Riding the momentum of a season-opening win in the Red-Eye 100 at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), southern short track star Bubba Pollard has confirmed with Speed51.com that he will be traveling west to Kern County Raceway Park (CA) for the inaugural $25,000-to-win Winter Showdown on February 28.
Pollard, the 2014 Southern Super Series champion, will be making the trip with his own No. 26 Super Late Model team. The trip will be the Senoia, Georgia driver’s first to the West Coast and first trip west beyond the state of Alabama.
“It’s something different and you’re racing against new people, Pollard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I think it’s one of the biggest short track races. So I feel like if a promoter or race track is trying to put on a big race at the short track level than its good for all short track racers to try to support it. It will be something different for us and our racing program.
“We haven’t raced anywhere that far west. Pensacola and Mobile is the farthest we’ve really went west. It’s going to be new for us with a lot of traveling.”
Goals for his trip to “The Golden State” are pretty simple for Pollard: Win the race, deposit the $25,000 first-place check into his bank account and bring the inaugural Winter Showdown trophy back to the “Peach Tree State.”
“We’re not going out there to run top-five or run top-10, we’re going to win,” said Pollard. “I think our team is capable of winning, so we’re going out there for one thing. That’s to bring the trophy back to the East coast and back to the state of Georgia.”
How is Pollard preparing to race in a different time zone and at a race track he’s never seen in person?
Let’s just say technology is a great thing.
“We’ve been watching some racing on YouTube trying to learn as much as I can,” he said. “I’ve also been trying to study some of the rule packages that series has out there. The race track kind or reminds me of Mobile in a way. It looks like a very fast place. It’s smooth with high grip right around the bottom. It’s a very nice facility and they’ve done a great job with it. I’m just trying to study up on it and learn as much as I can before we head out there.”
Once Pollard lands in California, he hopes that he will be able to work together with fellow East Coast drivers Preston Peltier and Chris Davidson. Bot Pelteir and Davidson are also on the entry list for the Winter Showdown. He said he has talked to Peltier on occasion leading up to the event.
“I really don’t know anyone out that way, so it’s hard to talk to those guys,” Pollard said when asked if he’s talked to any of the West Coast drivers who have experience at Kern County. “Preston (Peltier) and I have talked a little bit about going and hopefully when we get out that way we can work with some of those guys and bounce information off of each other to try to pick up on it a little quicker.
“Hopefully we can all work together and all represent the East Coast as best as we can. But in the end, hopefully we can bring the big trophy back to Georgia.”
"It's great having Bubba entered in the Winter Showdown, he's one of the biggest names in our sport. It's not often we get to see top drivers from the southeast compete against the best drivers here in the west," Brian Olsen of the SRL Southwest Tour said. "Bubba has an impressive resume, we look forward to him and his team being at the Winter Showdown."
Throughout the three-day race weekend, Pollard will be carrying primary sponsorship from JEGS.com but he said the door is open for potential sponsors interested in supporting his team’s trip to the West Coast.
As far as his travel to the West Coast, Pollard is hoping to add a few frequent flyer miles and get the cheapest rate for his flight from Georgia to California. The 34-hour one-way drive made it an easy decision to make the trip in the sky rather than the ground.
“Right now we have two truck drivers that are going to swap out,” said Pollard. “My dad’s going to drive the hauler as well as another guy. Right now we’re going to try to book flights early enough to fly out there.
“It’s a little bit too far for us to drive. It’s far enough that we don’t want to drive.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com