Log Circa 2003 and 2004
Brad Pollard came to know racing as he watched his cousin, Art Pollard, successfully compete in Indy cars in the mid 60’s and early 70’s. “Art had a profound affect on me growing up. He was always so kind and generous with his time and smiles”. Brad crawled behind the wheel of a go kart at the age 11 and knew that was what he wanted to do someday, trying to follow in Art’s footsteps.
After Art’s tragic accident, at Indy in May of 1973, Pollard would not touch a race car again until age 17. Against his father’s knowledge and will, Brad drove a Fiat Spider in an SCCA Autocross in Bakersfield, California. “I don’t remember if I was any good at it but I knew it was something I wanted to continue doing if at all possible”.
While growing up Brad competed in Football and Track & Field as a Pole Vaulter. He was the first ever high school vaulter, in Kern County, California ever to clear 15 feet. He went on to pole vault for Bakersfield College and Fresno State. While attending Fresno State University, Brad ski raced giant slalom and slalom, winning several races.
It wasn’t until 14 years later that Pollard slipped behind the wheel of a Formula Ford at the Russel driving school at Sears Point, California. “I always knew that I wanted to race and be just like Art, this class confirmed it. It is hard to gauge if you’re good enough at something to pursue it professionally. My instructors said I had a level of natural ability that needed to be developed. I spent the next 4 years trying to get into some kind of car but no luck, I was just too busy working and racing proved to be too costly”.
Pollard turned to motorcycles starting down the path of Ducati’s at Laguna Seca. “I could tell to get any good at this type of racing it was going to cost time, money and bodily pain. I definitely felt the need for speed though”.
After moving to Utah, Pollard finally started to close in on his dreams. “There were no super bike tracks so I turned to go karts and discovered shifter karts, what a great way to race inexpensively”. Pollard raced the 1999 season in Utah and California. “It took some time but I eventually got better. To be any good at something, that physically demanding, took seat time which is what was best about karts, you get plenty of seat time.”
After moving to Dallas Texas and discovering Texas Motor Sport Ranch, Pollard realized he could train on Friday, Saturday and Sundays at the 1.9 mile road course. “I never knew something like this existed. What a great resource for drivers and teams”. Once Pollard discovered Formula Mazda’s he completely dedicated all free time to racing.
Pollard was crowned the 2002 Southwest Mazda champion and earned rookie of the year. His championship, earned prize money, BBS wheels and prizes and a test with a Pro Formula Atlantic race team, in early 2003. “I can’t believe I waited this long to get into racing”. Andy Granatelli once said that Art’s career started at the age of 40. Who knows maybe there is a chance for Brad to continue the Pollard racing legacy.
Pollard plans to race the 2003 season in Formula Mazda again. It remains to be seen just how far the test with the Formula Atlantics will allow Pollard’s attempt to compete at a higher level. One thing is for sure, somewhere along the line Brad inherited the Pollard competitive spirit and is driven to succeed in racing regardless of age. “I work out six days a week and continue to train with go karts during the off season. I intend to keep working hard while having a lot of fun”. Pollard attests some of the team’s good fortune to finishing every single race started. “This attests to the reliability of the Formula Mazda. It also means I didn’t force situations and backed off when needed”. Pollard raced with Texas Auto Sports and Red Beard Racing in 2002 and will continue with Red Beard Racing for 2003.
Career Stats Circa Spring 2004
Reg Pridmoore’s – Super Bike Class racing instruction – Laguna Seca, CA
Russel School – Formula Ford – race training – Sears Point, CA
Las Vegas Karting Center – 125 shifter Kart school, Las Vegas, NV
Jim Hall – Karting School, Oxnard, CA
Skip Barber – Advanced racing program – Daytona Beach, Fl
SCCA – Regional school – 1st place in class race
1999 – 5th – Utah State Championships, Salt Lake City, UT – 80cc shifter karts
1999 – 17th – IKF Grand Nationals – Willow Springs, California – 80cc shifter karts
1999 – 23rd – SKUSA – Super Nationals – Las Vegas, Nevada – 80cc shifter karts
2001 – December – 5th place – Southwest Series finale – (First race in a Formula Mazda)
2002 – Southwest Series Formula Mazda Champion
2002 – Southwest Formula Mazda Rookie of the Year
2002 – SCCA National Division Champion
2002 – Skip Barber Pro Dodge Series events ( a 5th and a 6th in Dodge series formula car)
13 – Pole positions
14 – 1st places (varying from 30 to 40 car fields)
4 – 2nd places (40 car fields – in one race came from 38th to finish 2nd)
1 – 4th place (40 car field)
1 – 12th place – (39 car field)
4 out 6 – National wins
2 – National seconds
2003 – Brad raced in two Menards Infiniti Pro Series races for Sam Schmidtt Motorsports at California Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
Report Circa Summer 2004
The Milwaukee 100 is the sixth race in the 12-race 2004 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ season.
