When it comes to driving a race car, there’s not many things Bubba Pollard can’t do. But when it comes to playing a guitar, apparently Bubba Pollard can’t do that.
“I’m not too good at playing guitar. But look at Casey (Roderick). He’s won 10 of them and he still can’t play it,” Pollard said with a laugh.
“It would be really cool to have another one, though.”
Pollard has a guitar from the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) in his Senoia, Georgia house from when he won the All-American 400 two years ago. Now he wants another one. He wants another one so badly on November 4 that he even took his team to the legendary race track in Music City this week to go testing. And he hates testing.
“I didn’t really want anybody to know I was testing because I’m against testing,” he said. “But when you suck at a race track you’ve got to go test, right?”
Pollard won the prestigious All-American 400 two years ago. He’s finished second in the race twice. But he just said that he isn’t that good at Nashville.
“It’s been hit or miss. We’ve either been really good or really terrible,” Pollard clarified. “We’ve never had a good baseline and that was the biggest reason why we wanted to go test was to get a baseline to work off. We’ve really never had that there.”
The 31-year-old driver has solidified himself at the top of the heap of Super Late Model drivers in America in recent years with wins at the Winter and Summer Showdowns, the Oxford 250, the All-American 400, the Slinger Nationals and more. At this point, it’s easier to list the races he has yet to win than it is the races he has won.
And yet, Pollard is correct when he says he’s been hit or miss at the 5/8-mile Nashville track. He’s finished second twice in the All-American and has the win, but he’s also finished seventh, 11th and 20th. In the North/South SLM Challenge 100-lap race at Nashville, Pollard has finishes of third, 30th and 33rd. In the interest of full disclosure, his 33rd-place finish was the result of a mechanical issue just five laps into the race.
But statistically, Pollard is proven correct when he says he’s been hit or miss at Nashville. He said that his struggles are due in part because of his own “laid back” driving style.
“I more let the race come to me. I don’t drive aggressively I don’t feel like, and I think that’s what the race track likes. I had to change my driving style to the race track, which a lot of places a laid back driving style mostly works everywhere.”
Pollard added that what makes the All-American 400 such a difficult race is the length coupled with the track needing an aggressive driving style, and that makes for a fine line that a driver has to toe.
“You have to drive the race track aggressively, but at the same time you have to save your equipment. It does make it tough. As the race goes on throughout the 400 laps I feel like we give up the most time on fresh tires and early in races. I think as the race goes on and the tires wear out, then we let the race come to us. Towards the end of the races there when everything settles in, I think my driving style comes back in the longer races. If we can just get to that point then we’ll be fine, and that’s what we did a couple of years ago. We put ourselves in a position the year we won it. We had a good enough car to make something happen at the end, and hopefully we can put ourselves in that position again.”
Some people find a challenge to be fun. They don’t want things to come easy. Pollard doesn’t want his wins to be easy either, but winning is more fun than the challenge is.
“We don’t like to lose. I don’t like to lose. It’s challenging for us to try to figure out. With the will to want to win, you try to get better and not lay over and give up,” Pollard said. “It’s kind of like Kyle Busch. The guy gets mad and sometimes doesn’t want to talk to media or whatever because he wants to win and he’s passionate about what he does. That’s the way I feel about Nashville. The more we struggle up there, the harder we work. So we’ll keep working hard and hopefully it’ll turn around for us.”
The challenge sometimes makes things feel more rewarding, though. Pollard admitted that a second guitar at the house in Senoia would be even more special than the first one.
“To know we’ve won the race, but we’ve been terrible at Nashville in years past makes me want to do it even more. It would mean a lot to get a second guitar when the first one I feel like could have been a fluke kind of thing.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo