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Bubba Pollard opens 2020 with Speedfest pole

Georgia’s favored short track son will lead 27 cars to green at Watermelon Capital

Scott Jeffers

The 2020 Super Late Model season began as many races end — with Bubba Pollard atop the scoring pylon.

The de facto face of the discipline paced a field of 27 cars with a fast time of 15.875 in time trials. As a result, Pollard will lead the field to green in front of youngsters Corey Heim, Jake Garcia and Dawson Fletcher behind him.

Pollard is seeking his second Speedfest victory following his first in 2016.

“This helps,” Pollard said. “Track position here is critical. Putting yourself in position. The controlled pit stops and taking two tires at a time will be a different mix.

“You have to be smart. I think we have a good race car. We’ve had a good race car in the past here and didn’t make good decisions. That’s what we have to do today is make the rights ones. It’s tough sometimes. Hopefully we can control the race. Hopefully we can be on the same sequence as everyone else and be in position.”

READ MORE: Jeremy Pate is the underdog story of 2020 to follow

Pollard hasn’t won since taking the inaugural Speed 51 Super Select all-star race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana in September.

He’s arguably had the best car here several times over the past couple of years, but has been involved in incidents, usually not of his making.

“The restarts, because of how the track is here, is usually tough,” Pollard said. “The way CRA runs the restart boxes are tough. It’s tricky. You have to stay on top of things, be smart, and learn throughout the day, where you need to be, top to bottom.

“The groove widens out, and eventually, you got to learn how to run top-to-bottom. It should be fun.”

RELATED: Connor Okrzesik returns to Cordele seeking three-peat

The rest of the top-10 qualifiers include defending winner Connor Okrzesik, Daniel Dye, Brian Campbell, Hudson Halder, Travis Braden and Willie Allen.

Stephen Nasse initially qualified 20th but pulled his car out of impound to make some changes since it qualified so poorly. This race marks the first time he had raced in a Rowdy Manufacturing chassis and his Jett Motorsports team is still establishing a notebook with the car.

The 200 lap main event follows a 125-lap Pro Late Model feature with both races receiving a $19.99 Speed51.com PPV stream.

The complete starting lineup can be found below.

  1. Bubba Pollard
  2. Corey Heim
  3. Jake Garcia
  4. Dawson Fletcher
  5. Connor Okrzesik
  6. Daniel Dye
  7. Brian Campbell
  8. Hudson Halder
  9. Travis Braden
  10. Willie Allen
  11. Gabe Sommers
  12. Jack Dossey III
  13. Jeremy Pate
  14. Kyle Plott
  15. Brandon Jones
  16. Tyler Roahrih
  17. Eric White
  18. Steve Dorer
  19. Kyle Sieg
  20. Nicholas Naugle
  21. Shelton Clay
  22. Jeff Fultz
  23. Greg Van Alst
  24. David Hodges
  25. John Coffman
  26. Jeff Firestine
  27. Stephen Nasse

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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 is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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