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Unpacking Gulf Coast Doubleheader

Mobile International Speedway (AL) has been the home of some great finishes and the Battle on the Bayou 100 was no different.  Cole Butcher rebounded from a wreck on Friday night at Five Flags to out-drag race Jake Finch to the line in the 100 lapper.  The finish was too close to call as both drivers dropped their window nets thinking they had won it.  The final margin was 0.002 which was less than the 0.008 that decided the championship race at Mobile in 2014 when Daniel Hemric beat out Augie Grill and Jeff Choquette.  Bubba Pollard finished fourth and claimed his only ASA Southern Super Series title by only four marks.  Pollard had lost the title by one the year before. 

A strange weekend for Bubba Pollard saw him leading late at Mobile, but he was in the Tony Elrod car after his primary car was damaged at Five Flags.  By leading at Mobile Pollard has now led laps in 66 SSS races and his lap leader total is 3333. 

Casey Roderick may not be winning races at this point, but his finishes are giving him a solid point lead heading to Hickory. Last year Roderick was 12th at Hickory and with the ASA National Tour guys in the mix, this could be the last big hiccup to a potential title run. 

While Jake Finch saw heartache in defeat, he did earn the $1,500 bonus put up by Mon Louie Island Marine Construction. Finch marked the third time this season a driver seeking their first win finished second in an event.  We will see if this continues at Hickory in May.  

Cole Butcher, Casey Roderick, and Jett Noland are the only three drivers who have top 10 runs in five of the six races.  What a feat it would be if all three of these drivers got to 10 top 10 runs by the season's end.  

With the victory on Friday night in the Blizzard Series / ASA Southern Super Series Stephen Nasse holds the lead in the season standings.  Surprisingly with seven wins in the series Nasse has never won the track Blizzard points title.  He’s off to a strong start and a podium finish in June could have him sitting in the catbird seat for the title.  

Jeremy Doss was able to pick up his Blizzard Series champion trophy at Five Flags Speedway on Friday night.  As for the race, it was another solid run as he posted his sixth-straight top-10 finish.  Now the chance of repeating as a champion has gone by the way after he missed the first race due to a conflicting event.  Doss was strong on Saturday as well and led laps before a late wreck took him out of contention. 

We have to give credit where credit is due. Sophomore Super Late Model driver Billy VanMeter came into the weekend having won the Hard Charger award in the last two races.  He backed it up with a solid 13th at Five Flags on the lead lap and a seventh at Mobile, a race where he led 18 laps. 

Quietly efficient was Jake Garcia this weekend.  The former Southern Super Series Champion posted a top five and two top 10s.  These are noteworthy performances as he’s making the laps count each time he is in the Super Late Model.  Gaining knowledge now could become big when big race season arrives.  

On both nights of the Gulf Coast Doubleheader, we saw the rookie win the Engine Builder Fast Time Awards.  Dawson Sutton took the honors at Five Flags on night one while Dustin Smith was the quick-time winner at Mobile. That now marks six races with six different pole winners in 2024.  It also marks 12 straight races with different fast-time award winners.  There has only been one repeat pole winner in the last 18 races. 

(Dan Vining Photo)

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