Brad Pollard and the Milwaukee 100
The race got off to a great start for Brad and the #64. The opening laps saw a valiant lap-after-lap side-by-side battle for second spot between Pollard and eventual winner Paul Dana (above) as SSM teammate Thiago Meideros began taking command of the lead.
Pollard remained in third place until Thiago had a front wheel bearing take him out of the lead and out of the race. Pollard and the #64 were running in second with the rest of the pack closing on him fast. Brad Pollard’s career best MIPS finish came to a screeching halt as he spun exiting Turn 4 on Lap 97 and slid to a stop against the attenuator at the end of pit road. Jesse Mason, who started on the front row was following Pollard and lost control in the same spot. The car spun and made contact with the outside wall on the frontstretch.
Pollard ended up in fifth place overall as the race finished under the yellow flag. Paul Dana was declared the winner.
“It was a combination of tires, track conditions, wind and me pushing it too hard out of four to stay ahead of Jesse with only three laps to go. I ran hard into turn 3 and “pushed” up in the gray, then over slowed the car to get back into the groove, but needed to accelerate hard to get a good run out onto the main straight. I didn’t have enough tire to save me and the wind helped a little too.
Simply put, I made “a rookie mistake”. I learn more and more everytime I get out there, and I hope I am making you all proud.” Brad
Milwaukee 100 Qualifying
Brad Pollard qualified the #64 fourth fastest for the Inaugural Milwaukee 100 on his first of what was scheduled two lap attempts. Pollard spun the #64 on his second lap but made no contact with anything and completed the lap. Pollard’s first lap time was 25.5884 seconds at an average speed of 142.799 mph. The speed on Pollard’s qualifying lap was his fastest of the weekend thus far. Brad was just 0.7790 of a second slower than teammate Thiago Meideros who qualified for the pole position. The fourth place starting position is Pollard’s personal best so far this season.
The Milwaukee 100 is the sixth race in the 12-race 2004 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ season. The webcast (not video) can be seen starting at 1:00 PM (EDT) and the same day coverage of the race will be telecast on ESPN2, 3 p.m. (EDT), July 25.
In the third practice session Pollard was the 4th fastest of the group in the #64. Brad ran a total of 17 laps in the July 24th practice session with his best lap speed of 140.960 mph on his 16th circuit.
July 23 PM – In the afternoon session Pollard stepped it up with a 138.435 mph to be the 4th fastest of the session in the #64.
July 23 AM – Pollard and the #64 started the day as only the eighth fastest car at 135.845 mph. The team took the car back to the garages and worked on it for the afternoon session.
It has been over 30 years since the Pollard family has competed in a race at the famed Milwaukee Mile. The Milwaukee Mile is the site of Art Pollard’s first Indy Car triumph in 1969. For STP & Andy Granatelli it was quite a week, with Mario Andretti winning the Indy 500 and Art Pollard taking the STP colors to victory a week later at Milwaukee!
Brad Pollard will be racing the #64 on July 25th, with practice beginning on Friday the 23rd. Hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of cousin Art’s which lead to victory lane.
Disappointing Day at Nashville!
After qualifying eighth for the race at Nashville. Brad’s day coasted to a stop on the backstretch on the 61st lap. Apparently the loss of power was due to a fuel pressure problem. Pollard was towed back to the pits after bringing out the yellow flag for the tow in.
