Considering the strength of Bubba Pollard and Augie Grill all season long at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, it’s fitting that the two short track standouts shared the spotlight Friday night in the Miller Lite 100, the final race of the 2011 Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series.
The Senoia, Georgia native Pollard took the lead from Chris Davidson on lap 41 and never looked back in the race that went caution-free. He scored his second Blizzard Series win of the season. Mike Garvey chased Pollard to the checkered flag in second. Just behind that pair was third-place finisher Augie Grill, who secured his first Blizzard Series Championship.
“It really has been a great year,” said the two-time Snowball Derby Champion Grill, of Hayden, Alabama. “I would’ve liked to have gotten the win here tonight. I really thought the car would’ve been better tonight than it was. Still, it’s really neat to win a championship. I’ve won one little championship since I’ve been driving, but this is really neat.”
Pollard set fast time for the Miller Lite 100, but an invert of eight after qualifying dropped him deep in the field. Luckily for him, his car was pretty strong on the outside groove from the start and he used that to work his way to the front.
“We had an opportunity there at the beginning of the race when everybody wanted to get to the bottom and we had a lot of momentum at the top,” said Pollard. “Our car turned well, so we were able to go up there. You can’t stay up there long because you’ll burn the tires off, but we were able to get by them quick enough to settle into third for a while to put ourselves in position to take the lead.”
Davidson and Garvey showed the way for much of the beginning of the race, but Pollard patiently waited to strike. When other cars began to fall off, Pollard was in position to get out front before the race’s halfway point without the aid of a caution.
“You don’t see 100 green flag laps here, ever,” added Pollard. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. I was almost expecting a caution with at least three laps to go. The car stayed the same from lap one to lap 100. It got free, but that’s part of what this racetrack. All in all, the car just drove so well.”
The win for Pollard was the 12th straight Blizzard Series win for the Grand American Race Cars chassis brand, which is owned and operated by Grill and his family. While Grill was proud that cars he and his family have built swept the Blizzard Series for a second-straight year, he would have liked to have been celebrating his championship and his brand’s success in victory lane.
“I guess I’m just more competitive than most,” said Grill. “I want to be over there in victory lane getting the big trophy, not this third-place trophy. But, our day will come and we’ve got a lot of racing still to do before the end of the season.”
Jerry Artuso followed Pollard, Garvey and Grill to the checkers, with Davidson rounding out the top five.
Saturday night, Pollard went down the road to Mobile International Speedway in Alabama, where he completed the sweep of the Miller Lite Series Super Late Model events there and locked up the 2011 Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship.
The Blizzard Series season may be complete, but Five Flags Speedway still has plenty of racing left on its schedule. On Saturday, October 8th, the Allen Turner Hyundai Pro Late Models will hold their final event of the season as a champion is crowned in the Snowflake Tune-Up 100. Then, all eyes in the short track world will be on Five Flags for the 44th Annual Snowball Derby weekend, November 30th through December 4th.
Tickets for the 44th Annual Snowball Derby are available by downloading a ticket form from the Snowball Derby website, www.snowballderby.com, or by calling the Five Flags Speedway Box Office at 850-944-8400.
For more information about Five Flags Speedway and the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series, please visit www.5flagsspeedway.com.
Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series
Five Flags Speedway
September 23, 2011
1. Bubba Pollard – Senoia, GA
2. Mike Garvey – McDonough, GA
3. Augie Grill – Hayden, AL
4. Jerry Artuso – Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
5. Chris Davidson – Pearland, TX
6. Grant Enfinger – Fairhope, AL
7. Jeff Choquette – Loxahatchee, FL
8. Logan Boyett – Pensacola, FL
9. Johanna Long – Pensacola, FL
10. Casey Smith – Austin, TX
11. David Rogers – Orlando, FL
12. Donnie Wilson – Oklahoma City, OK
13. TJ Reaid – Acworth, GA
14. DJ VanderLey – Mobile, AL
15. Scott Carlson – Pensacola, FL
16. Steven Davis – Mobile, AL
17. Jeremy Pate – Pensacola, FL
18. Thomas Praytor – Mobile, AL
19. Allen Karnes – Sharpsburg, GA
20. Michael Lance – Dacula, GA
21. Clay Alexander – Nashville, TN
22. Jerry Bohlman – Milton, FL
23. Cecil Chunn – Spring Hill, TN
24. Jimmy Garmon – Hoschton, GA
25. Stephan McCurley – Humble, TX