Why Berlin Might be Pollard's Favorite Track

The No. 26 won a tune-up race for Money in the Bank last weekend.

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In some ways, Bubba Pollard is like a rookie again in advance of Money in the Bank at Berlin Raceway.

He still has all the experience in the world relative to the competition, but the 35-year-old is practically revisiting each track for the first time in his debut full-time season driving a Port City Race Car after years of driving a Senneker.

A car is a car, right, but there are nuances about each chassis that Pollard is having to learn when he returns to tracks he has visited numerous times over the past decade plus.

Berlin is no exception, which is why it was important for him to race and win on Saturday night in the tune-up race for the Money in the Bank.

"We're still learning this car and I know I say this every week but it's true," Pollard said. "Really, we unloaded off the trailer the way it raced, which was really good. It means we're headed in the right direction and doing the things we're supposed to do from race track to race track to pick up on it a little faster.

"It was good and it helped this past weekend to try different things and this track is so weather sensitive so it helps to be good."

Following a challenging 18 month stretch from 2020 to late 2021 where Pollard struggled to keep pace and finish races, Pollard eventually inked a deal to drive Port City Race Cars. Working directly with Chris Gabehart and Ryan Preece at the Snowball Derby signaled that both the driver and the chassis manufacturer had returned to the forefront of an industry recently dominated by HAMKE Race Car teams and drivers.

Pollard has already tried to run off the beaten path in that he started driving Sennkers when the industry made the hard pivot to FURY a couple of years ago following a stretch where Port City and GARC were in vogue.

It’s been a return to form for Pollard and his new combination with victories at New Smyrna in the Red Eye 50, Speedfest and Georgia Spring Nationals at Watermelon Capital Speedway. Really, the No. 26 has been competitive everywhere, even in races it hadn’t won like runner-up finishes to Ty Majeski at Citrus County and the Rattler 250.

For Berlin, it helps that Pollard loves the track and has all but listed it as his favorite track in the country right now.

How come?

"You can race all over the track," Pollard said. "You’ll see it (tonight) when you get this many good cars on the track. It’s a drivers race track. You have to be good. The car has to be good. you’ve got to take care of your tires. A whole list of things."

Berlin is unique in that it’s a constant turn, turning within the turn, which allows a lot of variables in set-ups and race approach for both corners of the track.

"You just have to work on all of it," Pollard said. "You just got to get it to turn left. Every track is different in how you get it within your comfort zone, but you’ve just got to get it turning left. It’s hard to explain but this place is tough."