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Pollard outduels Jones, Rowe to score second Money in the Bank win

They done made Bubba Pollard mad.


There was Tyler Rycenga, who twice ran Pollard off the track, and once early in the race. That made him frustrated. Then there was an incident during the halfway break in which a car that just spun off the track with a broken sway bar came down pit road the opposite direction and nearly forced Pollard to lose a lap.

He got frustrated at sister Andrea, his spotter, for potentially clearing him on Rycenga if it wasn’t his fault. He got mad at UARA officials for contemplating dropping him from the lead lap over what happened on pit road.

Pollard was frustrated with a McCreary tire that he doesn’t race on much at all that complicated his notebook.

He knows there is a subsection of the short track fanbase that will call him a crybaby for all of it and he wants them all to understand something about him, his team and their competitive nature.

“We got some things we need to work on,” Pollard said. “We got to be better organized. These races are tough to win. You have to be better organized. You can’t have anyone mess up their jobs. It’s not all on me and sometimes I don’t do my job.

“I get little excited (on the radio) sometimes but racing against those guys, and I’ll be the cry baby because I don’t give a shit about what they say about me, but I don’t mind racing hard. That racing hard, 20 laps to go, 10 laps to go, that’s what it’s all about.”

He’s referencing a dramatic battle for the win between himself, Blake Rowe holding off on older tires, and a dominant Erik Jones from the first half. No one touched. Not once. No one pushed anyone off the track

Pollard feels that same courtesy wasn’t extended earlier in the race when the stakes were not even as high.

“So, when you run me off the backstretch, or when someone does it at Cordele, either one of two things happened — either the guy you’re racing did it on purpose or your spotter sucks and you need a new one.”

Pollard told his sister at one point, in one of those moments of frustration, to look for her replacement. But anyone who has followed the Pollards know they get snippy with each other over the radio and their familial bond is the only thing that allows them to get away with it too.

“I get me at stuff like that,” Pollard said. “Because, if it’s in the corner, I’m fine with that and I’ll do it at some point but I don’t run someone off the backstretch. You can keep your car straight on the straightaway. You might not be able to keep it turning but you can keep it going straight.”

Race control nearly penalized Pollard for failure to rejoin the field by the three-lap minimum for non-competitive pit stops. He had to argue that a car facing the wrong way jacked everyone up. Ultimately, Pollard retained his position but he felt like it shouldn’t have even been a debate.

Lastly, this tire complicated matters because the new Hoosier ST tires objectively have too much grip and these McCreary tires are on the ragged edge. Carson Hocevar compared it to driving a Cup car in that once a driver leans on the sidewall, it wants to go around.

So that, in the heat of the moment, frustrated the legendary southern Super Late Model driver too.

“This thing is on edge and you’re hanging on,” Pollard said. “I’m not saying it’s a bad tire but it’s different so everyone was hanging on and that makes it hard to pass for a different reason than the Hoosier.

“We have two totally different things going on but that’s just part of racing.”

Ultimately, winning cures all, especially with how Pollard won Money in the Bank on Wednesday night and who he got to race against in Rowe and Jones.


“That’s it, why can’t those other guys race you like that on Lap 20 when we go out there and can race like that with less than 20 laps to go,” Pollard said. “We’re racing for $15,000 three-wide, side-by-side so why can’t they do it on lap 40?


“But I get it, I’m a cry baby, whatever. There’s a reason you see the same guys win all the time because they can race like that.”


Jones appreciate it too.


“I’ve raced with Bubba a lot and I haven’t raced Blake much in Late Models but we did race a long time ago in like quarter midgets but I have a lot of trust in those two,” Jones said. “They’re both very talented and I knew it would be a fair fight I guess you can say?”


Rowe pitted for tires earlier in the race to get track position and nearly made it work.


“We were just flat out of tire at the end,” said Rowe. “We had 65 laps or so more on our tires than everybody else. We were just hanging on. It was so close, man.


“If that [caution] wouldn’t have fallen, we would have been riding free with that baby. I’m just really proud of the run. We were struggling there at the start. [John VanDoorn] and the whole crew, they never quit on this thing. They made it right at the stop. It was a hot rod. If we dropped the green like that, I think we would have wore them out.”


Jones caught Rowe on the long green flag run prior to the final competition caution on Lap 11 but couldn’t complete a decisive pass.


“I just got a little tight at the end, after we put those tires on,” said Jones. “I kind of knew it firing off. I was hoping it would come to me, and it never freed up like we did in the first segment of the race.


“It was a good night It’s frustrating when you’re leading laps and you think you’re good enough to win and you can’t quite bring it home. Third’s good, the car’s pretty clean and in one piece. Running up front with those guys was a good show for everybody.


“I had fun. That’s what we came here to do. I had fun. The car is good and we were racing for a win. I wish we had a little bit more, but it’s a good baseline for the 250.”


Fellow Cup Series driver Carson Hocevar led from the drop of the green flag but his car didn’t fire off the same from the halfway break and he ultimately finished sixth.


“Track position was huge and with the heat cycles on these tires, we just over swung on our adjustment,” Hocevar said. “We fired tight and landed too free and I just wish we could have left it alone.”


Money in the Bank

VIII Berlin Raceway

June 12 2024

  1. Bubba Pollard
  2. Blake Rowe
  3. Erik jones
  4. Gavan Boschele
  5. Derek Griffith
  6. Carson Hocevar
  7. Evan Shotko
  8. Kris Wright
  9. Dylan Stovall
  10. Chase Pinsonneault
  11. Katie Hettinger
  12. Michael Atwell
  13. Tyler Rycenga
  14. Keith Herp
  15. Steve Needles
  16. Andrew Scheid
  17. Austin Hull
  18. Jordan Dahlke
  19. Scott Thomas
  20. Chris Shannon
  21. Tony Elrod
  22. Hudson Halder
  23. Kyle Crump
  24. Joe Bush
  25. Ken Wobma
  26. Derek Kneeland
  27. Brian Campbell
  28. Levie Jones
  29. Brian Bergakker
  30. Nate Walton
  31. Chase Burda
  32. Sean Gipson
  33. Trever McCoy

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 also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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