Elliott Wins Pro Rattler 100 After Last Lap Pass
Chase Elliott snuck by Bubba Pollard on the final lap of the Pro Late Model race to win the nightcap at South Alabama Speedway. It was no surprise to see Elliott get the job done as his car had been the best all night. Pollard got a good restart after the final yellow, but Elliott forged ahead in the final lap. For Elliott it was his fourth top five finish of the season, and third win in four starts.
Trip to the Penalty Box Cost Elliott Rattler 250
Chase Elliott, Grant Enfinger and Bubba Pollard staged a war for the Rattler 250 and the bomb went off on lap 237. As Enfinger held the lead, Elliott was in his tires track when Pollard ran them down. Pollard went high to take second and pulled even with leader Enfinger. Elliott then peaked to the inside, making Enfinger became the meat in the sandwich. Elliott made contact with Enfinger, thus hitting Pollard and sending him for a spin and into the turn four wall. Elliott was send to the rear for causing the caution.
"It was just a bad call," said Elliott, who ended up fifth. "I think we should have been in victory lane. It is what it is, we can't do nothing about it now. We have been a part of bad calls in the past. Can't do nothing but move on."
Pollard, who was sustained the most damage of all involved, felt differently about the call.
"It was late in the race and you have to go for it," said Pollard. "I figured it was a racing deal. We were all racing hard for the win. It happened so fast that I am not sure what the right call would have been. It definitely is a hard call to make."
Enfinger was the biggest benefactor in the call and won the race.
"I don't blame Chase (Elliott) at all," said Enfinger. "He made a move on the flat and came up into me and wrecked Bubba (Pollard) in the process. That's the rule, the CRA rule, and that's what they said before the race. He didn't mean to do it, he had a better car and was just looking to bump me out of the way."
Rattler Stock Up in 2011
67 cars answered the bell for the 2011 version of the Rattler weekend. Just one year ago, only 16 cars took the green flag for the 250 lap Super Late Model show and this year was nearly doubled with 28 taking the green. Pro Late Model attendance was up two with 37 total cars taking part in the race with 30 starting the main event.
Pollard Snake Bit, Twice
Bubba Pollard know a thing or two about Rattlesnakes as he has won just about every event at South Alabama Speedway in a Late Model. Those events come with names like the Sidewinder, The Canebrake and others. Pollard found himself snake bit after both the Pro and Super events.
While going for the lead in the Super race with 13 laps to go a chain reaction of three-wide racing shot him into the wall in turn four.
Hours later Pollard got the lead on a late restart in the Pro Late Model race, only to see Chase Elliott take it back in the final two corners of the event.
"It seems like we can get close, but we can't seal the deal," said Pollard who has three-second place finishes in five starts this season. "We'll do some homework and come back in a few weeks."
Wilson Keeps Knocking on That Door
When the floodgates open for Donnie Wilson, look out. The Oklahoma City driver spent all season chasing that a win and had nothing to show for it other than lots of laps led, a few poles and a runner-up finish in the Snowball Derby. 2011 will be different, Wilson hopes, but a strong second-place run is not a bad way to start the year.
"I'll take finishing second each week," said Wilson after chasing Grant Enfinger under the checkered flag at South Alabama. "We had a crazy day with a few spins, so to end up second is almost like a win. We are close to getting it."
Wilson will head to Five Flags Speedway in a few weeks for the opening race of the 2011 Blizzard Series. He was fourth in points at Five Flags in 2010.
Kenzie Ruston, Logan Boyett, Brandon Brilliant All Ok After Wild Wreck
In a flash, several Pro Late Model cars were dashed into a pile of rubble on the home stretch at South Alabama Speedway. Contact between Max Gresham and Kenzie Ruston set off a huge chain reaction that sent one car into the catch fence.
Logan Boyett was the first driver we caught up with after the ride, he was very upset once he got out of the car. His frustration was mostly for his wrecked racecar.
"I am pretty torn up about it," said Logan Boyett. "We can get the car fixed. It's only the front half. We come off four and I got clear and I saw someone launch up into the fence and then it was all sparks."
Kenzie Ruston took a hard shot into the outside wall, but was able to get out after the wreck. Early reports from teams and drivers had us believing she had climbed the wall and got into the fence.
"We were coming from the back and I got together with the 7-11 and it was just one of those racing deals," said Ruston. "I don't remember much other then hitting the wall and then the brakes."
After checking with all the drivers we found out Brandon Brilliant was the one who was playing Top Gun at the flag stand.
"It looked like the 39 car (Ruston) got underneath Max Gresham coming out of turn four and he just pinched her pretty hard. From my seat it looked like he come down on her," said Brilliant. "They got together and once they started wrecking I got hit from the back and then I was looking at the grandstand. It’s a cold night, there’s not too many people left in the grandstands but I got to see every one of their faces so it was an interesting ride."
Scotty Ellis was another driver who got tangled up in the mess on the straightaway. Ellis just had nowhere to go.
