Pollard Set For Xfinity Debut With JR Motorsports


Bubba Pollard will drive for JR Motorsports in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start later this spring. (Adam Fenwick/NASCAR photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Multi-time late model champion Andrew “Bubba” Pollard will finally get his chance to appear on the NASCAR stage this spring, and he’ll do so in top-tier equipment.

Revealed Thursday morning, Pollard will pilot JR Motorsports’ potent No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro when he makes his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on March 30.

Rheem Manufacturing will back Pollard’s effort with the team co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, as well as Earnhardt’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller.

It’s a watershed moment for the 37-year-old native of Senoia, Ga., who has won more than 100 late model races in his decorated career, including the All-American 400 at Nashville (Tenn.) Fairgrounds Speedway, the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway, and the World Crown 300 at the now-defunct Gresham Motorsports Park in his home state.

Most recently, Pollard triumphed in an ASA-sanctioned super late model start during SpeedFest at Cordele (Ga.) Motor Speedway for the third time.

“I’m very excited,” said Pollard, the 2014 ASA Southern Super Series champion, of his upcoming Xfinity Series start. “I really don’t know what to expect as it’s all very new to us, but I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Rheem and JR Motorsports have given me. I hope we can make the most of it.

“I’ve never had any laps at Richmond, and I haven’t driven an Xfinity car, so it’s all going to be new.”

Pollard becomes the latest star from short-track racing to make a NASCAR national series start with JR Motorsports, joining current JRM Xfinity Series star Sam Mayer and recent Daytona 500 winner William Byron, who raced with JRM in late models and the Xfinity Series prior to joining Hendrick Motorsports.

It’s a pipeline viewed as “very important” to the sport’s continued health, according to Earnhardt Miller.

“JR Motorsports has grown so much over the years,” said Earnhardt Miller, CEO of JR Motorsports. “But the core of what we do, from our championship-winning late model team to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, is to produce championship drivers and team personnel. Bubba Pollard is a great example of that sort of progression, and we’re proud to support him alongside a great partner in Rheem Manufacturing.”

Founded in 1925, Rheem Manufacturing is the only manufacturer worldwide to produces heating, cooling, water heating, pool & spa heating and commercial refrigeration products.

The company is the largest manufacturer of water heating products in North America.

“Bubba Pollard represents everything that’s good about racing from the sport’s grass roots to the highest levels, said Ed Raniszeski, Rheem’s motorsports executive. “What’s so admirable about Bubba and others like him is their lifetime investment in quality performance, professional dedication, doing things right, and giving it their best all the time, even when they think no one is watching.

“That’s why Rheem, the Earnhardt and Miller families, and many others are thrilled to give Bubba the chance he’s earned and deserves to show others what we have been watching in amazement for years.”

In preparation for his Xfinity Series start at Richmond, Pollard will race the ARCA Menards Series event at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. – the home of the prestigious Snowball Derby super late model event which Pollard has competed in for nearly two decades – to begin adapting to a heavier stock car.

But beyond just one race, Pollard is appreciative of JRM and Rheem’s continued efforts to help give deserving short-track racers a platform to advance and show their talents to a wider audience.

“Dale and Kelley and Rheem have a history of giving guys like me opportunities to race at the next level, opportunities that normally wouldn’t happen,” Pollard said. “I have a lot of respect for them for how much they offer to drivers like me. It’s pretty cool to be part of it.

“You never know what might happen in the future.”

Pollard also has a full slate of late model racing on tap this year, both in super late models and with the zMAX CARS Late Model Stock Tour.

The ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET on March 30, with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.