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.
Brad ready to test an IPS car
Most recently Brad tested an Infiniti Pro Series car for Sam Schmidtt Motorsports running very impressive lap speeds at Chicagoland Speedway. For a complete story on this test please visit Brad's website www.PollardRacing.com. Career stats:
2001 – December - 5th place - Southwest Series finale - (First race in a Formula Mazda)
2002 – Skip Barber Pro Dodge Series events ( a 5th and a 6th in Dodge series formula car)
4 out 6 - National wins
2003 - Brad raced in two Menards Infiniti Pro Series races for Sam Schmidtt Motorsports at California Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
April 23, 2004 - The Pollard name takes to the track surface at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in over thirty years as Brad tests at the famed oval in the #24 XBOX Menards Infiniti Pro Series car.
I was born June 9, 1947, in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon. I got introduced to racing by the age 3 when Dad raced the little 10’ Hydro Boats down the Umpqua River in north Roseburg. By the time I was 6 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 your father a race car driver, everyone in school thought that was the coolest thing. As a family, we traveled the whole northwest going to different places so Dad could race. Quite a thrill for a young boy, especially since Dad won just about every race he competed in. Everyone used to race for 2nd place, because they new who was going to win.
We lived in Roseburg until I was in the 8th grade, then we moved to Medford Oregon. I started playing football, baseball, & basketball from the 4th grade on. Graduated Medford High in 1965 & went to Southern Oregon College for 3 years where I also played basketball. I remember Dad always had time to help & practice with me in what-ever sport I was playing. He taught me to single water ski by the age of 10. Later in high school I would water ski competing in the Slalom course & also speed skiing. It was quite a thrill to water ski at 90 mph’s. During the high school years, also did some go-kart racing.
As far as myself racing, at the time I guess I enjoyed watching Dad more, rather than doing it myself. I always seemed to have a fast car though. From my 1965 Chevelle, to a 1930 2 door Ford Sedan with a 327 Chevy. Built that with my best friend. We are still best friends after 40 years. Then graduated to Corvettes. The first being a 1977, then to a 1992, which we still have. My wife Georgia & I have belonged to a Corvette Club here in Sacramento now 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 will close off the state highway for a day to hold the race.
The first year I participated in the110 mph bracket. I have also run the120 mph class & 2 years ago ran the 130 mph class. The “need for speed” never seems to leave.
I have always been very competitive at everything I have competed in. After completing school, I played city league softball, volleyball, & 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. World champion only made 86 of 100. I started bowling at the age of 8 & by the time I was an adult was carrying a 205 average.
There will always be so many great memories of Dad’s racing career, but going to Indy in 1967 & 1968 will always be the highlight. Watching him win the Rex Mays 200 in 1969 on the Wide World of Sports was pretty cool too.
There is a special reason for me putting #64 on my Corvette (shown above). On May 5, 1973, (Dad's birthday) we talked and he told me "this is the year". "Have a shot at winning this year" "This is the best and fastest car I have ever had at the Speedway". My Corvette is the best and fastest car I have ever had. Every time I strap the helmet on, I think, "have a shot at winning this year". I will never forget that conversation. "Special Day & Special Number".
The thing that is probably the most remarkable, is that 30 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.