“Just everybody checked up in front of us and couldn’t get slowed down quick enough," said Ellis "We piled in there with it. I think two cars got together in front of us and got sideways and it was just over from there. Hard racing kind of early but I guess it happens.”
Tony Clark, a teammate to Bubba Pollard, also found a piece of the wreck.
“I wasn’t really involved, said Clark. "It was a wreck in front of me and then my spotter said, 'Go low.' I went low and then Logan (Boyett) was right in front of me and he started to go low too. Ellis came right in front of both of us and both of us ran right into him."
Gresham managed to repair the car and get back out to finish sixth. After the race we got his take on the incident.
"It looked like someone missed a shift in front of me and I had slowed down and then I got rear ended and it just pushed me into it," said Gresham. "I feel bad for Kenzie and the whole situation. I didn’t know she was that low, I didn’t know she was that far underneath me and I guess it’s a learning thing for both of us. I hate it for her but it’s all a learning thing and I definitely learned something from tonight.
Fultz Rebounds to Finish on the Podium
Defending Rattler 250 champion Jeff Fultz made up two laps to finish third on Sunday, but he still was not happy with his car at the end of the day. Major issues on the rear tires left them a sitting duck just before the 200 lap mark. Many where shocked to see the 67 on the board in the closing laps at South Alabama.
"We tried something in the rear end and it bit us," said Fultz. "The tires went crazy on us I got so loose I lost two laps. Stagger and our rear-end hurt, us but we still got a good run."
Gale Grabs at Top 10 in the Rattler 250
Deep south favorite Cale Gale has been running a lot more in the Super Late Model ranks before he gets back to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in a few weeks. Gale has been full of some track-record-setting speed in his recent events, but the balance into consistency is now just starting to take form again. Gale finished eighth at the Rattler 250.
"We always seem to be lacking in the race just a bit," said Gale. "Jamie Rouleau came over and helped us this week and that made us better. The starts are killing me, for some reason we are struggling on cold tires everywhere we go."
Blaney Back to Business
Defending CRA Southern Six Pack Champion Ryan Blaney seemed to get the shoes on the right feet with new crew chief Shane Tesch as they overcame a one lap qualifying run to contend for the win in the final quarter of the Rattler 250. Blaney will now turn his focus to the first PASS South event at Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) in a few weeks.
Ecoff off to a Nice Start in 2011
Damon Ecoff was a CRA regular in 2010 and he's looking to have as stronger presence in 2011. After finishing 23rd in points a year ago, Ecoff is ready to return to form after finishing 13th in points in 2009. This year started out with the team's first trip to the Rattler where they posted a ninth-place finish after starting 25th.
"I think I improved overall," said Ecoff. "I’m happy I finished. I think we’re going to take it (a new car) to Winchester. I think my next race is at Anderson Speedway for the CRA Opener. We are competing for points this year so it's nice to finish in the top 10 the first time out.”
Grill Has Unusual day at the Rattler
After winning both poles for the events on Sunday it would have been smart money to pick Augie Grill to win. He led at times in both races, but three separate spins or wrecks sidelined him in the Super Late Model show and he didn't have the mustard to keep up with Pollard and Elliott in the Pro race.
"It was a disappointing day for us," said Grill. "We led both races, but didn't have anything to show for it. The only good thing about the day is that company did well today."
Grill and his dad Frankie built the race-winning car in the Super Late Model show and the top three cars in the Pro Late Model show.
Hotshoe Hemric Stays Hot With a Fifth
Fresh off the New Smyrna Speedweeks where he got his first Late Model win, Daniel Hemric was right back at it in the Rattler Pro race. Hemric continued to show signs of growth as he battled with the best on a track he had never seen. Right up until a late restart, he was in contention for a win.
"I just got the rights in the junk and slid up and tagged the wall," said Hemric. "We were right in the mix and ended up fifth. I guess it's not that bad of a problem if that's a bad night for us."
VanMeter Looks Ahead to Racing With Son
Eddie VanMeter didn't have the best finish to his first Rattler 250, but he is not going to let it bother his plans for the 2011 season. After being taken out of the race in a wreck with 25 laps to go VanMeter watch the finish thinking of what's to come.
"I would have much rather been having this conversation on the frontstretch but, we came down here to have fun," said VanMeter. We are going to run as many races as we can. We're also going to run my son in the CRA Sportsman and the CRA Street Stocks so that’s kind of our main focus now. We’ll definitely come back to this one someday."
Davidson Ends Long Day With Top Five In Pro Race
Chris Davidson was one of several drivers who was doing double duty at South Alabama Speedway (AL). He was a factor in the Super race until a late race restart ended their day early. The former Alabama 200 winner gathered himself back up and put his Pro Late Model into the top five in thfinal rundown to salvage a long day of racing.
Now It's on To The East
Georgia drivers Chase Elliott and Max Gresham both had strong runs in the Pro Rattler 100, Elliott went to victory lane and Gresham rebounded from a wreck to finish sixth. Both Peach State youngsters will head to Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) for the first race of the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race of the season. Earlier during Rattler week, Ryan Blaney announced that he would be making two East Series starts later this year at Richmond and Iowa.