ATLANTA — It was just the second time in his NHRA racing career that Scotty Pollacheck crossed the finish line as a champion. But this time he had a special person there to celebrate with him: his wife, Susan (affectionately known as "Suzzz").
"I've been on this tour for a long time and it's only my second national event win," Pollacheck said on Tuesday after returning from Atlanta. "Last year we got our first one in Indianapolis and this one's even a little sweeter cause my wife was there and she was just thrilled."
Pollacheck has spent nearly 10 years in the National Hot Rod Association racing pro-stock motorcycles. Over the weekend at the Atlanta Dragway, the southern Oregon native captured his second career victory. He defeated teammate Matt Smith after Smith went red by just .001 seconds. Pollacheck had a final run of 6.921, topping out at 198.35 mph. In his qualifying run, the Central Point racer set a track record, clocking in at 6.779 seconds at 199.20 mph.
The win of course means a lot to him, his family and his race team. But as he returns to his job at Quality Tire in Central Point, he's reminded of how much it means to the people of Southern Oregon, too.
"It's amazing how big these wins are when you get them cause they're so hard to come by," Pollacheck said. "I feel like we're the small-town guy out there playing with the guys that do this for a living with the big budgets and everything. And for the little guys like us to go out and win the national events like that. It's pretty incredible."
Pollacheck said after he won his phone was flooded with messages from racing fans in southern Oregon. When he returned from Atlanta, he said other people dropped by the Quality Tire to congratulate him on his win. It's that kind of support that he appreciates from the tight-knit racing community in the Rogue Valley.
"There's tons of fans here in Southern Oregon that text me, they'll come by the shop and say congratulations, good job," Pollacheck said. "Or they'll come and help me when we don't do so good. It's neat, you know, to have all that kind of support because it's a long road doing this all the time. And so all that kind of stuff helps."
Pollacheck will get an extra weekend to relish in the victory before headed back out to the East Coast for another race. He and the Matt Smith Racing team are headed to Concord, North Carolina, for the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the zMax Dragway.
"The goal is always to win the national championship at the end of the year and right now we're in second place," Pollacheck said. "So if we keep doing like we're doing now, we'll be, we'll be in really good shape."