History was made on Saturday night as Augie Grill scored a victory in the inaugural Southern Super Series race at Mobile International Speedway. Bubba Pollard, Steve Buttrick and Jayme Corry also picked up trophies during a cool May night in the biggest weekend in motorsports.
Miller Lite Super Late Models
In winning the Miller Lite 125 on Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway, Augie Grill earned not only his second Southern Super Series victory of the season but also redemption after a dreadful night at Five Flags Speedway on Friday night.
Grill took advantage of a second half invert that gave him the lead on lap 75 and he never looked back, leading the final 50 laps despite a valiant effort from John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Benjamin and a race-dominant Bubba Pollard.
“This one feels really good,” Grill said. “I’ve won races in Montgomery in the last couple of years with pretty good repetition. But I hadn’t won a super race here in quite some time or really had a really good car. And tonight we had a really good car, and I’m just happy it was that good on this night, and we were able to win the race.”
For the second Super Series event in a row, Pollard scored the pole, led laps but was ultimately unable to earn the top spot on the podium. And like Friday in Pensacola, where he crashed from the lead after contact with a lap-down car, Pollard’s Saturday was also derailed by factors out of his control.
On lap 50, while under caution, Series officials stopped both first and second place Chris Davidson and Pollard on the frontstretch and inspected their cars for a possible problem. It was determined that both cars were leaking fluid onto the track and sent to the pit area for repairs.
As caution laps do not count in the Southern Super Series, neither driver lost a lap and both were able to restart at the end of the field without losing a lap. Both would factor into the finish.
Pollard spent the entirety of the second half charging back from seventh and found himself third with 15 laps to go. However, just as easily as Pollard caught second-place Nemechek, he couldn’t make the pass and their battle was halted by the final caution that came with 13 laps to go.
Over the radio, Pollard said, “It doesn’t matter because I used up the tires just getting to the front,” a notion that would prove to be correct when Pollard lost several positions on the restart. He would finish fourth.
Up front, Grill ran away from Nemechek and Kyle Benjamin, who was unable to do better than third after getting around Pollard on the restart. The victory proved to be especially rewarding for Grill, who qualified poorly at Pensacola and struggled to break into the top-10 only to make contact with Ross Kenseth, destroying his no. 25 and ending his weekend prematurely.
When Pollard won the first two races of the season, at Nashville and Gresham, there was concern that the championship would be a runaway. But parity over the last three races seems to predict that the title battle is just beginning.
Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds
While Bubba Pollard was left disappointed to not win the Miller Lite 125, he too earned redemption of sorts, scoring a feature victory in the Alabama Pipe and Supply Modified division on Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway.
As if with something to prove, Pollard jumped out front early on lap one and never looked back, winning in flawless fashion. He led flag-to-flag and with no cautions, remained unchallenged throughout despite the best efforts of second-place Donald Crocker.
Chris Cotto, Brandon Howell and Donnie Hamrac completed the top-five.
“This is just a homegrown effort we have with the Modified,” Pollard said in victory lane. “It’s good to get a victory in some form tonight.”
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman
Steve Buttrick won his seventh feature in eight starts on Saturday night in the Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman division at Mobile International Speedway but not for a lack of effort from defending champion Brannon Fowler.
Fowler methodically worked his way through the field after falling to fifth on the start but was third by lap seven. Fowler would move into second-place a lap later, passing Jonathan Langham with relative ease and beginning his pursuit of Buttrick.
The defending champion caught Buttrick by lap 18 but just couldn’t get around the Florida-native. Fowler was strongest in turn one but Buttrick would get it back in turns three and four. Buttrick was glued to the bottom of the track surface and the two veterans dueled in one of the more intense but clean battles of recent memory.
Fowler dived deep into turn three on the final lap but just couldn’t make contact with Buttrick and was left helpless in watching him take the checkered flag for yet another victory on Alabama’s Fastest Half-Mile.
“Brannon was really charging at the end but here we are again,” Buttrick said in victory lane. “We ran real good and ultimately it was enough to get it done.”
Mark Barnhill, Steven Allday and Bob Bryant completed the top-five.
Island Motors II Bomber
Jayme Corry survived a crash-filled Island Motors II feature event to win his fifth race of the season. BJ Leytham, Collin Kraft, Marty Robinson and Wesley Barnhill completed the top-five.
Miller Lite 125: 1.) Augie Grill 2.) John Hunter Nemechek 3.) Kyle Benjamin 4.) Bubba Pollard 5.) Mike Garvey
Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds: 1.) Bubba Pollard 2.)Donald Crocker 3.) Chris Cotto 4.) Brandon Howell 5.) Donnie Hamrac
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman: 1.) Steve Buttrick 2.) Brannon Fowler 3.) Mark barnhill 4.) Steven Allday 5.) Bob Bryant
Island Motors II Bombers: 1.) Jayme Corry 2.) BJ Leytham 3.) Collin Kraft 4.) Marty Robinson 5.) Wesley Barnhill
Upcoming Race Dates at Mobile International Speedway:
Saturday, June 8 (Mods, SS, SP, B, Demo Derby)
Saturday, June 22 (SLM, Mods, SP, B)
Saturday, July 13 (PLM, MOT, PT, SP, B)