Last year a blown engine denied Brett Hudson the opportunity to challenge Chuck Barnes Sr for the win in the inaugural Polar Bear 150. This year Hudson's luck and his engine held, but the result was still the same. Barnes held off a furious charge from Hudson over the last five laps to win his second Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals Polar Bear 150 at the Rockingham Speedway. In a race that featured 18 lead changes and was slowed by 12 caution flags and 2 red flags, Barnes bested Hudson by less than car length at the checkered flag.
"I knew I had enough for him," said Hudson. "I knew the only way I was going to do it was to back off early here (turn 3) and pull up under him on turn four. It worked out perfect on the last lap, the lap car broke his momentum down here (backstretch), he went in low and I went in high.
"It was looking good for me and he just held it down on the bottom and broke my momentum and I just hit him right in the center of the corner, all I did was shove him forward."
Barnes felt that Hudson had the better car, but getting out front on the last restart made the difference in the outcome.
"We had a good car, not the fastest car," Barnes said in victory lane. "He (Hudson) is a good driver and had the fastest car, I think. These cars are a whole lot better when they're out front, mine was, and I know his was too.
Somehow, I got him on the start and managed to stay in front of him. He drove me clean and he deserved to win because he had a better car."
Hudson is looking forward to his next opportunity to outrun Barnes and claim his first Polar Bear crown.
"We would have loved to have won, but it was a great run for us and we'll be back next time," Hudson said.
Will Kimmel came home in third with Frank Kimmel II finishing fourth. Chad Hall rounded out the top-five.
"We were pretty good, we needed long green flag runs because we were a little short on power down the straightaway," said Will Kimmel. "My car is a little different, a leaf spring car, we just needed a little more time.
Unfortunately for Kimmel, long green flag runs were scarce in this year's race and mounting casualties filled the garage area as the race progressed. Two six car crashes among the twelve caution periods slowed the pace and relegated all but nine cars to laps-down finishes and only saw 41 of the 60 cars that started the race make it to the
Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for Scott Speed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, found trouble on lap 60 that ended his day.
"It's my fault, I was being stupid and driving my car way to hard and it was way too loose, said Elledge among the carnage in the garage area at the race's halfway point. "I was just trying to get to half way to get it tightened up. I was faster than that guy in front of me and I got below him. I almost had him cleared and he drove in on the outside of me and got me on the bottom, and I was way too loose on the bottom. I tried to finish the pass off, and It just got away from me getting into the corner and I spun out and wrecked. Nobody's fault but mine."
Despite the frequent on-track melees, the drivers enjoyed racing at the Rock. "That was one competitive race," said Barnes. "I really like this track. Of course winning helps, but we always run good here and it's always a good race for the fans. Lots of passing, lots of lead changes. All-in-all, a very good day."
Racing returns to Rockingham Speedway on March 13-14 with the first-ever Chump Car 24 hours of Rockingham. The Spring Fling Legends and Bandolero challenge series also kicks off on March 14 on the Little Rock. For more information on upcoming events and attractions at Rockingham Speedway, go online to www.rockinghamspeedway.com or call the main office at 910.205.8800.