Pollard wins Inaugural American Freedom 300 at Jennerstown


JENNERSTOWN, PA – Bubba Pollard made history on Independence Day, winning the Inaugural Thomas Automotive American Freedom 300 in a co-sanctioned race with the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour and the ARCA/CRA Super Series at the Jennerstown Speedway Complex. It was Pollard’s second win in as many CARS Tour races after claiming the checkered flag at Hickory Motor Speedway in June.

Though Pollard had a top-five car in the opening half of the race, his car came to life as the sun set, leading the final 116 laps en route to victory.

The No. 26 also survived a late-race scare from the No. 49 of Jeff Batten, who made contact with Pollard entering Turn 1 with 13 laps to go. For a moment, it looked as if the Harrison’s Workwear Ford Fusion might have had a tire going down, but Pollard brought the car back to race pace within a lap and cruised to his second Super Late Model win of 2020 in the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour.

In Victory Lane, Pollard pointed out one clear difference between his car and the rest of the field. “The difference in winning this weekend was figuring out what I needed to get over that bump,” said Pollard. “There’s a little bump over in Turn 3, almost getting into the middle of the corner. We needed to be better, and I feel like that’s where we could drive the car hard and get over the bump there. We just worked on shocks since we got here.”

Few drivers in the field entered the weekend with experience at Jennerstown, including Pollard. After completing 200 laps at the half-mile race track, he had nothing but praise for the facility.

“It was a fun race. I enjoy this place,” Pollard said. “It was my first time ever being here. It’s a racy place where you can move around. I like it. Hopefully we can come back and try it again. I know it’s a holiday, but we’re glad to be at the racetrack.”

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Sammy Smith was one of the few drivers who had raced at Jennerstown before this event, having competed in last year’s Motor Mountain Masters. Smith used that experience to drive to a runner-up finish — a career best in a CARS Tour Super Late Model race.

“I felt like there was some stuff from last year that I could carry over to this year and I felt like that was definitely a positive,” Smith said.

Smith restarted second to Pollard on the race’s final pair of restarts, but was forced to settle for the inside lane on both occasions. The No. 26 used the outside groove to pull away.

“We were close, we just didn’t have the fire-off speed (on restarts) like we needed,” said Smith. “I felt like we were about the same. He might have been a little bit better than us on the long run. If we had a little bit better fire-off speed, we might have had a chance.”

Smith noted how important the outside lane was on restarts. “The top side was the preferred groove on the start,” said Smith. “You pick up so much (rubber) on the tire under caution and then you’d just be tight the first three laps. Once we got going, we were pretty decent.”

Jake Garcia backed up his runner-up finish at Five Flags Speedway last weekend with a third-place finish at Jennerstown. His run was also a career-best finish in the CARS Tour after making only his second career series start.

The race was slowed for three competition cautions and featured only one incident of note on lap 29, when polesitter Trevor Noles lost a right front tire entering Turn 3. The No. 22 slammed the wall and was the first retirement of the race.

The Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour will make its second visit of the season to Hickory Motor Speedway on August 1, with 125-lap races for the Late Model Stock Cars and the Super Late Models. More information can be found on the CARS Tour website. All races of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour are broadcast live on CARSTour.TV.

Qualifying Results

1) #22 Trevor Noles 18.237
2) #8 Tate Fogleman 18.304
3) #17b Josh Brock 18.315
4) #54 Matt Craig 18.331
5) #26 Bubba Pollard 18.337
6) #45 Kodie Conner 18.397
7) #6 Logan Runyon 18.437
8) #33 Albert Francis 18.456
9) #78 Corey Heim 18.514
10) #35G Jake Garcia 18.536
11) #35k Carson Kvapil 18.537
12) #14 Chris Davidson 18.542
13) #51 Sammy Smith 18.543
14) #4 Kyle Plott 18.547
15) #48 Tovia Grynewicz 18.564
16) #51n Stephen Nasse 18.592
17) #9 Hudson Halder 18.616
18) #7 Justin Crider 18.635
19) #131 Kyle Crump 18.639
20) #35 Greg Van Alst 18.653
21) #15 Mike Hopkins 18.655
22) #1 Cody Coughlin 18.666
23) #45s Michael Simko 18.758
24) #49 Jeff Batten 00.000

Thomas Automotive American Freedom 200
Feature Results

1) #26 Bubba Pollard
2) #51 Sammy Smith
3) #35G Jake Garcia
4) #8 Tate Fogleman
5) #14 Chris Davidson
6) #78 Corey Heim
7) #15 Mike Hopkins
8) #54 Matt Craig
9) #17b Josh Brock
10) #33 Albert Francis
11) #4 Kyle Plott
12) #35k Carson Kvapil
13) #9 Hudson Halder
14) #6 Logan Runyon
15) #45 Kodie Conner
16) #49 Jeff Batten
17) #48 Tovia Grynewicz
18) #51n Stephen Nasse
19) #45s Michael Simko
20) #35 Greg Van Alst
21) #7 Justin Crider
22) #131 Kyle Crump
23) #22 Trevor Noles
24) #1 Cody Coughlin

Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour Press Release
Photos courtesy of Daniel Shaw – Aerial Dimensions and Brandon Zumbach

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