When it comes to southern Super Late Model racing, Speedfest on Saturday afternoon was as good as it gets.
The Big Three put on a show.
Simply put, Pollard has had enough of Nasse and their repetitive conflicts over the years. Unapologetically himself, Nasse is resolute and does not plan to change his approach whatsoever. Roderick has spent just as much time fighting for his career as he has fighting the competition over the past calendar year.
And for an afternoon in Cordele, Georgia, each of those narratives intersected to create just as many could have been storylines as those that actually happened.
Pollard won, but it required forcing Nasse into a three-wide situation when the latter tried to use a lapped car as a pick to delay the inevitable. After what happened at the end of the Snowball Derby, Pollard wasn’t having any of it and nudged his way into Nasse and to the lead with 15 laps to go.
“I ain’t taking shit off no body,” Pollard said. “I’m done …They can say what they want to about me, but I work on my own stuff and pay my own bills. I can do what I want and when I knock the fenders off it, I fix it myself.
“I don’t take it to the chassis manufacture and have them rebuild it. I race people how they race me. I give and take a lot with a lot of guys but I’m going to start doing whatever it takes to run up front and run good, and if I make enemies, I’ll get it back.”
In real time, spotter Andrea Pollard told her brother to be patient and that he had time.
Bubba had no interest in showing Nasse any type of regard and simply forged his own path forward. Andrea keyed-up over the radio, shouting something that is best articulated as ahhhhh, knowing exactly what happened six weeks ago in Pensacola.
Ultimately, nothing more happened but everyone knew what could have happened in a situation like that.
Earlier in that final green flag run, Roderick took Nasse and Jake Finch three-wide to gain track position over the best car on the track in a ultimately failed attempt to gain decisive track position. It ticked Pollard off believing there was no excuse to race that way with so many laps still to go.
That is some leftover tension from last spring when Pollard and Roderick traded barbs during the World Series of Asphalt and then traded fisticuffs after the inaugural ASA STARS race at Pensacola. Their relationship ain’t much better than the one Pollard and Nasse share right now.
But Roderick is also racing for his very career right now.
He was very much in the ASA championship mix over the summer when the funding for his ride went away and he sat out the remaining seven months … including that Snowball Derby.
Roderick doesn’t even know when he will race again after this weekend. This was just a one-off and he contends for wins every time he gets behind the wheel of a race car. From his standpoint, Pollard and Nasse are just obstacles in the way of generating enough positive headlines to secure funding to keep racing.
“This is all I’ve ever known,” he says.
All told, no matter which of The Big Three is your personal favorite, they all make this discipline great in the Southeast. They are each Southern Super Series champions and in a perfect world, all three would represent this region in a national championship battle against the likes of Ty Majeski and Cole Butcher this season.
Get Derek Thorn in a full-time ride and that series would be the greatest freaking show in professional motorsports.
In an era in which the discipline has been taken over by no shortage of teenagers using he platform as a stepping stone on their way to NASCAR, short track racing is very fortunate to have Pollard, Nasse and Roderick.
That they want so badly to beat each other on the track every week, and occasionally beat-up each other off the track, is a blessing for anyone who loves Super Late Models.
Nasse said on Saturday night that he hates finishing second … but really hates when he loses to Bubba.
The rivalry, tension and drive is so palpable and they race each other accordingly. They aren’t afraid to talk about how they feel about each other either.
“We did a little bit of rubbing but it’s just hard racing,” Nasse said. “I’m not going to lay over when I’m in the lead. I’m going to race hard. We rubbed fenders but nothing too serious and we both have race cars we can work on to take to the next race.
“I enjoy this when we’re both running good.”
These are three veteran drivers who aren’t racing on Sundays but still want to do this all year and entertain us in the process.
You look for their names on the entry lists every week and they dictate whether you buy a ticket or watch on Racing America. And when all three are together, like they were over the weekend at Watermelon Capital Speedway, magic happens.
The Big Three of the South is everything great about Super Late Model racing.