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Bubba Pollard Overcomes Qualifying Woes, Finishes 6th in Xfinity Debut

Bubba Pollard in the pits at Richmond Raceway after the ToyotaCare 250, 3/30/2024 (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

RICHMOND, Va. – Bubba Pollard climbed out of his No. 88 JR Motorsports machine after Saturday’s (March 30) NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 with an exhilarated “Woo!” and a smile.

The fastest driver in practice held at 8:30 a.m. ET that same morning, Pollard subsequently went out and qualified dead last of those that made a lap attempt less than an hour later.

Then, the driver making his series debut went out and finished sixth in the ToyotaCare 250.

“I needed track position and probably needed to be a little more aggressive on restarts and things like that,” Pollard said after the race. “… I tried hard as I could to be patient — it’s tough, because when you want to go, you want to go. It’s a lot of fun, they gave me a racecar and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to do it with.”

Pollard outran all of his fellow JR Motorsports teammates, including Justin Allgaier, who ran at or near the front most of the afternoon.

“I don’t feel like I overachieved,” Pollard said. “If I overachieved, I’d be winning the race. People were asking me ‘what do you expect?’ and “what are your goals?’ Realistically, a top 10, but when I wake up, I feel like I’ve got an opportunity, I’m capable of winning and the racecar’s capable of winning.”

Pollard laid down a lap at 22.855 seconds (118.136 mph) in the early morning practice, pacing the field, and then had to cut his way through the field once the green flag dropped.

“I hope so,” Pollard said when asked if he thought he’d made good on his hope to make the short-track community proud. “I disappointed them in qualifying. I know some people were laughing at me — hell, I was laughing at myself, I guess.

“If I wouldn’t have gotten us in that hole in qualifying, I think we could’ve had that track position and made a difference. It was a lot of fun.”

For the veteran late model driver, the afternoon unfolded in a methodical fashion, with the No. 88 slowly working his way through the field as the laps went on.

He had yet to crack the top 30 with over 10 laps complete, but was 21st by lap 50 under caution and 15th a few laps after the ensuing restart. He sat in the top 15 at the end of stage one and remained around that running position until late in the race, when the final stage saw the No. 88 continue his advance.

“I knew we had a better racecar than some of those guys that we started around. I just needed…

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