Bubba Pollard has answered the bell.
After years of reading comments on social media asking him to compete in the prestigious Oxford 250, the Senoia, Georgia driver is ready to make the trip north to Oxford, Maine this August.
Pollard confirmed to Speed51.com on Tuesday afternoon that he will be competing in the 45th Annual Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on August 26.
“We’re excited about it. We know it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a challenge,” Pollard said. “There’s a lot of good race cars up there, a lot of local guys. We’ve never been there. It’s a tough place. Nothing is easy, but I think it’s going to definitely be more challenging for us up there at the 250.”
For Pollard, many of his plans this season have revolved around his goal of competing in the Oxford 250. Throughout the year he has competed at tracks similar to Oxford, such as Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), Berlin Raceway (MI) and Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC).
At each of those tracks, Pollard believes he took away pieces of information that will help his team during their Oxford 250 debut.
“We really worked hard this year. My goal from the beginning of the year was to make it to the Oxford 250,” Pollard commented. “We really worked hard going to places that we could take information from and apply it to Oxford. We’ve been to Hickory, Berlin and Greenville Pickens, some of those places that are round and don’t have much grip.
“We tried to make our flat track program better and I feel we’ve done that. I feel we’re better prepared this year than we would’ve been last year going into the race. We’ve taken a lot of notes, been to a lot of places and raced against those guys to get familiar with what we need to do up there.”
One big challenge that awaits Pollard, as well as the rest of the 50-plus drivers currently entered for the race, will be the all-important qualifying heat races.
While Pollard is more familiar with qualifying formats that include time trials, he does have experience with qualifying formats similar to the Oxford 250.
“I know this is crazy, but I feel like running the dirt car has actually helped us. Running dirt races has actually helped us with the heat races, qualifying, the draw and things like that,” Pollard explained. “We’re accustomed to it, as crazy as it sounds, but in a totally different area, different spectrum and different type of racing.
“It’s definitely going to be different for us. I’ve watched some of the races up there and the good race cars always make it in the race. There are some that don’t, but the fast cars always make it in. I feel like we’re just going to have to maybe take a different approach to things and use a different strategy towards the heat races; be more aggressive with heat races.”
Widely considered as one of asphalt racing’s few “Outlaws,” Pollard is looking forward to traveling to a region that he has not yet visited during his career. The opportunity to meet new fans and compete against different competition has him excited for his first visit to the Pine Tree State.
“It’s been fun meeting new people and making new fans. Short track racing is what I love, to be able to support it. I caught a lot of hell on social media for not coming to Maine to race. It’s tough. We want to make sure we put 110-percent into doing it. It’s not as easy as just packing up and going to race. You need to make sure your ducks are in a row. I’m excited to race with all those guys, meet new fans and let those guys see what we’re capable of.”
In advance of his Oxford 250 debut, Pollard has spoken to a number of people to obtain advice on what he needs to be successful at the tricky track, specifically when it comes to the engine packages allowed in Pro All Stars Series events.
“I feel like they have different rules with several different engine packages. I’ve talked to several different people and gotten help from competitors, people that probably don’t like me have helped me along the way for this race. I’ve had several people’s opinion. That was my biggest concern going into the race; making sure we took the right engine and things like that.”
As for what weapon Pollard will load into his Pollard Motorsports hauler for the Oxford 250, that will remain a secret for now.
“I don’t know if I should tell you what we’re going to bring,” Pollard joked. “I’ll kind of surprise everyone on that.”
Hoping to secure himself a guaranteed starting spot in the Oxford 250, Pollard plans to compete in the PASS South “Roads to Oxford and Richmond” qualifying race this Saturday night at South Boston Speedway (VA).
Race fans throughout the country will be able to watch Pollard’s first Oxford 250 attempt via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets for the weekend can be purchased now by clicking here.
-Story by Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com