The Snowball Derby continues to be the one obstacle in short track racing that Bubba Pollard can’t overcome.
Pollard finished 25th on Monday night following a myriad of issues that prevented him from contending for a win the one race that eludes his Hall of Fame short track resume. The 32-year-old spent much of the first half of the race just outside of the top-five but never could break through that barrier with any consistency.
He got within the back bumper of Stephen Nasse for fifth with 20 laps to go but was unable to complete the pass. That placed him under siege from pole-sitter Derek Thorn and the two connected in Turns 3 and 4. That led to a Pollard spin, which also sent Augie Grill hard into the wall.
Despite a resume that includes victories in nearly every other major prestigious short track event, Pollard still has just three top-fives in the Snowball Derby and is still seeking a Tom Dawson Trophy.
He says he just wasn’t good on Monday night, placing him in position to be spun with a car that he wasn’t fully in control of.
“We were just never really any good,” Pollard said. “I kind of just followed it all week and really never gained on it. It just intensified when we went to race there.
“We made it worse because we just never had track position at all. We could have run top-five. We probably had a top-five or six car. And then we fell further back. We would pit and then I would drive back to sixth or so and could never get track position.”
Thorn said it was largely a racing deal late in the biggest race of the year.
“In my opinion, he chopped me, but that’s racing,” Thorn said of the incident.
Pollard had brought a brand new Senneker car for Derby week but quickly abandoned it in favor of the car he had used all season. Pollard says the two cars are so similar that it ultimately wouldn’t have made a difference which car he chose to qualify with.
He kept repeating that he and his No. 26 team needs to get to work to find out a solution for Pensacola in December, offering that there’s very little to learn by racing regular season races at Five Flags Speedway.
Pollard now has nine finishes out of the top-10 in the Snowball Derby.
“I mean, the only year we had a chance of winning was 2017 and we screwed that up,” Pollard said. “But really, you never know what you get when you come to this race and so many things change. You don’t learn a lot here during the summer because it’s a hundred thousand degrees. It doesn’t even matter. You get a good baseline, but we have to get better once we unload our stuff and get here.”
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