Pollard Wins Winter Showdownadmin
BY MIKE GRIFFITH – The Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield, CA (March 2nd, 2015) – Bubba Pollard missed his 5 p.m. flight home to Senoia, Ga. on Sunday, but he was all smiles.Winning the Spears Manufacturing Winter Showdown 250 on Sunday afternoon at Kern County Raceway Park — and the $25,000 first-place prize — made for an enjoyable detour. “We’re going to head to Vegas, see if we can’t get a flight and have some fun,” he said.
Sixteen-year old Dalton Sargeant of Boca Raton, Fla, finished second, with Derek Thorn of Bakersfield, who led 138 laps, third.Thorn sat on the pole and led all 125 laps to the halfway point break, but a restart on lap 146 proved to be the difference as Pollard got past Thorn on lap 147.
“I don’t know who it was but they started laying down oil after that restart,” said Thorn, who eventually finished third. “I thought I had a tire going down or something. The guy was running the top side and laid oil down. Then soon as (Pollard) got by me he was all over the place, too.”
A caution flew a few laps later and the race was red-flagged on lap 171 to allow the track crew to complete the clean up.
“There was oil all over the race track,” Pollard said of his pass on Thorn. “We were slipping and sliding out there and I was able to keep my car on the bottom there and I feel like that helped me out and get around him. It was going to be tough to pass him. I felt like we had a better race car and once we got out in front we had the race car capable of staying out front.”
Pollard restarted in the preferred outside line and from that point on there was no catching him.
“Once we got out front there she was a rocket ship,” Pollard said. “We were on the bottom there and I felt like once we got up front we’d be able to move up a lane where all the grip was and save our tires and equipment for a run at the end.”
Thorn fell back to fourth after the restart as Bakersfield’s David Mayhew, who ran in the top five most of the race, moved into third.But Mayhew’s day ended on the 191st lap as his engine went out.
That left the three fastest drivers all weekend — Pollard, Sargeant and Thorn — running 1-2-3.
Thirty-five cars started the race, which featured a $150,000 purse, and 11 were running on the lead lap at the finish. M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park completed 134 laps and placed 24h. Johnny White of Bakersfield finished 75 laps and placed 30th.
Pollard had clear sailing to the finish while Thorn tried one more time to squeak past Sargeant but could not.”I’m a little disappointed, I wanted more for (this team),” Thorn said. “We always strive for victory. I feel like I let them down a little bit here. I drove my heart out and tried to get them every position I could but third place is all we had at the end.”
The Sargeant-Thorn finish mirrored their finish in December at the Snowball Derby in Florida.
“We were just struggling at the end,” said Sargeant, who only started driving Super Late Models in August. “We came up one short on the biggest East Coast race and one short in the biggest West Coast race.”The only caution in the final 50 laps came with five to go, resulting in a single-file restart for a five-lap dash to the checkered.”It’s nothing new for me,” Pollard said of the late caution. “A thousand things start running through your mind. I knew I had to get a good restart and the single file restart definitely helped.”Blaine Rocha finished fourth with Preston Peltier, who is from Frazier Park but moved to North Carolina a years ago, in fifth.