Long-haired Poole remains cool in anticipation of Xfinity debut

A mullet has been described as business up front and party in the back.

Wearing a baseball hat with his long hair sticking out the sides, Brennan Poole was asked during a news conference Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway if his hairstyle was a mullet.

It turns out Poole doesn’t rock the much-maligned hairdo, but that’s just as well. The 23-year-old will be all business today when he makes his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in the Boyd Gaming 300 at LVMS (1 p.m., FS1, Cox Channel 329).

“The last couple years have been pretty tough. I’ve been fighting to stay alive in the sport,” said Poole, who has worked as a spotter and driving coach the past two years when he wasn’t racing.

“It’s my dream to race Sprint Cup and win races and championships. This is part of that dream coming true. To finally get that break to move up to this level is just incredible.”

Poole will pilot the No. 42 HScott Motorsports Chevy that Las Vegan Dylan Kwasniewski was expected to share this season with Kyle Larson. Poole was brought on board by HScott on Feb. 10 after Kwasniewski failed to reach an agreement with Rockstar Energy Drink, which sponsored the Faith Lutheran High School graduate’s car last season.

A six-time winner in the ARCA Racing Series who is slated to start 15 Xfinity Series races this season, Poole was born in Sacramento, Calif., where his father tried to dissuade him from racing.

“My dad did everything to get me to do something else,” Poole said. “I don’t come from a racing family. He tried to push me into golf and other sports, but I just love driving racecars. My whole life, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

Poole, whose family moved to The Woodlands, Texas, when he was 7, began his career in the quarter midget ranks, where he won the 2002 national title and earned the nickname “The Bull” after repeatedly coming from behind to win.

“There was a guy in the stands who just said I was like a bull because I didn’t give up and kept charging to the front like a bull,” said Poole, who didn’t care for the moniker at first.

“I tried every other nickname possible to not let that one stay. But it just stuck. At that time, I tried to cover it up. But my dad thought it was funny, and so did my mom, and it just went from there. Now everybody calls me that.

“In the garage, everybody calls me ‘The Bull,’ and I get confused if they call me Poole or ‘The Bull,’ because it sounds so similar.”

Poole expects his experience spotting and filming races for teams to help him today on the track.

“Being up on that roof (of the scoring tower), it changes how you look at the race,” he said. “You can see how it unfolds and what the good guys did and what didn’t pan out. It helped me a lot when I got in the car.”

Back to Poole’s long hair — which he said stems from his fondness for the skateboarding and surfing scene — he was asked Friday if it’s the secret to his success.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the secret. It may have helped me get the girl I’m seeing now,” he said, smiling. “I just want to grow it out. I never had a chance to grow it out. It’s kind of out of control. It’s really poofy, that’s why I got a hat on.

“The guys were messing with me, saying if I win, I’ve gotta shave my head. I think I’ll do something. I’m not sure yet.”

How about a mullet?

■ NOTES — Denny Hamlin, who will fill in for injured Las Vegas native Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota in today’s race, is one of 11 drivers entered in the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races at LVMS. Other drivers pulling double duty include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Austin Dillon, Las Vegan Brendan Gaughan and Regan Smith, who is substituting for suspended Las Vegan Kurt Busch in Sunday’s Kobalt 400. … Only two drivers have swept both NASCAR weekend races at LVMS: Brad Keselowski last year and Jeff Burton in 1999.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.

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