“We think we lost fuel pressure. We’re not exactly sure what it was, but the car just died on the restart. We can’t say enough about the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team. We really had a strong run going. We thought we had fourth place pretty easy because we were closing in on the guy, but I think it was a fuel-pressure problem. We will go back and figure it out, get back next week and get after it.”
Although it was a dismal race for Pollard, he did move up one position in the 2004 MIPS Point standings and is now 6th in the points.
Even though I had very limited time in the car at Kansas, the new team performed awesome and I learned a ton. I think we’re going to start doing better now. I am really looking forward to the race this weekend at Nashville.
Pollard will again drive the #64 in the Cleanevent 100 on Saturday, July 17, 2004 at Nashville Superspeedway. Let’s hope that it truly is a “Clean” event and Pollard can finish on the podium if not in the winner’s circle!
Pollard 5th at Kansas
Brad Pollard, driving a red & white #64 back-up car of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team, finished in fifth place and on the lead lap with teammate and winner Thiago Medeiros on July 3rd at Kansas Speedway. There was a close call for Brad when Sprint Car driver P.J. Chesson spun directly in front of him.
“Chesson spun right in front of me, I saw a small window between him and the wall and dove through; Billy tried to follow me, but the hole closed. Sorry for Billy Roe”.
Pollard remains 7th in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Points.
Pollard Back at SSM
Brad Pollard, will be at the wheel of the #64, Menard’s Infiniti Pro Series Car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Aventis Racing for Kids 100 race on July 3, 2004 at the Kansas Speedway.
The number 64 is the same number car Brad’s cousin Art Pollard last drove at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Pollard competed in the final two events of the 2003 season with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, but began this season driving for Kenn Hardley Racing. He finished fifth at Homestead-Miami and recorded 11th-place finishes at Phoenix and Indianapolis.
The relationship with Sam Schmidt Motorsports will allow Pollard to team with Thiago Medeiros and Arie Luyendyk Jr., who rank first and third, respectively, in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series points standings.
“Kenn Hardley runs a great organization with quality people and was a great owner to work with and drive for,” Pollard said. “As I learn at this new level, I struggled to communicate exactly how I needed the car to be set up to go fast.”
“I tested with Sam Schmidt Motorsports last year, and had a great working chemistry with his team. We approached Sam and he agreed to run me the remainder of this year and to help me learn to better communicate with the team. I’m also very excited about the opportunity to drive with guys like Thiago and Arie, just as I was to drive with Billy Roe.”
Pollard, who was the 2002 Southwest Formula Mazda Rookie of the Year, will also draw upon Schmidt’s experience as a former driver and owner in the IRL IndyCar Series® as he strives for that level.
“Sam will be a tremendous resource as I learn to communicate with the team and can provide a smooth transition for me when I make the step up to the IndyCar Series,” Pollard said.
Brad Pollard was looking for speed at the MIPS open test at Milwaukee on Tuesday 6/15. In doing so he ended up finding something he was not looking for! That was the end of the wall between the track and the pits!
This was the first incident of the season for the rookie driver, and he was happy to learn where the limit is on a test day, rather than on raceday, where it could possibly injure a competitor and lose valuable series points. At 11:47 a.m. the XBOX #24 driven by Pollard did a quarter spin on the exit to Turn 4 and made contact with the attenuator at the end of pit wall. There is damage to the right front of the car. Pollard climbed from the car without assistance from the Delphi IRL Safety Team.
“I’m just trying to learn the track, learning what it’s like to run on a flat track like this. I’m just working on getting quicker and quicker. We’re working on a lot of things with setup, and my driving style, and so we’re playing with different things. We were playing with getting the car a little bit looser versus a little bit of push, and we just got on a little bit too loose there. It came around in (Turn) 4, and what I did is just wrapped it up to keep it off the outside wall, and here comes the little barrier between the pit road, and we just tapped it. It’s unfortunate, but those things happen. We’ll make some changes and get back out there.” – Brad Pollard
I would like to extend the warmest thank you to all of my sponsors, team, friends and fans who have supported me and helped me get this far in reaching my ultimate goal of someday competing in the Indianapolis 500.
Please visit my sponsors and help show your support and let them know how much they mean to our sport of open wheel oval racing. Thank you all so much! – Brad Pollard