Bubba Pollard bucks the trends, sometimes to his benefit, and occasionally to his detriment.
Throughout his tenure in Super Late Model racing over the past two decades, the chassis power rankings have shifted back and forth from the likes of Port City, GARC, FURY Race Cars, Rowdy and now Hamke Race Cars, but Pollard has never been one to ride the hot hand.
The constant has remained, that win or lose, Pollard is going to stand on his own two feet and race his way.
In other words, even as the majority of the field has shifted towards Hamke and FURY, Pollard has driven Sennekers and then Port City over the past two seasons. It would be so easy to jump on the latest and greatest thing, but Pollard has respectfully declined any notion.
“My dad always taught me, growing up racing, if you’re going to win, you have to separate yourself from other people,” Pollard said. “You can’t be like them, you can’t join them, you have to figure out a way to beat them and do it yourself.
“Don’t get me wrong. You have to have help, but you better know as much as you can about your car. I’m not really a follower. I want to be a leader. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to be better than everyone else and that’s what it takes to win races.
“So, if it takes stepping out of my comfort zone and doing different things with different race cars, I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
So, it didn’t feel entirely off-brand that Pollard showed up to Speedfest this weekend with a Senneker after two years of racing with Port City and Gary Crooks. It might be easy to see this as another sea change, but it was more a coincidence as it took too much time for Pollard to get his primary car back from California after racing in the All-Star Showdown at Irwindale.
So Speedfest this weekend is a testament to James Finch and Terry Senneker.
With that said, Pollard plans to race a great deal in 2023, and it’s not all going to be under the Pollard Motorsports umbrella either.
“It’s going to take a lot of people,” Pollard said. “We may do some different things and I have an opportunity to drive for some people and run our own stuff some too. It’s going to be kind of a group effort to make this deal happen this year. We’ll have some details in the coming months. But I want to race more. The kids are getting grown and I don’t know how many more years I’ve got to do this.
“I want to support everything that’s going on, not just talk about it on the sidelines, help put fans in the stands and make it better. I want to be a part of that.”
In the meanwhile, Pollard is the defending winner at Speedfest and won the Spring Nationals last March at Watermelon Capital Speedway too. But, this isn’t the Port City that won both of those races so Pollard is still trying to learn this car at this track.
“I feel like we’re pretty good,” Pollard said. “I feel confident. I just know nothing about this race in the long run. We have no notebook, no idea of what it’s going to need and what it’s going to take. The car drives good. It’s got speed, obviously.
“After yesterday, I feel confident in what we’ve got, but we’re going to have to wait for race day to know for sure.”