the resulting cooler tires.
“To be honest, I wasn’t sure how the car was going to react after the caution,” Good said. “We just didn’t have a short-run car. We prepared the whole week for a long run. We had the right car.
“We just didn’t have the right caution periods.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter finished 18th. Defending race winner Travis Cope qualified fourth but struggled all night and finished 22nd. ARCA Racing Series driver and hometown favorite Michael Lira brought up the rear of the field after making contact with Nasse early in the race, puncturing his radiator in the process.
The complete results of the Red Eye 100 can be found below.
- Bubba Pollard
- Bobby Good
- Daniel Keene, Jr.
- Chad Pierce
- Spencer Davis
- Joe Boyd
- Anthony Campi
- Derek Griffith
- Anthony Sergi
- Stephen Nasse
- Clay Jones
- Gus Dean
- Rich Clouser
- Michael Atwell
- David Rogers
- David Green
- Matt Craig
- Joey Coulter
- Jerry Artuso
- Kevyn Terry
- Anthony Cataldi
- Travis Cope
- Brad Bowman
- Michael Lira