MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Augie Grill would not be denied.
Despite a furious charge from Bubba Pollard over the final 20 laps, Grill would keep Pollard behind him in a mad dash to the finish of Saturday's Southern Super Series AR Bodies 125 at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
Grill had dominated the first half of the race, leading each of the first 75 laps before getting shuffled to third at the start of the second half due to a dice-roll invert. Grill made short work of Mike Garvey for second before passing Pollard for the lead following a lap 85 restart.
But Pollard wouldn't go away.
Grill never really escaped from Pollard over the final 40 laps with the action really intensifying during the final 20. Grill assumed a defensive position into the corners with Pollard attempting to offset that with several dive-bomb attempts into turn one.
While Pollard could get the nose of his Super Late Model under Grill, the latter would minimize the maneuver by getting a better drive off the center -- Tit-for-tat.
Pollard had several opportunities to shove Grill up the racing surface but admittedly chose a more conservative tactic against his long-time rival. It allowed both cars to finish the race but left Grill with his season-leading third victory of the season (Montgomery in May and Mobile) and Pollard in the runner-up spot.
"The first time I've ever raced here I finished second and for some reason I've always liked this place," Grill said in victory lane. "We're really running well everywhere right now. Winning three of (the last) six is great, but winning 10 of 16 would be better."
For his part, Pollard was content to leave Montgomery with the championship lead, especially given the fact that his weekend began with a violent crash during a Friday afternoon practice session. To score a second-place to Grill at his home track with a beat-up car was a near-victory for the Georgian short-tracker.
"I really hate that we wrecked the car on Friday," Pollard said. "The guys did a great job fixing it. We tore it up pretty good as we bent the right plate and left front suspension. And to come out here after that and just be able to run with [Grill] is pretty cool...
"I think we could have been in Victory Lane tonight. Our two cars were pretty equal there. I think we had a little better racecar than him in the last 10 laps, but I wasn't going to rough him up to pass him. I would rather run second than get that bad reputation."
In one of his more competitive races of recent memory, Mike Garvey finished third and was followed by Daniel Hemric and Stephen Nasse.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Johanna Long also competed in Saturday's race but was a non-factor for most of the night after she also crashed her car on Friday. Long and crew returned home to Pensacola, Fla. to repair the damage but just didn't have the same speed they showed prior the accident. She survived to a seventh-place finish.
Accidents over the weekend also led to Ross Kenseth and DJ VanderLey withdrawing their entries prior to the drop of the green flag.
As a result of finishing second, Pollard extended his championship lead to 15 points over Hemric with Grill remaining in third -- but now 43 points out of the top spot. Garvey jumps to fourth-place with John Hunter Nemechek falling behind him.
The next Southern Super Series event will be the Penske Racing Shocks 125 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. on Friday, June 21st. The Five Star Racecar Bodies 125 will take place one night afterwards at Mobile International Speedway.
Complete race results for the Southern Super Series AR Bodies 125 from Montgomery Motor Speedway can be found below:
- Augie Grill
- Bubba Pollard
- Mike Garvey
- Daniel Hemric
- Stephen Nasse
- Bobby Knox
- Johanna Long
- Hunter Robbins
- Anderson Bowen
- Chet Morrison
- Ken McFarland
- Roger Reuse
- Allen Karnes
- John Hunter Nemechek
- Kyle Grissom
- Donnie Wilson
- Mason Massey
- Spencer Davis
- T.J. Reaid