Judy Pollard Dippel is the sole surviving child of Art Pollard. Her brother Mike Pollard passed away in 2009 from complications from a chemotherapy regimen. He wrote this for his Dad’s website several years before his death.
I was born June 9, 1947, in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon. I got introduced to racing by the age three when Dad raced the little 10’ Hydro Boats down the Umpqua River in north Roseburg. By the time I was six years old, Dad was racing Micro Midgets inside the Roseburg Fairgrounds Pavilion. In the mid 50’s Dad got his first “Hardtop,” and as they say, the rest is history.
As a young boy growing up with my father being a race car driver, everyone in school thought that was the coolest thing. As a family, we traveled throughout the Northwest and Canada to the different places where Dad would race. It was quite a thrill for me as a young boy, especially since Dad won just about every race he competed in. Many men would race for 2nd place, because they knew Dad was going to win. As a family, we had confidence in him to do just that.
We (Dad, Mom, and younger sister, Judy) lived in Roseburg until I was in the 9th grade, then we moved to Medford Oregon. I started playing football, baseball, & basketball from the 4th grade on. I graduated from Medford High in 1965 and went on to Southern Oregon College for three years where I also played basketball.
I had a great dad and mom. And I remember Dad always had time to help me with anything I needed, and practice with me in whatever sport I was playing at the time. He taught me to single water ski by the age of ten. Later in high school, I competed in the water ski slalom course, and also speed skiing. It was quite a thrill to water ski at 90 mph. During the high school years, I also enjoyed doing some go-kart racing.
As far as me and racing cars, at the time I guess I just enjoyed watching Dad more, rather than doing it myself. I always seemed to have a fast car though. Like most boys in those days, we would gather and do a little impromptu drag racing with our cars. From my 1965 Chevelle, to a 1930 2-Door Ford Sedan with a 327 Chevy. I built that car with my best friend (and with a little help from Dad).
Then I graduated to Corvettes. The first being a 1977, then to a 1992, which we still have. My wife, Georgia and I belong to a Corvette Club, and have enjoyed the races, the road trips and activities with the group in Sacramento for 20 years.
I got involved with the open road racing that is held in Nevada each year—through our Corvette Club. There are about 15 of our members that participate in these events. Roger Ward (ex Indy winner) was the promoter of these events. One is called the Pony Express Run, which is a 83 mile race held from Battle Mountain Nevada, to Austin, Nevada. The other is called The Gamblers Twin 50, which is held out of Elko, Nevada. The state of Nevada closes off the state highway for a day to hold the race.
The first year I participated in the 110 mph bracket. I have also run the 120 mph class and two years ago I ran the 130 mph class. The “need for speed” never seems to leave.
I have always been very competitive. I started bowling at the age of eight, and by the time I was an adult was carrying a 205 average. After completing school, I played city league softball, volleyball, and basketball. I competed in a free throw shooting contest against the world champion at half-time of a Fresno State basketball game. I made 92 out of 100 free throws. The world champion at the time only made 86 of 100. Not bad!
I will always have so many great memories of Dad’s racing career, but going to Indy with him in 1967 and 1968 will always be the highlight. Watching him win in Milwaukee, WI, the Rex Mays 200 Classic, in 1969, on the Wide World of Sports was pretty cool too.
There is a special reason for me putting #64 on my Corvette that you see in the photo in this section.
On May 5, 1973, (Dad’s birthday) we talked and he told me “This is the year.” “We have a shot at winning this year.” “This is the best and fastest car I have ever had at the Speedway.” Today, as I write this, my Corvette is the fastest car I have ever had, so every time I strap the helmet on, I think of Dad and what he said, “I have a shot at winning this year.” I will never forget that last conversation with him. To our family, the joy and optimism he felt with that car, and with that number, will always be remembered.
The thing that is probably the most remarkable to me, is that thirty years later, wherever I go, people are still talking about Dad. What a genuine, first class man he was. Always had time to talk to people. Never a bad word ever spoken about him.
Gods Speed DAD!
MICHAEL ALAN POLLARD
1947 – 2009
A celebration of life service will be held for Michael Alan Pollard on Saturday, August 29, 2009 at Mountain View Mortuary, Reno, NV. Mike passed away Saturday, August 22 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno, at the age of 62 from complications associated with esophageal cancer.
Mike was born in Roseburg, OR, June 9, 1947 to Art and Claudine Pollard. For over twenty years, Mike enjoyed a career working in retail jewelry sales. The last seven years he worked for Kenny G & Company Fine Jewelers in Sacramento and Reno, a company he felt privileged to represent.
Mike is survived by his wife, Georgia; his mother and sister, five children, twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Services will be at Mountain View Mortuary, 425 Stoker Avenue, Reno, NV. Saturday, August 29. An optional viewing will start at 2:30 p.m. and the service at 3 p.m. A reception following the service will be provided by the Reno LeTip Group. His family suggests donations be sent to: Indianapolis “500” Oldtimers, 45 Woodview Drive, Pittsboro, IN 46167-9503 in memory of Mike Pollard to honor his father, Art Pollard.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on Aug. 28, 2009