Upcoming Events on

RATV white
Full Schedule

Bubba Pollard on Sixth Place Finish in NASCAR Debut: 'I'm Happy With It'

Super Late Model star Bubba Pollard finally got his chance at his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the age of 37, and he capitalized by scoring a sixth-place finish in the Toyota Care 250 at Richmond Raceway.


hero image for Bubba Pollard on Sixth Place Finish in NASCAR Debut: 'I'm Happy With It'

Bubba Pollard is a short track star. There is no doubt about that. But there was doubt about whether the 37-year-old bullring virtuoso could come in and compete against the weekly racers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and put in a top-10 result. In what amounted to an up and down, and then up again day at Richmond Raceway, Pollard methodically worked his way from the 37th starting spot to finish sixth in the Toyota Care 250.

After climbing from his car, Pollard was elated by his finishing result, and he said he really had a great time.

"It was a lot of fun," Pollard said of his NASCAR debut. "I had to be patient. I just -- man, you can drive those Super cars, I'm so used to, you can drive them so hard each and every lap. You gotta really be disciplined to drive these things. I've got a lot of respect for the guys that drive them each and every week. This is a pretty technical place. Gotta be smart."

At the start of the day, Pollard paced NASCAR Xfinity Series practice, and it looked like he would be a threat to win the race in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. However, in qualifying, it all went awry for him as he got loose on his run, and turned in the slowest lap of anybody that completed a lap in the session.

Pollard admits that he went from the highest of highs in practice to the lowest of lows in qualifying. But his spotter TJ Majors, and the entire team did a great job keeping him mentally in the game all race long.

"I needed guys like that in my ear to keep me pumped up," Pollard stated. "I was down after qualifying. Kinda put us behind. I just needed track position. I didn't do well in the pits. Just all of those things that makes a difference in running the top-three I felt like. Had a lot of speed. Andrew did a great job, I enjoyed working with those guys. Hopefully we can do it again."

After the run Pollard had Saturday at Richmond, it would be crazy to think he'd be a one-and-done NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor. In fact, it's almost shocking that there isn't a car being fielded for him next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Sixth-place finishes aren't easy to come by, and Pollard nabbed it in his very first attempt.

While the end result was great, Pollard struggled early in the race as he was attempting to understand the braking system in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race car. While he had butterflies in his tummy about whether the brakes would do what he was asking them to do, Pollard settled in around the mid-way point of the race, and he really came to life.

"I was able to move around there. I struggled with the braking in the race car. I didn't really trust it. It took me until halfway through the race to trust my brake package," Pollard said. "I didn't know if I was using too much. I was getting kinda free in. It was just kind of doing all kinds of different things there. So, once I trusted the brake package, I could arch it out, and turn across the center. But man, it's tough when you're sliding around out there, but it's fun."

Part of the fun for Pollard was the incredible respect that he saw on display throughout the entire race from the other 37 competitors in the field.

"I thought they did a great job all day. A lot of these guys got to experience; I would overdrive the corner many of times and get into [people] -- I think AJ [Allmendinger] was kind of ticked off with me there for a minute," Pollard recalled. "And Parker [Kligerman] raced me pretty much all day. I have a lot of respect for these guys, and they raced me clean. That's all you can ask for."

At the end of the day, Saturday's Toyota Care 250 at Richmond Raceway was a dream come true for the grizzled Super Late Model veteran. And it was a dream that he never felt he would get a chance to realize.

"I didn't. I thought I'm 37 years old, I thought my day is done," Pollard said with emotion in his voice. "I always wanted just the opportunity. Just to say I did it once, and say I had a good run. I thought we practiced well. I learned a lot qualifying, and we had a great race trim here. To say I get to do it one time, I'm happy with it."

If this is Pollard's one and only NASCAR National Series start, he put in one hell of an effort, and he came away with a solid finish. He now knows that if the cards would have fallen just right in his career, that he could have made it as a NASCAR star.

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

RA Icon


Sign-up for our free NASCAR & Grassroots racing newsletter...