Survival was the name of the game Saturday night in the Cottonmouth 100 at South Alabama Speedway in Opp, Alabama.
Bubba Pollard held off a charging Brandon Odom through a hash of late restarts, including a green-white-checker finish, en route to his fourth Viper Series win of the year and the 2011 Viper Series Championship by a single point.
“We have run well at South Alabama for a couple years now, and to win the title makes it even sweeter,” said the Senoia, Georgia. native.
The win was also Pollard’s 50th career Late Model win.
Pollard set quick time in qualifying with a blistering lap of 15.376 seconds, but fell victim to South Alabama Speedway’s famed random redraw by pulling the worst pill in the bucket, a seven. Pollard’s ill luck was Chris Davidson’s joy as he gained three spots from his qualifying effort when he picked the pole. Chris Serio joined Davidson on the front row.
Davidson got the early advantage and led the first 11 laps, before Mike Garvey came calling. Garvey hounded the rear deck of Davidson’s Chevrolet before giving him a bump off of turn two and taking the lead off of four.
The race would be slowed twice in the first half for spins by Charlie Gresham on lap 25 and 43.
Garvey stretched his lead to nearly one and a half seconds throughout the mid-point of the 100 lapper.
The biggest and most talked incident of the night occurred on a restart at lap 66. Garvey led Boyett to turn one before the two made contact sending Garvey spinning. Unable to avoid Garvey, Boyett’s Ford climbed across the nose of the spinning Goodson Racing Chevy, nearly turning upside down.
“I could have grabbed a rock of the top of the track at one point because I was just about vertical,” said Boyett after rebounding to finish third.
Pollard assumed the lead, never looked back, and led the rest of the way for the win and the title.
Pollard and Odom had nothing by praise for one another following the conclusion of the event
“My car got messed up some during the year somewhat, forcing me drive the 16 (of Royce Johnston) and tonight the rear end was acting up,” said Odom. “All in all we had a good year, we still have the car in one piece, but when Bubba is on, he is really tough to beat.”
“Brandon has progressed a lot through the year as a driver,” said Pollard. “We have a little friendly rivalry, and it will be fun to see how it keeps going.”
Rounding out the top five were Boyett, Justin South and Serio.
Saturday night’s event was South’s first event at South Alabama Speedway is quite a while and he came away pleased.
“We learned quite a bit tonight that will help us next weekend at Montgomery,” said South. “We have a couple of repairs to do, but we will motor on through and be fine.”
Pollard, notorious for his “points don’t matter” demeanor, couldn’t help by smile when talking about winning the Viper Championship and continuing to build on an already impressive 2011.
“The last couple of years it seems like we have done so well leading up to late season big money events (World Crown 300, Alabama 200, Lee Fields Memorial, and the Snowball Derby) and then come up short in them. We have won some 100 lappers, but it’s time for us to win some of the bigger events.”
Cottonmouth 100 Results
1.18 – Bubba Pollard 2.81 – Brandon Odom 3.11 – Logan Boyett 4.43 – Justin South 5.3 – Chris Serio 6.29 – Anderson Bowen 7.39 – Hal Martin 8.1 – Roger Adkins 9.12 – Brandon Brilliant 10.36 – Lance Blacker 11.17 – Shanky Smith 12.57 – Mason Mitchell 13.11 – Charlie Gresham 14.X2 – Dennis Reno, Jr. 15.1 – Mike Garvey 16.41 – Chris Davidson 17.45 – Dwayne Buggay