Behind The Visor With Scotty Pollacheck
Professional drag racer Scotty Pollacheck is gearing up to head into the 2019 NHRA pro stock motorcycle season. With many moving parts and pieces, we thought we’d catch up with this Oregon native to find out more about what’s behind the visor.
When did you begin racing? I started racing about three days after my 16th birthday when I got my driver’s license. When did you know you wanted to race in the professional pro stock motorcycle category?
As soon as I started racing motorcycles when I was 17 years old, my dream was to someday race in what was then called the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. What is your fondest memory in racing? I would have to say in the pro ranks my fondest memory would be my first Number 1 qualifier, which was in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 2017. A close second would be when I won the NHRA Division 7 Championship in 2003. What are you expecting when you hoist your first PSM Wally? I’m not sure exactly what to expect, but I know for sure there will be one hell of a party! Who has helped you get to where you are in your motorcycle career? Wow, where do I start? I have so many people who have helped me to get to where I am today. First, when I was starting out in my divisional days in 1992, I partnered up with a buddy of mine, Jerry Stinson, and we shared a motorhome and trailer and traveled the circuit together. I decided to get my Pro Stock Motorcycle license in 1993, so I flew out to Florida and attended the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School, taught by Frank and George Bryce, where I was able to obtain my license on the first try. Then in 2000, I was given the opportunity to race an electric drag bike owned by Bill Dube called The Killacycle. Together we held the world record for ET and MPH at 7.82 @ 174 for 10 years. In 2003 I started running a turbo Harley in the AHDRA series for Bob Bongiorno. I was able to do this and the Killacycle simultaneously. My wife, Susan, talked me into buying a Nitrous Suzuki ProMod in 2007 from Pat Watson. That bike was so fast, I was making 6 second runs for the first time ever, which really made me want to ride a Pro Stock Motorcycle. Karen Stoffer and I had ran divisional races together for years before she went pro, so I knew her and her husband Gary very well. Every year Susan and I would attended the Sonoma race and the Finals in Pomona and visit Karen and Gary. In 2010 we were in Sonoma, Gary introduced us to Greg Underdahl and we made a deal for me to rent a Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle from him for the Vegas and Pomona races that year. After that I was hooked. In 2011 George Bryce had an ad on DragBike.com looking for a rider for the 2012 season. I applied and was selected to ride for him on a full-time basis. Since that time I’ve had the pleasure of racing for Matt Smith and again for Greg Underdahl. Most importantly, however, is my partner in my tire business, Joel Harris. He has covered for me at our shop so that I can be on the road 16 plus weekends a year for the last eight years. Without him, it would be absolutely impossible for me to be doing what I love! I think it goes without saying that my wife, Susan, has been instrumental in my success and longevity in this sport. There is no way I could not do this without her. I really feel that without any of these people I would definitely not be where I am today, nor the rider that I am today. What is your career ET and speed? What track and year? My unofficial ET record was in testing in Bradenton, Florida, in February of 2015, with a 6.784 at 195mph. My official NHRA ET is 6.791 in Sonoma, in 2017. My official MPH record is 197.91mph, but I honestly do not remember where that was at. Your wife Susan is a big part of your racing career, what can you share with us about your working relationship on the race team? It’s like a partnership. We both have many tasks that we have to do during any given race weekend. She is my biggest fan and supporter, but she is also my biggest critic when I need it the most. She’s kind of like my manager in a sense, she handles my marketing, P.R., social media, and she’s my travel agent, which is not an easy job. I like that she is the last one I see when I’m staging my motorcycle and I always look forward to her being the first one from our team that I see at the end of the track. She is not only my partner, but she is also an ambassador for our class. She has a really good working relationship with NHRA and has pretty much became our class “handler”. She sets up all our autograph sessions and appearances, all of our PSM “parades”, and pretty much anything and everything related to the PSM class. I think it’s safe to say she loves this sport just as much as I do. What do you hope to accomplish during your racing career? I’d definitely love to win my first race, and then keep competing for a championship. What are your short team goals with respect to racing? At this point all we want is to obtain a marketing partner for the 2019 season so that I can continue my racing career. What are your long term goals with respect to racing? To obtain a long-term marketing partner so that I can continue racing. I really want to win several races and continue growing in this class/sport. What does your ideal marketing partner look like? I would love to be with a company that loves the sport of drag racing and is enthusiastic about the possibility of being with a championship caliber team. What does it take (besides funding) to run a self-funded race team?
What doesn’t it take? It takes more than 24 hours in a day. There is no off-season. It is a non-stop, one hundred percent, full-time “hobby”. You have to absolutely love what you are doing to sacrifice the time, energy, and money that we do to do what we love to do.
Describe an average weekend at the track? Oh boy, everyone thinks it’s so glamorous. We get up early, hit the gym, get to the track pretty much before any of the excitement has started, and then start unloading and preparing the bike. There are many hours put into this thing before I ever put my helmet on and stage the bike. There isn’t much down time, we pretty much eat, drink, and sleep racing the entire weekend. Not that it really stops once I get home, though, because this racing thing is pretty much entrenched in our day-to-day life.
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