Few Late Model racers can match the achievements of Bubba Pollard on the asphalt tracks of the southeast, or all over the country and the continent for that matter. The Senoia, Georgia native has amassed wins in some of the biggest races pavement short-track racing has to offer including the Rattler 250, the All-American 400 and the World Crown 300. And just last year, the third generation wheel man added victories in the Oxford 250 and the Canadian Short Track Nationals to his ever growing list of accomplishments.
More than that, the past few months have been good for the grandson of the founder of Senoia Raceway on the dirt as well. Two weeks ago Pollard scored a victory in a Dirt Late Model on the gumbo clay of his home track.
“It’s been good,” Pollard declared in an interview with InsideCircleTrack.com. “We’ve had fast race cars but we would have liked to have won some more races. But we’ve been fast, we’ve been competitive, and we’ve put ourselves in contention to win races. That’s all we can do and the wins will come. We’ve had some good race cars and we know those finishes will come.”
Surprisingly, the accomplished pavement racing star says there are aspects of driving on dirt that can translate to his more familiar form of competition.
“There is,” the 32-year-old explained. “Even though you don’t really drive them the same, you still get the same feel you’re looking for in a race car – turn in the center and drive off. That’s the biggest thing, you’ve got to have a good feel in the race car and good balance in the race car. Luckily, we’re fortunate enough to have two good programs for dirt and asphalt.”
With those two good programs in place, Pollard and his team consider numerous options before deciding when and where they will race from week to week.
“We don’t have the huge budget that everyone thinks we do to spend on these cars when we’re racing like we do,” he pointed out. “We have to choose wisely whether it be with the weather, the rules, and there’s all sorts of things that factor into where we race and when we go race. You have to be smart. This sport is tough to make a living at.”
Ultimately, Pollard doesn’t want to be known as a great pavement racer or a great dirt racer. Like other greats in the sport, he simply wants to be known as a great racer.
“As a race car driver, I love the sport of short-track racing whether it be dirt tracks or asphalt,” he insisted. “It makes it a lot easier and it makes you feel good when you’re winning. I like doing what I do here. My goal as a racer is to be diverse as far as jumping in one car and winning and then jumping in the other car and winning. I feel like you look at some of the all-time greats like A.J. Foyt and Tony Stewart, and those guys, they could go back and forth between the two and be good. That’s all I can hope for is to be competitive in asphalt and dirt.”
When young dirt racers are asked what their career goals are, many will say that some day they would like to take on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series or the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. However, when asked the same question, many young pavement racers will place NASCAR at the top of their wish list.
So, was NASCAR ever a goal for Bubba Pollard?
“When you’re younger, you want to make it to NASCAR,” Pollard replied. “But as I’ve grown older I have asked myself if NASCAR was really a place that would have been best for me and the person I am and I have to say that it probably wasn’t. I feel like God has plans for everyone and I feel like this is where I need to be. We always think of NASCAR as being the next level, but I’m happy doing what I do with the plan God put in place for us.”
As for remaining primarily in short-track pavement racing, Pollard’s success has been plentiful. But even with all his success, the desire for more is still there.
“I say that I always think we could do better,” he declared. “I always try to set our goals and our standards to a higher level. It’s never good enough for me. I want to win every race and lead lap and win practice and everything else. Over the years, like ten years ago, I would have never dreamed we would get to travel and do the racing we’ve done and win the races that we have. But over the years we’ve surrounded ourselves with great people and that has put us in this position to win races and travel and do the things we’ve done.”
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
Respond to this piece on Twitter –> @RichardAllenIDR
or on Facebook –> InsideCircleTrack/Facebook