This past Saturday one of the best Super Late Model drivers in America on asphalt decided to take to the dirt. Bubba Pollard piloted a crate late model at his home race track of Senoia Raceway in Senoia, Georgia to a sixth-place finish.
Not too bad for someone who hasn’t raced on dirt in 10 years.
“I really picked up on it pretty fast,” Pollard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “What I have a hard time with is not having someone in my ear telling me where the car is behind me. I had a hard time knowing where the cars were around me on Saturday night and making sure that I wasn’t pinching anybody into the walls or cutting anybody off.
Unlike what Pollard is used to on asphalt, there’s no spotters in the dirt racing world. Drivers know where other drivers are by listening for the sounds of other engines around them.
“That was new for me in getting back into the rhythm of knowing where cars are around you by listening to the sounds of the engines,” Pollard said. “Once I got comfortable doing that it was not a problem.”
Pollard has won some big money so far this year, pocketing a combined $61,000 between just two races (Kern County’s (CA) Winter Showdown and Evergreen’s (WA) Summer Showdown), and that’s in addition to the other races he’s won on pavement this year like the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway and more.
So why go dirt racing in a crate late model? Because racers like to race and that’s how they have fun.
“I’ve always grown up around dirt racing,” said Pollard. “When I’m not racing asphalt I’m always at the dirt races. We’ve got a dirt track right here in town that just reopened about four or five years ago. We’ve been chomping at the bit to try to get a dirt car and race. Just because it would be something to have fun with and enjoy.”
Pollard said he had fun on Saturday night at Senoia. He started shotgun on the 12-car field, but ultimately finished in sixth.
“We started last just to get some seat time there,” Pollard said. “We drove all the way to fourth and finished sixth. It’s not a bad way to start. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.”
While Pollard kept saying he just wanted to have some fun, he also kept saying he wanted seat time and to learn as much as possible too.
“We say it’s for fun, but there’s definitely that side of us that wants to win,” Pollard explained. “It helped me in getting some seat time in a dirt car. It helped me on the asphalt side as well. It’s just a lot of fun and we enjoy it.”
So why does Pollard want more seat time in a dirt car? The 2014 Southern Super Series champion said the plan is to sprinkle in as many dirt races as possible into his already busy asphalt racing schedule for the rest of this year.
“The plan is to race the dirt car as much as we can and get as much seat time as possible,” he said. “We’d like to do some of the bigger money shows at the end of the year to have a little fun. We just want seat time and we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Clint Smith Racing