In a surprising mid-Countdown move, Scotty Pollacheck, currently ranked No. 6 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle standings, announced his departure from the Sovereign/Star team, effective immediately. Pollacheck has formed his own team and will race at the final four events of the season, including this weekend’s AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, on an S&S-powered Buell that he has purchased from Matt Smith Racing.
“I have always wanted to own my own Pro Stock Motorcycle, and the opportunity arose recently, and I just couldn't pass it up,” said Pollacheck. “Therefore, I have decided to part ways with Sovereign/Star Racing and will be racing as an independent driver. I realize what a challenge this will be, but sometimes you just have to take a chance. I am very excited to be living my lifelong dream as owner and rider.
“I would be remiss if I didn't thank everyone at Sovereign/Star Racing for everything they have done the past two seasons, and I wish them the best of luck.”
In 28 races in the last two seasons with the George Bryce-owned Sovereign/Star team, Pollacheck has raced to two final rounds and three semifinals and has a round-win record of 27-27.
The move came as a surprise to Bryce, who has won six world championships with riders John Myers and Angelle Sampey and won races with a host of other riders, including Chip Ellis, Fred Collis, Reggie Showers, Chris Rivas, and current rider Michael Ray.
“I was absolutely shocked at the phone call I got at 10:30 Tuesday morning when Scotty called and told me he was going to ride one of Matt Smith’s motorcycles,” said Bryce. “I told him that he was better off to race for the championship with us, that we were on the verge of winning. The reason we have not made a formal announcement is that we expect Scotty to honor his agreement with us and do what he said he was going to do. We always do what we say we’re going to do, and that’s how we got our reputation in the motorsports industry.”
Following Pollacheck’s departure, Bryce will likely accelerate the timetable for development rider Chaz Kennedy to make his NHRA debut this weekend in St. Louis. Kennedy, a former champion in the All Harley Drag Racing Association, has been working with the Sovereign/Star team for more than a year and has tested the team’s Suzuki and Buell entries.
“As far as Chaz is concerned, he was going to race our Suzuki in Las Vegas and Pomona as long as it wasn’t going to be a distraction to either Michael or Scotty winning the championship,” Bryce said. “Now that that seat is open, we are considering moving it up two races and putting Chaz on our S&S Buell this weekend.
“I want it to be known that we have sponsorship commitments to several companies, including Sovereign in Europe,” Bryce continued. “They have paid us and expect us to compete for the championship with Scotty and Michael. We are now left in a position of having to scramble to honor our commitments. I also want to say that this will give us an opportunity to focus on Michael and make sure that he is successful. Instead of two bikes in the Countdown, we now have only one [points stay with the rider], but our plan is to spend the extra time helping Michael be successful and allow Chaz to show what he can do in his debut. We are not looking in the rearview mirror. We are looking forward to continuing to improve our performance and win races."