Throughout his career, Bubba Pollard has established himself as one of the strongest Late Model competitors in the country. When the Georgia driver shows up to a race track, whether it be in Florida, Washington or California, the rest of the competition knows they have their work cut out for them.
But one race that has eluded Pollard has been the prestigious Snowball Derby held each year at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway. He has qualified for the race, a feat in itself, seven different times with a career-best finish of fifth in 2008.
This year, Pollard heads to Florida excited for another chance to win the Snowball Derby against the toughest group of Late Model drivers in the country.
“There’s a lot of history behind the race,” said Pollard. “We look forward to going to the Snowball Derby every year and we try to do as much racing as we can and as much testing as we can to get ready for this.
“You read about people from up north and out west that are coming to this race. It’s grown so much with talent all around. You’ve got some of the NASCAR guys that come down and make it tough for us, too. Tim (Bryant) and all of the people down there at Five Flags have done a great job to make this as big as possible.”
Although it has been over two months since he last raced at Five Flags Speedway, Pollard carries momentum heading into the race after a strong showing in Southern Super Series races held at the track in 2015. He won two out of the three races at the track and set fast time for both of those races he won.
He knows that the Snowball Derby is a totally different beast, but he is confident that his team has what it takes to tame that beast on Sunday, December 6.
“Come December and come Snowball Derby time it seems to always be different,” Pollard said. “There’s a lot of great competition and a lot of great drivers that come down for it. Just the pressure, it really gets to everyone. We’ve had fast cars all year throughout all the Blizzard races down there. We’ve done a lot of testing and we’ve tried new things to try to make our race cars better for the Snowball Derby.
“We’ll see how the week goes. The race track changes and goes to a big transition from qualifying to race time. Hopefully we can make the right adjustments throughout the weekend and have a good run.”
Like all drivers, the first step for Pollard will be qualifying for the race on Friday night. Once he’s able to accomplish that task, it will be all about survival and making it to the end of the 300-lap race.
“First you’ve got to lock in on Friday night and that’s tough,” Pollard explained. “There’s a good group of guys. Come Sunday you get locked in and it’s all about survival. So much more comes into play at the Snowball with live pit stops and just the competition level. It gets wild and it gets crazy.
“The racing is so much different than what we’re used to throughout the year. Come Sunday when the green flag drops, there’s no riding. Everyone is giving 100-percent and going all out. Some of these shorter races people ride to try to be there at the end. You’ve got to put yourself in position and the fastest car doesn’t always win the race.”
Fans wanting to meet Bubba can do so by stopping by the Speed51.com Kickoff Party hosted at Beef O’Brady’s in Downtown Pensacola on Tuesday, December 1.
From there, it will be all business for Pollard as he pulls triple duty. In addition to the Snowball Derby, Pollard will be defending his crown in the Snowflake 100 on Saturday night before competing in the 50-lap Pro Truck feature.
Race fans all over the world can tune into the Snowball Derby and watch Bubba by ordering a live pay-per-view package through Speed51 TV. Visit Speed51.com for more information.
For more information on Bubba Pollard, visit www.bubbapollard.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @BubbaPollard26 and “like” his Facebook page Bubba Pollard Racing.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com