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June 12, 2024

Bubba Pollard prevails for second Money in the Bank 150 victory at Berlin

MARNE, Mich. — Berlin Raceway has become one of Bubba Pollard’s favorite tracks over the past year.

After claiming the facility’s most prestigious race, the Battle at Berlin, in August, the Super Late Model veteran emerged victorious from a thrilling late-race battle with NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones and local competitor Blake Rowe for his second Money in the Bank 150 win on Wednesday evening.

The journey to Victory Lane was not an easy one for Pollard, but he felt confident about adding another Berlin win to his storied short-track resume once he was able to make adjustments and obtain ideal track position.

“[We] just had to get the stagger right,” Pollard said. “We missed it that first run, but that’s a product of the tires. If you’re off a quarter of an inch, it’s make or break, but this is big boy racing, and you need to put the big boy pants on. Once we got the tires right, we were fine.”

As was the case with the Battle at Berlin, Pollard knew patience would be pertinent to have a shot at the victory.

The early portion of the Money in the Bank 150 saw Pollard enact a conservative strategy. With Jones and Carson Hocevar battling hard for the lead, Pollard displayed no urgency and continued to bide his time until a caution for Brian Bergakker’s spin halted the race with 61 laps remaining.

Pollard then went on the offensive after making his pit stop, utilizing Berlin’s high line to pick off his competition one by one. It would take a competition caution with 11 laps to go for Pollard to get within striking distance of Rowe, who had gone off-sequence with pit strategy and ended up inheriting the lead.

Despite a spirited defense against both Pollard and Jones, the expended rubber worked to Rowe’s detriment. He was unable to fend off a swift charge from Pollard on the top side, which forced him to surrender the lead and settle for a disappointing second in the Money in the Bank 150.

Rowe wished there was no competition yellow in the closing laps, as he had built a comfortable lead over Pollard and Jones even with old tires. He still found solace with his runner-up finish knowing he held his own against many of the best drivers on both the short-track and national level.

“We were just flat out of tire there at the end,” Rowe said. “We had 65 or so more laps on our stuff than everybody else. It was so close. If the [competition yellow] wouldn’t have fallen, we were riding free. I’m just really proud of the run. We were struggling there at the start and the whole crew never quit on this thing. It was a hot rod.”

Rowe plans to regroup for the prestigious Battle at Berlin in just a couple of months, when Pollard is once again expected to be a favorite.

Bubba Pollard
With his second Money in the Bank 150 victory, Bubba Pollard now turns his attention towards defending his Battle at Berlin win from 2023. (Photo: Eric Bronson/NASCAR Regional)

Although Pollard has found plenty of success in his trips to Berlin, which included winning the inaugural Money in the Bank 150 back in 2017, none of his ventures have been easy due to the talented contingent of regulars like Rowe who show up for the facility’s marquee events.

Pollard said the expertise of local racer Terry Senneker and everyone at Senneker Performance has been crucial in keeping him prepared for races like the Money in the Bank 150. With Senneker on his side, Pollard heads into his defense of last year’s Battle at Berlin victory confident and determined.

“These guys around here are good, but we have good race cars,” Pollard said. “Terry Senneker and everyone who works at his shop makes it possible to give us a fast race car. When we pick up the phone to call them, they are there for us, so I can’t thank those guys enough. It takes a group effort.”

Jones’ quest to defend his Money in the Bank 150 victory from 2023 ended with a third-place finish. Gavan Boschele and Derek Griffith followed him in the running order to complete the top five.

Hocevar came home in sixth after leading early in the Money in the Bank 150. The rest of the top 10 were Evan Shotko, Kris Wright, Dylan Stovall and Chase Pinsonneault.