NORWALK, Ohio (November 5, 2013) – Kevin Pollard had one heck of a year.
The 36-year-old racer out of Fincastle, Virginia has racked up big money wins, two track championships, a couple of Summit SuperSeries championships and recorded a big win at the Division 1 Summit Team Finals at Piedmont Dragway representing his home track of Motor Mile Dragway.
But all of that couldn't compare to the weekend he put together in Memphis at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals.
With the Mod ET World Championship on the line, Pollard went four huge rounds at Memphis International Raceway to capture his very first world championship driving his all black 1972 Chevrolet LUV pickup to a final round win over Jay Norris in the Summit SuperSeries championship race.
"I have been racing for about 12 years and this is by far the biggest win I have ever had," Pollard said. "It feels great to know that I am a champion. There are a lot of racers here that are a lot better than me and I learn a lot from them and to be able to come away from this group with the win means a lot to me."
Pollard traveled to Memphis representing Motor Mile Dragway after winning the Division 1 Summit Team Finals the week prior. His opponent, South Carolina's Jay Norris, finished runner-up at the Division 2 East Team Finals representing Union County Dragway.
After rain washed out Saturday's finals, Pollard and the rest of the Mod ET competitors were forced to wait another day to get in the big race. And after the extended wait, Pollard added to the weight on his shoulders after he missed the tree in qualifying and fell down the charts. Norris, on the other hand, took first on the list.
"The rain got to me a bit," Pollard said. "I like a little faster race, so you don't have as much time to think about it, but once we got the first pass done today I felt a little better. Although I did miss the tree in qualifying and I was a little nervous after that, but I knew it was my fault so after I calmed down I felt a bit better and just went to work."
After buckling down and getting his mind straight, Pollard fired off three big wins over Greg Sauvage, Brad Hall and Andy Closkey – all with lights of .025, .019, .024 – before meeting Jay Norris in the final. Norris had wins over Kevin Grider, Larry Cannon and Travis Snowden to reach the final.
With a tough matchup in the final, Norris jumped the gun and flipped the red bulb on by -.029, handing Pollard the win and his first championship.
"Going into the final I really wanted to just try and be the same as I had been the rounds before," Pollard said. "While watching the tree I saw my competitor take a lunge at the starting line into the second stage beam and I had a feeling it wasn't going to go well for him."
Mod ET Final – Jay Norris (near) vs. Kevin Pollard
With the fastest car on the property in the Mod ET class, consistently running in the low eight second range at over 150 miles per hour, Pollard used his skill behind the wheel to overcome some close matchups throughout the day. In round one Pollard overcame a .000 light by opponent Sauvage with an 8.378 on an 8.37 dial, followed by two rounds where his opponent was either early (-.033 by Hall) or incredibly late (.058 by Closkey) to advance to the final.
With the win Pollard not only gets the title of world champion, but he claims an awesome prize package that includes $10,000 from Summit Racing Equipment, a $2,500 gift certificate from Trick Flow, a Gemini two-post Auto Lift, a Howell pit bike, a vacation to Aruba and world championship swag including an Ironman, ring and a gold and silver card.
"I want to thank my wife Tina first and foremost. She goes everywhere with me and allows me to do all of this," Pollard said. "I also want to thank my kids, my motor man Nesbitt, Todd Austin who does my transmission, Mark Booth who does all of my chassis work, Summit Racing Equipment for this awesome series and IHRA."