STAYNER, ON – Another double shot weekend for Brandon Watson Racing saw the team in action on back-to-back nights on Labour Day weekend, starting Saturday at Peterborough Speedway. The team would look to
continue their dominance as the championship points leader with the OSCAAR Super Late Models before the Great Canadian Race Keystone Light 200 at Delaware Speedway with the Pro Late Model.
The night looked as though it had start off on the right foot at Peterborough as Watson drew the pole position for Klotz Synthetics qualifying heat race 2. However, one lap in to the heat, the rear axle on the #9 Royal Distributing/ Shear Metal Products/Barrie Frame and Alignment/Knightworks Design Chevrolet Impala SS bent and would then
break. That would end the night for the #9 car, but not for Watson.
Following the incident and the team’s realisation that the axle could not be repaired at the track, Watson received an offer from OSCAAR 2012 Rookie-of-the-Year contender Jim Bowman to pilot his #63 Remax/TMG Mortgages/ Cash Inn Loans/Hanover Holidays Chevrolet Camaro for the remainder of the night. The offer was one Watson and his crew could not refuse in order to maintain their championship points lead ahead of George Wilson (#77 Port City Racecars Chevrolet).
“First of all I have to thank Jim Bowman for letting me use his car. He just came over and offered it to us. We’re just going to … get as many laps as we can and try to keep out of wrecks,” said Watson.
Watson later added that the offer truly represents the atmosphere within OSCAAR.
Said Watson, “It’s really great that he did that and it shows a lot for this organization. It shows a lot of sportsmanship on his part. It was great for him to let us use his car.”
Forced to start scratch after taking the reins of Bowman’s #63, Watson had his work cut out to catch the front of the field. A quick pace by the field in the early going saw Watson fall one lap off the pace.
A caution in the back half of the 50-lap feature sent the #9 team back on to the lead lap. Watson would then mount a late race charge after having saved his tires over the first 30 laps, unlike many of the drivers running inside the top-ten. The saved equipment and a handful of late race cautions benefitted Watson immensely as he would drive to an eighth place finish.
“The crew did a great job getting the car ready. We did some work after the heat and we got it going a bit better. We came out with a top-ten finish tonight, and I think that’s really a good night for us. Unfortunately, we did lose some points, but we’ll just have to try and make them up next week at the Biederman (Memorial Race),” said the
OSCAAR points leader Watson, who saw his lead shrink to an unofficial 22 markers with three races remaining.
The result ends Watson’s streak of seven top-five finishes, but does extend his streak of top-ten results to eight. Saturday night the team drove straight to Delaware following the OSCAAR event, where they spent the night in preparation for the pit gates to open in the early morning.
In the group ‘F1-style’ qualifying sessions, Watson qualified second quickest and, without an invert, would start outside the front row for the highest paying late model race anywhere in the province. Watson jumped out to a quick lead over polesitter Mark Watson before leading the first ten laps. A loose racecar would force the Stayner, ON teen up the track where he would concede the lead. Watson would sit third for nearly 80 laps during the first 100-lap segment, and would slip to fifth entering the competition yellow after lap 100.
Said Watson, “We were just holding on to third, we didn’t really have much pressure from behind us. I was just running third, two car lengths behind the second place runner. I wasn’t really pushing it too much.”
At that point, Watson’s crew went to work in an attempt to tighten up a very free racecar.
“We put new tires on the right side. We were fighting a loose car all day. The car was loose in and loose off. We tried changing it with some spring rubbers in the right front, but it didn’t really help at all,” explained Watson following the race.
Shortly following the mandatory pit stop at the halfway point, Watson’s mountain would become a bit steeper to climb when he stopped to avoid an accident and, to the dismay of Watson and crew, was sent to the rear of the field.
From there, Watson and Jamie Cox would form a duo to work their way back to the front of the field. Making his way back in to the top-five by the closing stages of the race, Watson ran out of time to make a charge for the lead. Mark Watson would go on to win the prestigious event.
“We didn’t have anything left; the car was too loose,” said Watson. “It’s a pretty big race for us…definitely one of the highlights of the year. I just wish we could have done a bit better.”
Watson also explained that although the race was the longest distance he has and will run in 2012, he did not alter his strategy or preparation for the race.
“Just get in the car and go. It’s no different for me,” said Watson.
Although the team went winless on the weekend, it will not be long for the team to get back in action. Round 9 of 11 on the OSCAAR Super Late Model tour will run Friday, September 7, 2012 at Kawartha Speedway. The
event also marks the running of the 13th annual Don Biederman Memorial for Super Late Models under OSCAAR sanctioning.
With just three races remaining and Watson’s points lead narrowed to an unofficial 22 tallies, getting off on the right foot Friday night will be instrumental in the team’s championship run.
By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia