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Missed set-up costs Bubba Pollard in JR Motorsports debut at Martinsville

The JR Motorsports driver earned a top-five in his second Martinsville effort …

Chris Owens | STS

As one JR Motorsports driver celebrated with his newly-earned grandfather clock on Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway, the other was left wondering what more could have been done to have made it there himself.

Bubba Pollard started the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 with a significantly different set-up than teammate Josh Berry.

While Berry led wire-to-wire to collect $44,000, Pollard struggled to remain inside the top-10 with an inability to drive off the corners. Pollard cited over his team’s communication that he wanted more gear during the final stage break but was told gear changes were not permitted in this race.

VIDEO: Taylor Gray flips in a Late Model at Martinsville

So ultimately, Pollard had what he had and was able to drive up to fifth by the end of the night, wishing he had started the race with something closer to Berry’s green flag set-up.

“That did hurt us,” Pollard said. “I just couldn’t get off the corner. Once we got through the center and we parked it, I couldn’t leave the hole and I needed that gear to get out of the hole. I just needed it.

“It’s something else to learn and build for next year for whatever car we’re with. Just getting behind hurt me until we could get it freed up a little more.”

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For this set-up to work, Pollard needed long green flag runs and clean air roll the corner the way his car needed.

Pollard said he went with a different set-up than Berry just due to their different driving styles, but the 32-year-old wishes he had gone with something closer to what the No. 88 utilized.

“Here, looking back, we should have gone with what he uses here because he has speed, a lot of speed, and I probably could have adapted my driving style to compensate,” Pollard said. “I changed a lot of things to my liking and I don’t know if that was the right direction.

“The JR Motorsport guys are awesome though. They worked really hard to give me everything I needed and what I like in a car. I really enjoyed working with them and hopefully we can work together again.”

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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