One of the more unique Deep South Super Late Model races of the season will take place on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
A fixture in the upper Midwest, the heat race format first introduced for one event last July for the Southern Super Series at Pensacola will get a second green light.
It’s the Summer Sizzler 75.
Part of the regional Southern Super Series schedule, the four races at Pensacola are christened the Blizzard Series, the build-up to the annual Snowball Derby. These races are typically between 100 and 150 laps, the starting lineups determined by single car time trials, but this race introduced something entirely different.
The main event for Friday night is 75 laps — the starting lineup instead determined by a group of four heat races earlier the afternoon. The starting lineup for the 10 lap heat races are set by a blind draw.
Southern Super Series mainstay Casey Roderick finished second in the event last season and enjoys the idea of mixing up the usual program.
“I think it adds some excitement to it,” Roderick said in a Southern Super Series pre-race post written by Speed51.com who says it isn’t a press release despite it being posted to the official league website in the usual fashion of series PR. “I think this will mix it up a little bit.“You might take a chance at tearing your stuff up before the feature race but it adds a little excitement to everything and mixes up where everybody’s at.
“When we did it last year, I had to start 12th because I finished third or fourth in my heat race. Some of these cars are better on a short run and others are better on a long run, so you have to get your act together to have a shot at it.”
The expected entrants may grow before the green flags on Friday, but Pensacola appears to have drawn a really competitive field the night before a CARS Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina and with the Dixieland 250 looming for the Midwest Tour on Tuesday night Wisconsin International Raceway.
Southern Super Series points leader and all-time Blizzard Series wins leader Bubba Pollard is in attendance. With his victory in the second Rowdy Energy Twin 100 last month, Pollard reached 26 wins in 76 SSS starts and 21 at Five Flags in 49 Blizzard Series appearances. He has also won at least one Blizzard Series race in 13 consecutive seasons.
Hunter Robbins led 64 laps in the first Rowdy Energy Twin 100, the first laps he has led since 2015 following a stint as a NASCAR engineer with Kyle Busch Motorsports. He hasn’t won a Super Late Model race at Pensacola since 2007.
Stephen Nasse is back in the Southern Super Series after taking the Rumble at the River 125 off earlier this month to compete in the Slinger Nationals and Redbud 400 that week. Texas driver Kayden Honeycutt will drive for Donnie Wilson in the No. 2.
- Michael House
- Bubba Pollard
- Stephen Nasse
- Willie Allen
- Hunter Robbins
- Chris Davidson
- Connor Okrzesik
- Jeremy Pate
- Daniel Dye
- Kyle Plott
- Boris Jurkovic
- Kyle McCallum
- Logan Bearden
- Jake Garcia
- Casey Roderick
- Kyle Bryant
- Jett Noland
- Bob Lyon
- John DeAngelis
- Hudson Halder
- Kaden Honeycut
The Summer Sizzler 75 will be the fifth Southern Super Series race of the season following the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway, the Rowdy Energy Twin 100s at Pensacola and the Rumble by the River 125 at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
Bubba Pollard famously lost the inaugural championship t0 Daniel Hemric in 2013 but outdueled the now popular NASCAR regular in 2014. He hasn’t raced full-time in the series ever since, instead opting to travel ‘true outlaw’ style all over the country, while occasionally appearing in his dirt Crate Late Model back home in Central Georgia.
If Pollard continues to race for the championship, it will be a tough path for anyone else to overcome, but that could change depending on how the rest of the season shakes out.
Here’s the standings entering Pensacola.
- Bubba Pollard
- Jeremy Pate -25
- Jake Garcia -45
- Connor Okrzesik -56
- Stephen Nasse -63
- Hunter Robbins -68
- Jackson Boone -78
- Daniel Dye -92
- Casey Roderick -120
- Logan Bearden -120
Pollard has been enticed by a new loyalty program for the 2020 season that pays an additional $5,000 for winning a Southern Super Series race as long as that driver attempted the previous race on the schedule. It’s called ‘Double Down in the Next Town’ and has been claimed by Nasse at Pensacola for entering South Alabama. Pollard claimed it twice for winning the second Pensacola doubleheader and again at Montgomery for participating in the second Pensacola doubleheader.
Blizzard Series points are important too. The Champion gets a provisional spot in the Snowball Derby. If the champion qualifies in on time, then the next person in points is in line for the provisional up to the 10th place finisher.
After two Blizzard Series races, here’s the points for the provisional.
- Bubba Pollard
- Stephen Nasse -4
- Jeremy Pate -6
- Connor Okrzesik -14
- Hunter Robbins -18
- Willie Allen -21
- Logan Bearden -32
- John DeAngelis -36
- Boris Jurkovic -38
- Kodie Conner -46
STRAIGHT CASH HOMIE
With the aforementioned ‘Double Down at the Next Town’ program in effect, all drivers who competed in the Rumble by the River 125 at Montgomery Motor Speedway will be eligible for a $5,000 bonus, in addition to the base winner’s purse of $5,000, if he can win the Summer Sizzler 75.
In addition, Phoenix Construction has once again offered a $5,000 bonus. During the Rowdy Energy Twin 100s weekend at Five Flags, Phoenix offered a $5,000 for the driver with the best average finish across the two 100-lap Blizzard Series events.
This time, Phoenix Construction will offer a $5,000 bonus to the winner, as long as the winner finishes within the top four positions in his heat race.
“We’re very fortunate to have a guy like James Finch involved in our sport,” said Five Flags Speedway promoter Tim Bryant in a Southern Super Series pre-race post written by Speed51.com who says it isn’t a press release despite it being posted to the official league website in the usual fashion of series PR. “While he occasionally lends support to individual drivers, at the end of the day he is very passionate about short track racing and wants to play a role in helping it thrive.”
As a result, it is possible for a driver to claim $15,000 on Friday night.
The Summer Sizzler 75 will air on Speed51.com for subscribers to the website’s premium service.