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Bubba Pollard wins CARS Tour Hickory Round 2 against Matthew Craig

Bubba Pollard hasn’t forgotten, but he didn’t act, at least not on Saturday at Hickory Motor Speedway. Pollard captured the win in the CARS Tour RACE FACE TEL-MED 150 at the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars but not without contact on the last lap between himself and old rival Matthew Craig. It took all of […]

Bubba Pollard hasn’t forgotten, but he didn’t act, at least not on Saturday at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Pollard captured the win in the CARS Tour RACE FACE TEL-MED 150 at the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars but not without contact on the last lap between himself and old rival Matthew Craig.

It took all of three laps for Craig to march from the fourth starting position to the lead. He would hold it until the final corner of the final lap. Pollard started third but quickly faded through the field and was running as far back as eighth.

But much of the plan for Pollard was tire conservation and the No. 26 came to life and was running second to Craig on the final restart with 51 laps to go.

At the time, both Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers — Chandler Smith and Sammy Smith — were right behind the old rivals. Both youngsters were told to give Craig and Pollard space on the restart because they have history.

That history didn’t manifest itself until the final lap when Pollard finally began to close the distance and got under Craig at the white flag. Craig pinched Pollard tight but Pollard wasn’t going to give whatever space was there between them,

They touched and Craig spun out of Turn 4, with Pollard taking the checkered flag.

“I race Matt more aggressive now than ever,” Pollard said. “I’m not going to back down from him and I’m not going to give him an inch because he doesn’t deserve an inch. I raced him smart, but I didn’t race him dirty. I didn’t tag him from the back. I waited until the last lap and I was able to get a run on him.”

The duo have history that dates back to the 2018 Greenville Pickens Meltdown when Pollard crashed hard off the nose of Craig. It completely destroyed a new car and Pollard was slow to forget it. The two had several near incidents over the next year, culminating in Craig defeating Pollard head to head at Hickory in the Throwback 276 last August.

Jeff Craig, Matthew’s father, gave Pollard the middle finger during the cool down lap and it resulted in a fist fight between the two.

In this case, the younger Craig held no animosity towards Pollard. It was simply hard racing.

“I got a little free off of (Turn 2) on the last lap and I was trying to grab that little bit of extra throttle and I messed up,” Craig said. “I was out of control on the whole back straightaway, but that was a good race. We won the battle at the Throwback 276 last year and Bubba won the battle today, so that was good, hard racing.”

Chandler Smith drove under Craig to take second, but Craig was able to rally back to the line in third after building a huge lead over the rest of the field.

The Super Late Models of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour will return to action on July 4 for a grand prize of $20,000 in the Thomas Automotive American Freedom 200 at Jennerstown Speedway.

The results from Hickory can be found below.

  1. Bubba Pollard
  2. Chandler Smith
  3. Matt Craig
  4. Carson Kvapil
  5. Kodie Conner
  6. Nolan Pope
  7. Sammy Smith
  8. Trevor Noles
  9. Jake Garcia
  10. Jake Crum
  11. Harrison Halder
  12. Hudson Halder (-1 lap)
  13. Jeff Batten (-1 lap)
  14. Justin Crider (-1 lap)
  15. Jeremy Barclay (-3 laps)
  16. Tyler Church (DNF)

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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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