The No. 26 now has three wins and two runner-ups through the first three months.
This is now the I told you so phase of the Bubba Pollard comeback tour.
The past two years were full of challenging moments where the No. 26 didn’t have the speed its driver was accustomed to, and Pollard felt compelled to pull off the track, just to load up and do it all over again the next weekend.
Some called him washed up or a crybaby, but Pollard let the critics hear it in Victory Lane on Saturday night at Watermelon Capital Speedway after winning the Georgia Spring Nationals in Southern Super Series competition.
Who’s crying now, indeed?
Pollard posted the fastest time in qualifying and methodically drove through the field after a redraw placed him third but he chose to fall back as far as fifth several laps into the race. By Lap 73, he drove around Daniel Dye for the top spot and never looked back.
"We just don't give up," Pollard said. "I can't thank Port City Race Cars, their guys, my guys enough. There are a lot of people involved to make everything happen the past year.
"We've been down, and they say 'he pulls off the race track,' and we have because you can't work on it if it's not home in one piece. Everyone races differently and has their own agenda. That's what it took and I feel like our program is back where it needs to be. "
Pollard now has wins in the Red Eye 50, Speedfest and Georgia Spring Nationals to open the 2022 season. His defeats were runner-ups to Ty Majeski in the Citrus County 125 and the Rattler 125.
It looks an awful lot like Pollard at his peak over the previous decade.
Pollard took left side damage on the start when he came together with Jackson Boone and it took the left front fender and half of the side skirt off. That was the first caution of the race.
"I went to get a run on the outside of (Boone) and he kept coming," Pollard said. "I got a run to his right rear and pinched it, and luckily it just got ripped off, because I don’t know if I was going to make it with a rub."
Daniel Dye, Michael Atwell and Jett Noland all took turns leading early as Pollard began working his way towards the front.
"You have to put yourself in a good position, and I’m not going to lie, some of those guys are tough to race around," Pollard said. "They’ve got fast cars. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with them. They’re all over the race track. Just be patient, it’s all you can do.
"On that last restart, I told them, I’m going to the front, because I’m tired of dealing with the bull----. We did that and got to the lead. Good racing."
Noland and Dye finished on the podium to complete some of the best races in a Super Late Model for both drivers respectively.
"It’s a great big deal," Noland said. "I can’t thank Travis Braden (crew chief) enough for getting this car taken care of on such short notice and everyone else who is a part of it."
For Dye, it’s two straight races of what could have been, but also a sign of his continued development. He led a large number of laps in both the ARCA race at Phoenix earlier in the month and then on Saturday.
The Georgia Spring Nationals were also the first laps Dye led in a Super Late Model.
"Rewarding as in lead half the race in both of them and not win either," Dye said with a laugh. "That’s unfortunate but no, it’s always fun leading laps. It sucks when you’ve led laps and someone else besides the winner finishes ahead of you.
"Phoenix, we led a lap of laps and were good, here too, but finishes of second and third is a really good sign of everything happening right now at Ben Kennedy Racing. We struggled the past couple of years at tracks like this and these are the first laps I led that weren’t in the B Main at Nashville. It was really fun, but it got to free, but we hung onto it."
The Southern Super Series season continues on April 8-9 with a doubleheader weekend at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida
-Story by Matt Weaver / Racing America