Bubba Pollard in NASCAR also means the TJ Jackson Experience

The Saturday night Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway will mean more than introducing the NASCAR world to Super Late Model ace Bubba Pollard.

It also means the full Torrance Jackson Experience.

Jackson, who goes by T.J., is the world’s biggest Bubba Pollard fan and this is not remotely debatable. You’ll recognize the South Carolina LEO not only by his physique but also his custom gear featuring the iconic No. 26 font but also a goat, as in THE GOAT, which is how Jackson refers to Pollard.

In Super Late Model parlance, it’s hard to argue with Jackson, nor would you want to because look at him. He has a such commanding presence until you realize he is all heart and soul and devotes much of those characteristic to cheering his favorite short tracker all across the country.

If you don’t see Jackson at the track, you’ll certainly hear his booming voice from some corner of the infield or grandstands, with his signature chants reaching decibels even the public address system couldn’t match.


If Pollard wins, you’ll certain see him then, high stepping all across the frontstretch, holistically serving as chief hype officer for all things No. 26.

And remarkably, their friendship truly began with the police officer threatening to use a taser on Pollard if he escalated a physical confrontation after a race at Greenville Pickens Speedway in 2018 after a crash with Matt Craig.

It was one of the maddest points of his racing career and he wanted to let the Craigs know it and only Jackson stood between them. Jackson, who was already a racing enthusiast, had been working security detail for races at Greenville Pickens Speedway for three years and had become a fan of Pollard.

“I’ll told Bubba, you’re my guy but I don’t want to tase you,” Jackson told Sportsnaut on Wednesday. “I don’t know that I could tase him but I also thought to myself, it would make a fun story to say I tased Bubba Pollard.”

He was able to talk Bubba down and he remembers it well.

“We got taken out,” Pollard told Sportsnaut. “We were walking across the track and I was looking for the guy. TJ said settle down before I have to tase you. We’ve been friends ever since. He said ‘I don’t want to have to embarrass you in front of everybody here when I get done with this taser,’ and the rest is history, and we’ve been friends ever since.”

That was one of the last times that Jackson worked on weekends, having changed his schedule so he could attend races, including one at New Smyrna Speedway a month later.

“I walked up to him and said, ‘you remember me,’ and Bubba said ‘yeah, you were going to tase me,’ and I told him I couldn’t do it,” he said with a laugh. “But that’s when I started to get to really know the family and team.”

Since then, Jackson has become family, an honorary Pollard if you will. His wife and daughter are extensions of the Pollards. Their kids play together at the track. What Jackson has learned over the years, from his vantage point, is that the Pollards are every bit the family worth rooting for as Bubba was a driver that he champions for.

From a fandom standpoint, Pollard said his friend is everything great about short track racing.

“He gets people hyped up at the track,” Pollard said. “That’s what it’s all about, having that person or people that are fans and get you engaged. I’m sure I’ve gotten fans because of him and he does so many good things for the sport and I’m really grateful to have him as one of ours.”

When Pollard dramatically lost the Snowball Derby in December, the result of getting crashed by rival Stephen Nasse while racing for the lead with seven laps to go, Jackson was legitimately sobbing in the pit area.

Maybe he doesn’t want that story told because it was so raw and real, but it’s a reflection of how invested he is.

“It’s just the hard work,” Jackson said. “First time I saw him win the (Florida) Gov Cup and saw how emotional he was and realized how much heart he puts into this too. He had a baby the week before and he wants to get that last big win so he can move onto some other things in racing, scale back.

“I feel that too and I just couldn’t believe that happened. There was so much hurt on everyone’s face that night. I didn’t know what to say after going from the high that he’s finally going to win it to what happened. It’s still hard to get over.”

But when Pollard does win, and if he somehow pulls off the upset on Saturday in his Xfinity Series debut, you’ll see that signature celebration from the grandstands too.

“If he wins, I’m high stepping all over the infield,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t matter. You won’t be able to contain me.”

And like Pollard said, he recognizes that his love and support for Pollard helps grow short track racing and their fanbase. That’s important to him too.

“Like, when you see the social media stuff, that’s real and I’m just excited,” Jackson said. “But it’s not about me. I just want to elevate what he’s doing, short track racing and the 26 team. I just want to make it more popular.”  

And Pollard is forever grateful for all of it.

“To have someone like him helps me out as a driver because when I don’t have a good day, he’s right there to pump me up and support me and build me back up,” Pollard said. “There are a lot of people coming this weekend, a lot of overwhelming support.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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