Leftovers: Sunoco Gulf Coast Series Rounds 5 & 6
New Point Leaders, Win Streaks and Elliott's Return
By Daniel Vining -Twitter @danielvining  & Ryan McCollough, Twitter: @RyanMcCollough

Bubba Pollard is known for using the high line to motor around the competition.  On Sunday in round three of the Miller Lite Series at Mobile International Speedway, Pollard used the low line.  He passed Donnie Wilson late in the race and sped to his ninth win of 2011 and seventh in a row at Mobile.  Pollard has been unstoppable at Mobile, missing only the April 10th Pro Late Model event where he was at “THE RACE” at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

“We’re pretty good at this place for right now,” said Pollard.  “It can go away just as quickly as it came.  It’s hard to win races these days, especially seven a row at one track but it sure is pretty cool right now.”


Chase Elliott visited victory lane a very impressive 13 times in 2010.  Four of those wins came at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and Mobile International Speedway (AL) in the Sunoco Gulf Coast Series.  Those strong performances culminated in Elliott winning the 2010 Gulf Coast Series Championship.  This year, Elliott’s main focus has been his graduation up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division as a newly-signed Hendrick Motorsports development driver.  Scheduling conflicts prevented the young phenom from being able to defend his Gulf Coast championship thus far in 2011, however.  Elliott finally made his return to the region last weekend, finishing second in the Print Now 100 Blizzard race at Five Flags and fourth in the Miller Lite 100 at Mobile.

“I’m looking forward to coming back,” said Elliott. “We learned a lot about how this tire combination works and just how much you have to save to be good at the end.  We’re still learning.  We’ve been out of this deal for a few months and it’s definitely bitten us.  We need just a little bit more to be the car to beat, but like I said, we’ve learned a lot and I am hoping that when we come back we’ll be where we need to be.”


Then there were two.  With Grant Enfinger leaving to run the ARCA event at Winchester on Saturday left the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship with a two-dog fight - the same guys that have won all six races.  Augie Grill's win at Five Flags pushed him up to lead the Blizzard Series.  Bubba Pollard's third win in three starts at Mobile has him leading there and the overall standings for the Gulf Coast Championship Series.

Gulf Coast Standings after Six Events

2AugieGrill     337
5MikeGarvey   222
6DarenVanderley     165
8JohannaLong 149
9T JReaid       148
11RyanCrane  134
12ThomasPraytor  128
14ClayAlexander    125
18JeffFultz       96
19AllenKarnes 87
20JerryArtuso  78
22RyanReed    73
23JoshHamner 69
24DwayneBuggay    63
24GarySullivan 63
26TravisKittleston    57
26DaleLittle     57
28DylanPresnell      53
29KenzieRuston      48
30DavidOdell   45
31WayneNiedecken Jr    42
32DonnieHamrac    31
33PaulKelley  30
34JoshBrag    29
35CaleGale    24
35DanielHemric     24
37DavidJones 21
40RonMcDonald    20


A welcomed sight to everyone at both tracks this weekend was Pro Late Model driver Donnie Hamrac.  Hamrac suffered a broken back after a vicious wreck in turn one during the last Pro Late Model race at Five Flags in June.  The hit was so hard that just about every major component of the race car was destroyed and Hamrac was rushed to the hospital after being cut out of the mangled car.  Hamrac was at the track and in good spirits, wearing a back brace, as he continues on the road to recovery.  Hamarc’s recovery could take six or seven weeks.


Allen Karnes’ luck in the last two races at Mobile International Speedway has ended just after qualifying.  In both events, Karnes has elected to remove his car from the impound area after qualifying to effect repairs.  At the second Miller Lite race of the season, the reason was in part due to damage suffered at Five Flags in a wreck the night before.  Karnes’ didn’t practice that day, and after qualifying last, wanted to continue to repair his car before the race.  The rules at that time, however, prevented him from doing so and effectively ended his night.  This weekend, the Allen Karnes race team once again found themselves pulling the car from impound after discovering a broken rear end gear after the qualifying run.  This time, and because of the previous incident, Karnes would have been allowed to start the race at the tail of the field, but the damaged rear end proved to prevent him from racing at Mobile for two events in a row.


There is an old racing adage that states “To finish first, you must first finish.”  If that is true, D.J.
VanderLey took a step towards victory lane Friday night at Pensacola. VanderLey scored his first career
Super Late Model top-10 finish, finishing 10th in the Print Now 100 on Friday.

VanderLey recounted, “We had a strong for most of the night and towards the end we just dropped.  Now we just need to work on the closing laps.”


When the word domination is mentioned in the world of racing there are thoughts of David Pearson
at Charlotte, Chip Ganassi Racing at Indianapolis, and now possibly Grand American Race Cars at
Pensacola.  A GARC chassis has won 10 Blizzard races in a row. The last non-GARC win came two years ago, when Johanna Long wheeling a Hamke Race Car, went to victory lane.  Augie Grill, “The Prince of GARC”, also extended his all time Blizzard wins lead.

Augie Grill, GARC, - June 24, 2011

Augie Grill, GARC – May 27, 2011

Bubba Pollard, GARC - March 25, 2011

Chase Elliott, GARC - September 24, 2010

Augie Grill, GARC - August 13, 2010

Augie Grill, GARC - June 25, 2010

Chase Elliott, GARC - May 28, 2010

Bubba Pollard, GARC - April 9, 2010

Augie Grill, GARC - September 25, 2009

Augie Grill, GARC - August 7, 2009


Most drivers’ preferred grove is the low line. The low line gives the driver a shorter distance to travel in
the corner and allows him/her to get the car settled, turned and pointed in the right direction off the
corner.  Bubba Pollard has found success a lane higher than most cars run.  At the Viper Series opener at South Alabama Speedway, Pollard used a high line to pass Mike Garvey for the lead late in the race, allowing him to take the checkers. Friday night at Five Flags Speedway, Pollard once again went to the high side in not only the Super Late Model race, but also the Modified feature.  Pollard rolled the top side with ease, sometimes passing up to three cars in one corner, en route to a win in the Mod race and a top five in the Print Now 100.

"I have a ton of fun running those Mod races,” said Pollard.  “It got kind of crazy behind us.  I like running up on the high side, it was a lot of fun tonight.  We ran a crate motor in the Blizzard race and tried a bunch of new stuff that didn't quite work out, but to still finish top five is pretty cool.  We put the built motor back in it for Mobile."


Korey Ruble came to Five Flags Speedway in search of a win, but not in a Late Model. The Headland,
Alabama driver was behind the wheel of William Gay’s Modified.  Ruble raced wheel-to-wheel with the
local drivers Todd Jones, Nathan Ingersoll, Brandon Howell and fellow Late Model racer Bubba Pollard throughout the event on his way to a third-place run.

Augie Grill pushed the GARC Blizzard streak to 10 in a row.  (Speed51.com Photo)
2010 Gulf Coast Champion Chase Elliott came back to race in the deep south. (Speed51.com Photo)
Grant Enfinger is third in points after missing one race. (Speed51.com Photo)
DJ VanderLey got his first top 10 in the Blizzard Series. (Speed51.com Photo)
Bubba Pollard has won four Super Late Model events in a row at Mobile. (Speed51.com Photo)