Rising to the challenge is what separates a top-notch driver from the rest of the pack. Whether it’s dominating a race, going on a winning streak or sealing a win with a late-race pass, drivers slowly rise to the top of the field and make a name for themselves.
That’s why FK Rod Ends, who has nearly 10,000 combinations of rod ends and spherical bearings available and carefully crafts their products, is proud to honor the 2018 “Team FK Driver of the Year” from the short track ranks of America on Speed51.com.
Throughout the 2018 racing season, an esteemed panel of short track industry insiders voted on which driver had the most success on the track. The driver with the most votes was awarded “Team FK Driver of the Month."
Now, with the 2018 season concluded, we have calculated the votes from throughout the season to determine the “Team FK Driver of the Year.”
Fresh off one of the most impressive pavement Late Model seasons in recent history, Bubba Pollard of Senoia, Georgia has been named the Team FK Driver of the Year for 2018.
"Bubba is a great guy and an awesome racer. I am so excited to be working with him again," said Maria Melillo of FK Rod Ends. "We appreciate working with Speed51 throughout the year and giving back to racers through this Driver of the Month / Driver of the Year program. It gives FK many opportunities to reach racers and end users, allowing us to continue to give back to the racing community while branding our name."
Pollard's stellar season ended with 14 wins, including wins in some of the biggest Late Model races in North America. Overall, the driver of the No. 26 scored 16 top-five finishes and 18 top 10 finishes in 32 starts.
After experiencing a spell of bad luck early on in the season, Pollard heated up during the summer months and recorded a dominant streak during the month of August. The streak began during a PASS South qualifying race for the Oxford 250 at South Boston Speedway (VA), where Pollard locked himself into the prestigious Super Late Model race.
From there, he made the trek north to Maine and did the unthinkable by driving from his 26th starting spot to win the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) in his first attempt.
Following his $28,300 victory in Maine, Pollard made his way north of the border to Jukasa Motor Speedway (ONT) for the inaugural $50,000-to-win (CAD) Canadian Short Track Nationals. Competing against a stout field of drivers from throughout North America, he claimed the top prize and completed one of the richest two-week spans in recent pavement Late Model history.
But he wasn't done yet.
After taking a two-week break, Pollard returned to Five Flags Speedway -- a track that he's experienced loads of success at throughout the years -- and swept the Blizzard Series and Allen Turner Pro Late Model finales at the Pensacola oval.
In addition to this headline-grabbing run during the months of August and September, Pollard also made headlines back in June when he attempted to win three major Late Model races in two states over a four-day span.
He began that journey by winning the Masters of the Pros at Birch Run Speedway (MI) and capturing a $11,000 check. One day later, he hopped on a plane and headed south to Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) for the CARS Tour / Southern Super Series Border Wars 150. Pollard turned in a dominating performance that night and earned another $10,000 check before heading back to Michigan for the Money in the Bank 150 at Berlin Raceway.
Ultimately, he came up one spot short of another $20,000 check after a spirited battle against Brian Campbell and Kyle Busch.
Other highlights from Pollard's 2018 season include wins in the Baby Rattler 125 at South Alabama Speedway, the Pro Late Model portion of SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA), a $10,000 CARS Tour win at Orange County Speedway (NC), a Southern Super Series victory at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), and a Pro Late Model victory during the Mobile 300 Weekend.
As a result of his stellar 2018 season, Bubba Pollard is the 2018 FK Rod Ends Driver of the Year on Speed51.com.
Pollard will receive $500 from FK Rod Ends and free product for the 2019 racing season.
To learn more about FK Rod Ends and their growing inventory, visit www.fkrodends.com.
2018 FK Rod Ends Driver of the Month Winners:
January - Christopher Bell
February - Jonathan Davenport
March - Jeremy Doss
April - Stewart Friesen
May - Kody Swanson
June - Brian Campbell
July - Matt Sheppard
August - Bubba Pollard
September - Matt Hirschman
October - Tim McCreadie
November - Jeff Choquette
December - Noah Gragson
-Text by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / John A. Miller