Bubba Pollard feels the weight of the Snowball Derby

Bubba Pollard

This is the second of a two-part story based on an interview conducted with Bubba Pollard prior to the All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in November. 

Please consider reading part 1 “Bubba Pollard voices views on the state of short track racing

Bubba Pollard is probably the most recognizable name in the field of pavement short track racing. The Senoia, GA driver has earned that recognition by chalking up scores of wins all across the country, and the continent for that matter. Yet, one glaring omission remains on the 33-year-old’s resumé due to the fact that he has never won the biggest event in all of Super Late Model racing.

In twelve previous attempts, the driver who has won the All-American 400, the Oxford 250, the Slinger Nationals, and the Canadian Short Track Nationals has never pulled into victory lane at the end of the prestigious Snowball Derby. Pollard has experienced some degree of success with three top-5 finishes at Five Flags Speedway’s premier show. However, disappointment has been a more frequent feeling when leaving the Pensacola, FL track as the famed No. 26 car has finished outside the top-20 a total of six times.

Pollard’s last two finishes in the Snowball Derby have been a 26th and a 25th respectively in 2018 and 2019. This year’s Derby will take the green flag on December 6th.

Make no mistake, this is a driver who knows the significance of winning the sport’s biggest events.

“There’s no better feeling than to win these crown jewel events, especially nowadays because there’s so many factors that can go into it,” Pollard said in an interview with InsideCircleTrack.com. “I mean it was hard back then, it’s always been hard, and there’s so many great race car drivers each and every year trying to win these crown jewels. We need to win some of these bigger events, we’ve won some of them in the past but I want to win them on a consistent basis. That’s my goal since I can’t move on to the next level, l want to win as many of these as I can.”

Please also consider reading “Snowball Derby’s Back-to-Front Challenge will lead to big decision for one driver

In terms of pavement Late Model racing, Pollard is as well known as names such as Bloomquist, Moyer, Owens, and Sheppard in the Dirt Late Model world. But Pollard is focused on winning races rather than on building his legacy.

“I treat every race the same,” Pollard pointed out. “I just go out and try to do the best that I can. You talk about the Moyers and the Bloomquists, they’re what made that sport what it is. Those are legends and guys you look up to. I’ve won some races and we’ve had some up and down years. I’ve been lucky to surround myself with great people and put myself in the right situations to win races. I don’t think about those things. I just go out and try to win races.”

With only a limited number of opportunities each year to win the sport’s most coveted trophies, the pressure at each of those races is intense. And that pressure is greatest of all during the week of the Snowball Derby.

“I feel like we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win those races and it is tough,” Pollard admitted. “It’s killing me not to win it, but if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If it’s not meant to be, that’s fine too. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and have fun but I don’t want to give up until we win it.”

Bubba Pollard will actually be entered in a car with No. 71 in this year’s Snowball Derby

Winning the Snowball Derby would be a career defining moment for any pavement short track driver, even for someone as already well known as Bubba Pollard.

“It is, it’s big. I feel like that at the end of the day, I look at it like winning championships. It doesn’t matter how many championships you win as long as you win races. I think the Snowball Derby and the crown jewel events, it doesn’t matter how many other races you’ve won throughout the year, if you haven’t won the Snowball Derby and these other crown jewels, it hurts.”

The Snowball Derby will be aired live by Speed51.com

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association

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