A week before sharing a headline for their controversial confrontation during Speedfest at Watermelon Capital Speedway, Bubba Pollard and Stephen Nasse shared a test session for a different Georgia short track narrative.
The two Super Late Model superstars were the first to turn laps at Gresham Motorsports Park since autumn 2014. They were selected to turn laps in advance of a May 17 main event, which will see the Southern Super Series and CARS Tour co-headline a revival for the venerable half-mile.
The track they tested, due to six years of weathering and a lack of rubber, was dramatically different than the one they last raced.
“I think it’s going to come back pretty quick, honestly,” Nasse told Short Track Scene before Speedfest. “The way it is right now with the rocks being so visible and so exposed, that’s going to eat away at the rubber pretty quick. It’s definitely not going to be friendly on the tire bill. I think we’re going to wear them out pretty quickly. I think we’ll slick it off over a weekend though.”
“What I was saying to some other people, everyone is going to hug the bottom at first. Once that bottom rubbers up, it’s going to lose grip. Then you’re going to see people move up and then move up. There was one point that we were running pretty close to the wall up there.
“That’s going to be fun racing that first time because you’re going to see someone step out halfway through the race trying to find grip. As long as they get the surface cleaned up, that’s going to be great racing.”
And to his point, depending on weather conditions, Gresham would run like a dirt track with several lanes developing throughout the course of a weekend.
It was one of the most weather sensitive short tracks in the Deep South.
“Even with just me and Stephen out there, it started to turn black pretty quickly,” Pollard said. “You get cars out there and I don’t know if it will be as wide as it used to be at first, but maybe they can spray the top and encourage us to move around on that first weekend.”
More than anything else, both winners are just looking forward to racing at a track that both view as a kind of second home.
“It was awesome, it really was,” Pollard said. “To see the work that was put into that place, and then it shut down, was really disheartening. So, to get to put the first couple of laps back on it was really cool. Mr. Jim Gresham is such a great guy. I hope it gets them excited and gets them motivated because it has a lot of people in that area excited.
“Once upon a time, this was a hot place for racing between Lanier, Senoia and Gresham. Hopefully we can get that back going again.”
Nasse raced Super Late Models, Pro Late Models and even a K&N Pro Series car at the track over the past decade.
“It was actually a really good feeling pulling back in there for the first time in six years,” Nasse said. “I can’t believe I’ve been doing this that long. I’ve been to several World Crowns. I think it looked cool being a little overgrown. It gave it this kind of rustic look. Once they clean it up, it’s going to look great and it should be a packed house. I hope so. Fans need to go support a place like that. That’s why tracks go away — when fans take them for granted.”