Bubba Pollard has won nearly everything there is to win when it comes to asphalt Late Model racing in North America, but he hasn't won the biggest race of them all. This weekend, with a new piece of metal under him, Pollard will attempt to win the race that has eluded him: the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
The 31-year-old short track star from Senoia, Georgia has made 12 previous attempts to capture the Tom Dawson Trophy, with a career-best finish of third one year ago.
This year, with a brand new No. 26 Super Late Model underneath him, Pollard is feeling confident heading into the big race.
“I have a lot of confidence in the guys that help me put them together and the team," Pollard told Speed51.com. "I have a lot of confidence in the race cars. You hear that a lot of people are scared of bringing new cars but there’s nothing better than a new piece of metal. That’s when they’re the best. That’s when they’re the fastest. We built one back in July and won the first four races with it."
Pollard tested the car at Five Flags Speedway prior to the start of the week-long event. Overall, he was happy with his new piece and believes it will have the long-term speed to put him in contention for the win.
“I think it’s good. I think we’ll be alright. I mean, you never know. I think it’s got speed," Pollard stated. "There are going to be some good cars here that are going to be able to cut some good laps but in a race run I think we’re as good as anybody. We’ll see. I’m happy with it. It showed good speed the other day at the test and hopefully it’s better."
One year ago, Pollard had what many would consider to be his best shot at finally winning the Snowball Derby. He started second, and led over half of the race (157 laps) before fading to third during a long green flag run at the end.
While he believes that race was a good learning experiencing for his team, Pollard knows that this year's race could play out completely different. From his standpoint, he's focusing solely on preparation and having his car the best it can be during the 300-lap extravaganza.
“It’s hard. You never know how the race is going to play out. All you can do is prepare the race car the best you can and make those decision on what to do, when to go and when to ride," he said. "Hell, I don’t know if you ever ride in the Derby. It’s one of those races where you don’t ride anymore. There’s so many good racecars out there, it’s hard to gain positions on people. I don’t think you ride anymore. You always learn and it’s always in the back of your head, the things that happened last year.”
With his mind focused on the prize, Pollard isn't interested in hypothetical situations. He doesn't know what it would feel like if he finally wins the most prestigious Super Late Model race in the country; he just wants to win so that he can experience what it feels.
“I don’t know. That’s a question I can’t answer until I win it," Pollard said when asked about what it would mean to win the Snowball Derby. "It’s what we work hard for each and every weekend all year long. I’ll tell you how it feels after I win.”
Race fans unable to attend the 51st Annual Snowball Derby in person will be able to watch a pay-per-view broadcast all week long on Speed51.com. Individual video tickets are currently available for purchase. Click here to buy your video ticket today.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com