It was almost fitting that at 3 p.m., the car that Jamie Yelton and Bubba Pollard lowered off the Fathead Racing hauler was primarily black, except for a familiar yellow racing stripe and a white No. 26.
The will he or won’t he saga of Bubba Pollard’s eventual Late Model Stock debut came to a close on Thursday morning when the winningest Super Late Model driver of his era signed-into the check-in desk at Martinsville Speedway.
One year after teasing the possibility, and seven months after withdrawing from the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, the 31-year-old had officially entered-into a Late Model Stock race, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
But even then, that was only made possible due to a successful test at Greenville Pickens Speedway on Tuesday. The car they unloaded on Thursday didn’t even have all the sponsorship stickers on it, yet.
Pollard initially tested the brand-new Late Model Stock at Langley Speedway in Virginia but wasn’t comfortable with the feel of the car. He spent all summer picking up Super Late Model wins in the Oxford 250, Canadian Short Track Nationals and the Master of the Pros 200.
But now is apparently the time to make the plunge into the Late Model Stock deep end.
“I think we’ll never be totally ready,” Pollard said. “The guys here have so much experience, more experience than me. We’ll figure it out. We’ve been to places, first time, and we won it.
“We’re looking for a feel and as long as we can find the feel, I think we’ll be fine.”
When Pollard decided last month to enter the Oxford 250 for the first time, he was told simply making the main event would be an accomplishment, much less contending for the win. Instead, he dominated, placed himself near the front and won in his first attempt.
He went to Jukasa Motor Speedway a week later and won the $50,00-to-win Canadian Short Track Nationals despite never seeing that track, too.
“It’s just another race track,” Pollard said when asked if the lack of track time would hurt him over the weekend. “I got to make it turn left and drive off.”
The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is the most prestigious and richest-paying Late Model Stock Car race of the season. The main event is 200 laps, pays $25,000 to win and will air on FansChoice.TV on Saturday night.
Green flag is scheduled for 8 p.m.