TRACKSIDE with RICK MINTER - March 5, 2018

TRACKSIDE with RICK MINTER – March 5, 2018

I always get nostalgic when a new racing season rolls around.


When Bubba Pollard raced past Shane Clanton into the lead of the Super Late Model race Saturday night, even though he only held that spot momentarily, I thought about how proud his late grandparents Hence and Reba Pollard would have been.


They ran the track along with co-founder David Bishop when I first started going there regularly.  Hence was one of the best promoters I’ve ever come across in a lot of years writing about racing.  Miss Reba ran a really good concession stand, among her other duties at the track.


I always enjoyed visiting with Hence.  As I’ve written before, he got me started in the racing media business by giving me a pass to attend races at Senoia.  I felt like I needed to pay him back in some way, so I started sending out results from the track to local newspapers and radio stations.


When it came to his race track, I’ve always thought Hence Pollard was a race fan first and businessman second.


Away from the track, he was shrewd when it came to business, much like his son Sonny Pollard and his wife Vickie are today.  Hence cut a lot of timber around my hometown of Inman, including on my grandfather’s farm.  And he spread a lot of fertilizer for us and others in the area.


I think he built and ran Senoia Raceway mostly because he liked racing and racers.


One night, during one of the lower division races, there was a dead heat for second place. Track officials made a ruling, but third-place finisher didn’t agree with the track official’s decision and told Hence he really thought he’d finished second.


So Hence paid both drivers for second place, and thanked them for putting on a good show. He later acknowledged that all it had cost him was the difference in second- and third-place pay because he’d have to pay the guy for third anyway.  But for about $15, he’d made two drivers happy.


Many times I’ve heard Mike Head tell the story of the time he showed up at the track without his familiar No. 54.


Hence asked him: “Where’s that race car?”


Head responded that he didn’t have the money to pay his engine builder.



Hence summoned Head to his house across the field from the race track.  He asked what it would cost to get his engine fixed. Mike gave him the amount.  While Hence and Mike sat in front of a hot fire in the fireplace, Miss Reba fetched the money, and Mike was back racing at Senoia the next week.


“Hence and David Bishop helped me out a lot back then,” Head said. “I’m not ashamed for anyone to know it. They don’t make them like that any more.”


In the years since that time, Head went on to a career that has seen him honored in many ways, including induction into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.


Through it all Senoia Raceway has remained close to his heart.  He supported the Pollards as long as they owned the track and says he’ll continue to support the Massey family as long as they run it, for old time’s sake as well.


I wonder how many people there are that the Pollards helped over the years and now are out there paying it forward, for the betterment of the sport.


I sometimes wonder whether writing this blog is worth the effort.  While acknowledging that I do get in the gate for free for doing it, I’m unable to go every week, so the hourly pay rate gets pretty low at times.


I like to think it’s a way to pay forward the kindness and encouragement Hence and Reba Pollard showed me 40-something years ago.


Senoia Raceway fans, drivers, crew members and family can look forward to this weekly blog from journalist Rick Minter.  Rick has been reporting on motorsports at Senoia Raceway and elsewhere since 1976.





Leave a Reply

to top