MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Bubba Pollard is hoping to cross another crown-jewel late model race off his bucket list this year with the help of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pollard has teamed with Earnhardt and JR Motorsports to enter the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 for late model stock cars on Oct. 5 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It will be Pollard’s second attempt at the annual event, which saw him finish 26th last year after crashing while battling for the lead late in the race.
“It’s really amazing and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be able to drive for JR Motorsports,” Pollard told SPEED SPORT Monday afternoon. “We’re really looking forward to it. Really excited. I guess the pressure is on me now. Hopefully, we can go out and perform. I’m with one of the best teams in the country as far as late model stocks, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Pollard explained that Josh Berry, JR Motorsports’ resident late model stock car racer and champion driver, reached out to him about joining JR Motorsports for the race.
“Josh Berry gave me a call and asked if I might be interested in the deal,” Pollard recalled. “Dale Jr. and him had talked about it and I guess Kelley (Earnhardt) and L.W. (Miller). They kind of approached me with the deal. They knew we were kind of looking for a deal to put together and looking for a ride and opportunity to go to Martinsville.
“They asked me and I can’t turn down a ride in top-notch equipment like JR Motorsports.”
Despite the bad taste left in his mouth after crashing with Layne Riggs and Peyton Sellers late in last year’s race, Pollard said the history of the event convinced him to give it another shot.
“It’s on the bucket list. I thought, all in all, for my first experience at Martinsville I had a great time,” said Pollard, who has victories in numerous iconic late model races on his résumé. “Some of the all-time greats have won that race. You look at Lee Pulliam and all those guys who have won that race, it would be cool if I could add my name or Pollard Motorsports to that list. It would be cool, it would be special to me and my family.
“It’s a crown-jewel event. That’s one thing that we’ve been lucky enough, fortunate enough to chase over the last few years, some of these crown-jewel events.”
The car Pollard will drive will be prepared by Berry and the JR Motorsports team and carry the No. 98. Berry will also compete in the race as a teammate to Pollard.
Pollard noted the opportunity to drive for Earnhardt was an opportunity he simply couldn’t pass up.
“It’s amazing. Growing up racing and working hard and seeing what my family has had to go through and put in…all this work that goes into racing each and every week and we’ve been successful,” Pollard said. “For Dale Jr. to take notice of what my team has accomplished over the last couple of years and give us this opportunity is really special to not only me, but everyone that has helped me over the years.
“My family and all the guys that work, my sponsors, it’s big for all of us.”
Depending on how the race goes, Pollard said there is a chance he’ll end up back with JR Motorsports for additional races. For now, he said the focus is to deliver a Grandfather clock and a $25,000 check to Earnhardt after the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
“There has been talk, if it all goes well at Martinsville, hopefully, we can run a few more,” Pollard said. “You never know what the future might hold. We’re working on it. Hopefully, we’ve got to have a good run at Martinsville first and we can get the opportunity to run for JR Motorsports again in the future.”