Different Team, Same Bubba Pollard in Pro Late Model Rattler 125
Mar 19, 2023
The 47th Annual Hardee’s Rattler 250 came down to a clash of the titans, with Super Late Model standouts Ty Majeski and Bubba Pollard battling to the finish. Pollard took the lead from Majeski with 13 laps to go to claim his second Rattler 250 victory.
Striking late in the 250-lap race after qualifying 15th, it would be understandable if one thought this was typical Bubba Pollard, biding his time until the end of the race, coiled like the snake that joined him in victory lane as part of Rattler tradition. After all, that’s how he won Saturday night’s Pro Late Model Rattler 125.
However, Pollard insisted in victory lane he left nothing on the table while battling with Majeski, a five-time Rattler winner.
“We weren’t riding,” said Pollard. “We had a terrible race car that first half. I think we just got a bad set of tires. The race car was too good all weekend not to qualify that well, and then we started the race terrible.”
Pollard moved from 15th to eighth in the first half, before he and his team made wholesale changes to his No. 26, stirring it to life for the second half.
“We came in at halfway and made the right adjustments. I think we made five or six adjustments at the break, and it was the right ones. Put a good set of tires on it and hell, she was good. The longer this thing runs, the better it gets. It never loses drive and keeps turning.”
Pollard quickly worked his way up to second after the break, but catching and passing Majeski was another task. A green flag run for the last 40-plus laps proved to be exactly what Pollard needed.
“I knew my car would last. If we got a caution to come out, Ty would fire off pretty good. He’d get a good jump and get out there a good ways.
“I made sure on that last one to get a good one and keep him in reaching distance. I don’t know, we made it happen.”
Bubba Pollard takes the checkered flag in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway (Photo: Ryan Nuttleman)
Majeski had his own journey through the field, albeit a voluntary one. After flying into Alabama following an 11th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Majeski qualified on the pole during time trials on Saturday.
However, when Central Florida Roofing offered a $10,000 bonus to Majeski if he could win from the rear of the field, Majeski took the offer. He reached the top 10 within the first 75 laps, made it to a podium spot before lap 100, and quickly passed Hunter Robbins for the lead following the halfway break.
Ty Majeski and Hunter Robbins battle for the lead in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway (Photo: Ryan Nuttleman)
When it came time to battle for the $25,000 winner’s check (and that extra $10,000 bonus), however, Majeski’s car lacked the long-run pace to hold off Pollard.
“We weren’t quite as good Bubba, long run,” said Majeski. “When he got to second, he was pushing hard, so it forced my hand to push hard. It was going to be a battle of whose race car lasted a little longer. He won the battle today, so congrats to him.”
Still, Majeski can hold his head high after an impressive weekend that included planes, automobiles, fast time in qualifying and nearly a sixth Rattler win, which would have extended his record for most victories in the race.
“It’s a little disappointing. I wanted the ultimate challenge. Every time I take the ultimate challenge, we seem to finish second. Overall, what a weekend. To fly in, set fast time yesterday, start 31st today and finish second. Obviously, Bubba is one of the best, and we just came up a little bit short today.”
Preventing Majeski from adding to that resume adds to the prestige of Pollard’s triumph Sunday.
“When you outrun Ty here, you’ve done something,” said Pollard. “The last four, five, six years, he’s been dominant.”
The win also comes after a busy week at the Pollard shop. Following an incident with Casey Roderick in the closing laps of the ASA STARS National Tour season opener at Five Flags Speedway, it took a collective team effort to put the car back together in time for the Rattler 250.
The car was put back together with enough speed to beat one of the fellow top dogs of Super Late Model racing at one of his best tracks.
“We had a hard week. We had to re-clip this thing and put it back together in three days,” said Pollard. “It was a lot of damn work, and these guys stuck behind me and made it happen. It was a group effort, and I can’t thank them enough.
“We’ve got a good race car right now. I felt like we had a car capable of winning last weekend, and all year really. We just put ourselves in a position to win, and I’m excited for the rest of the year.”
Jeremy Doss finished third, with Jett Noland and Michael Atwell completing the podium.
-Photo credit: Ryan Nuttleman
47th Annual Hardee's Rattler 250
1. Bubba Pollard
2. Ty Majeski
3. Jeremy Doss
4. Jett Noland
5. Michael Atwell
6. Gio Ruggiero
7. Jesse Love
8. Jake Finch
9. Johnny Sauter
10. Timothy Watson
11. Colin Allman
12. Michael Hinde
13. Augie Grill
14. Colin Garrett
15. Billy VanMeter
16. Brayton Laster
17. John DeAngelis
18. Tony Elrod
19. Steve Dorer
20. Justin Mondeik
21. Michael Goddard
22. Austin Nason
23. Zach Telford
24. Chris Davidson
25. Hunter Robbins
26. Nicholas Naugle
27. Blaine Rocha
28. Hunter Wright
29. Dustin Smith
30. Nick Neri
31. Dusty Williams