Commentary

Opinion: Appreciate Bubba Pollard and the outspoken Asphalt Late Model lifers

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Like him or hate him, the asphalt short track community needs more personalities like Bubba Pollard.

The 30-year-old has made numerous headlines over the past calendar year, ranging from his desire to form a race team council, winning the Money in the Bank 150 at Berlin Raceway in controversial fashion and then calling out the Midwest for producing (in his opinion) dirty drivers.

His bold opinions and sharp tongue have rubbed some the wrong way, but he’s good for business, and a benefit to asphalt short track racing.

In an industry decisively overrun by teenage NASCAR hopefuls, Pollard is a throwback Late Model lifer, whom has built his Senoia, Georgia race shop into an operation that can outrun those with manufacturer and Cup Series support.

He’s deeply invested in the discipline and wants to build it back into the major league of asphalt rather than Minor League NASCAR.

In many ways, he’s a modern day Super Late Model version of Darrell Waltrip or Rusty Wallace. He’s vocal, knows how to use the media to garner recognition and support, and is one of just a few recognizable national names in a form of racing that desperately needs them.

Think about Dirt Late Model racing for a second and the big personalities within it like Scott Bloomquist, Shane Clanton and Billy Moyer. They’re all straight-shooters and speak from the hip. Fans travel across the country to follow their exploits and have become invested in their journey.

That’s what Pollard brings to the table.

Redbud 400 winner Steven Wallace carries with him a very similar stereotype. He’s candid, doesn’t shy away from cameras or microphones and isn’t afraid to bruise feelings on or off-the-track. The same theory applies to Mr. Excitement Stephen Nasse too.

That’s not to say their brash nature is the model that all short track drivers should follow, but making a name for yourself can only be a benefit for Super Late Model racing. These are personalities that generate buzz for the industry.

They get people talking and drive traffic to websites like Short Track Scene.

It’s like Dale Earnhardt once said: “It doesn’t matter if fans boo or cheer, as long as they’re making noise.”

Short track racing has always been at its best with big personalities and rivalries between them. Like Bubba Pollard if you want to, and dislike him if you want, but thank God all of you feel something because that’s what keeps the show going.

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About Matt Weaver

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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