2024 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Richmond Raceway

Bubba Pollard Turns Heads In NASCAR Xfinity Series Debut At Richmond

Bubba Pollard Turns Heads In NASCAR Xfinity Series Debut At Richmond

Short track racing star Bubba Pollard turned heads with an impressive sixth-place finish in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

Mar 30, 2024 by Brandon Paul

Short track racing ace Bubba Pollard had the attention of the motorsports world Saturday afternoon during his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Richmond Raceway. Pollard, who is widely regarded as the best pavement late model racer over the last decade, ended a rollercoaster day with an impressive sixth-place finish. 

Before even taking the green flag, Pollard experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows. A day that began with his No. 88 JR Motorsports car at the top of the practice charts took a turn for the worst when a slip-up in qualifying relegated him to a 37th-place starting position on the last row of the grid. 

But once the green flag waved, Bubba Pollard did Bubba Pollard things. Using the patience he's demonstrated on short tracks for years, the Senoia, Georgia veteran methodically worked his way through the field to gain 23 positions and finish 14th in the first stage of the 250-lap race. 

Related: How Bubba Pollard Landed A Ride With JR Motorsports

A slight hiccup during his first pit stop saw him drop five spots in the lineup and restart 19th for the start of the second stage. Battling a tight car for the majority of the stage, Pollard hung around the back half of the top 20 before making a few late passes to finish 15th in stage two. 

The turning point in the race occurred on Lap 173 when a caution for Joey Gase slowed the field and gave Pollard the chance to pit for fresh tires. The call made by JR Motorsports crew chief Andrew Overstreet paid off, as Pollard used his fresher tires to carve through the field one by one over the final green flag run.  

Pollard cracked the top 10 for the first time with 44 laps remaining and continued moving forward from there on his way to a sixth-place finish. 

"I put us behind in qualifying there and it made for a long day. But these guys at JR Motorsports, (Crew Chief) Andrew (Overstreet) gave me a great race car, and (Spotter) TJ (Majors) on top of the roof. I needed that green flag run to just kind of get in a rhythm. This place is tough, it's technical. It's probably one of the toughest places I've been to and I've been to a lot of people. If I wouldn't have put us behind, I think we could've had a top five. I'm happy with it. I enjoyed it and I had fun. Hopefully the fans enjoyed it, too."

When asked by FOX Sports reporter Regan Smith if his impressive run could lead to future starts, Pollard was optimistic that additional opportunities may arise. 

"I hope so. Hopefully we can find some sponsorship and maybe go to some different places later on in the year, maybe next year or something. The door is open. If we can have sponsors jump on board, we'd love that to happen."