It doesn’t really matter where he’s racing or what he’s driving; Bubba Pollard is a threat to win.
And win he does.
By our count, Pollard has notched his belt 14 times this season at 10 different tracks — both asphalt and dirt— in six states and two countries. Throw in a World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Super Late Model championship and you’ve got another stellar year for the Georgian driver that isn’t even finished yet.
Out of all the opportunities afforded to him this year, including a JR Motorsports ride for the ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville Speedway that resulted in a top-five finish, perhaps Pollard’s most compelling performance has been his runs as a substitute veteran in the iconic TM Ranch No. 11 Super Late Model.
Back in February during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), it was announced that Pollard would be driving in David Rogers’ place due to the 63-year-old undergoing minor surgery that led to the discovery of cancer.
Nearly nine months later, Pollard is still driving for Rogers and Rogers is still fighting for his life.
Filling legendary shoes throughout the season isn’t the role that Pollard necessarily wanted to play given the situation but it’s one he’s not taking for granted, either.
“I hate the circumstances that have led to me driving the car,” Pollard told Speed51. “But I feel really fortunate to drive for a great team and someone that’s been with TM Ranch for almost 30 years. It’s not every day that a driver has to step out and let someone take over his racecar. So it means a lot for me to jump in his car, one they’ve had so much success with over the years. I’m just very honored and privileged to drive for them.”
The Hart to Heart 100, this Saturday’s Southern Super Series finale at New Smyrna, will be Pollard’s third event in Rogers’ machine and his fourth chance to win for the TM Ranch team. Pollard came close to four victories while competing in the Clyde Hart Memorial over the summer, but finished one position short to Jeff Choquette.
Aside from the possibility of another win, Pollard plans to use the race to help fine-tune setups on both his and Rogers’ cars for upcoming marquee Super Late Model shows.
“It kind of works out good for both teams, that we can concentrate certain cars to certain places this time of the year with some of these big races,” Pollard said. “It’s a great opportunity to get a baseline for the Florida Governor’s Cup. David’s car will race this weekend then come back in a few weeks and we can take our program, my No. 26 car, and focus on the All American 400 and the Derby. Hopefully, we can be ahead of the game.”
Though his invitation to drive for Rogers has been extended on a race-by-race basis, it’s looking like Pollard will be competing in orange, white and blue horsepower at least one more time following this weekend at the Florida half mile.
“For now, we are planning on running the Governor’s Cup and for now, it’s going to be in David’s car,” Pollard said. “David is doing better, he’s building his strength back. The process has just taken longer than they had hoped.”
Race fans unable to make it to New Smyrna Beach, Florida this Saturday will be able to watch a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51. Live video tickets can be purchased for just $19.99 by visiting www.speed51.com/harttoheart.
-Story by: Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51photos.com