Sometimes they’re written down. More often than not, they’re thought about, but never spoken. At the start of the year, racers at every track and in every division set goals for the season’s accomplishments. Ideally, they’d all love to win a point championship, but most are happy to just perform better than they had the season before. Port Hope, Ontario’s Bryan Mercer will look back at the 2012 campaign as one of the best years of his career.
After making 2 trips to victory lane in 2011 – including becoming the first Kawartha Speedway regular to win the prestigious Summer Sizzler – the 39 year old father of 3 knew he’d need some solid runs to eclipse his stats from a year ago. The driver of the #81 Sine’s Flooring/Durmach Excellence in Tooling Chevrolet Impala by McColl Racing Enterprises NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model had only 1 win on the year, but with the exception of the Sizzler, he finished every main event in the top 5, including a 3rd place effort in the Friday, September 28th season finale. Along the way, there was also a 10 place showing in the annual American-Canadian Tour Invitational – Saturday, September 22nd – at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“We were 5th in points last year, so to come away 3 in the standings feels pretty good,” said Mercer. “Obviously, we’d like to win every race we run but so would every other driver in the field. The car was great and I think we accomplished most of the goals we had before the season started. Going to the race at New Hampshire and coming home with the car in one piece after running with the leaders all day is a big step for our team. It showed we can run almost anywhere and not look out of place.”
With Kawartha Speedway’s season complete, Bryan Mercer and his team had one event remaining on their calendar and towed their machine to the annual running of Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic. In a season where he competed on the 3/8th mile oval at Fraserville and the 1 mile layout at Loudon, New Hampshire, Mercer and the crew knew that tackling the tight and tough 3rd of a mile blueprint at Fowler’s Corners would be a unique challenge.
While drivers in the rest of the divisions spent the first day of their Thanksgiving Weekend running practice laps, work commitments kept Bryan Mercer behind his Service Consultant’s podium at Quantrill Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac. The first time he strapped-in behind the wheel was during the Friday night qualifying round. Even with his limited track time, Mercer still managed a 3rd place showing in his heat race. Another top 3 effort Saturday afternoon during the second stage of Pro Late Model preliminary action gave him a 7th starting spot in the 112 lap main event.
After running with the leaders in Sunday’s feature race, Mercer took a turn at the front of the pack, but issues developed with his ride and he surrendered the lead with just over 95 laps complete. Some quick work by the crew got him back on the track, where he was able to race back through the field to record a 4th place finish.
“It wasn’t a bad weekend at all,” said Mercer while relaxing after dinner at Kawartha Speedway’s October 12th award’s banquet. “There was the usual bumping and banging throughout the show, but we put the car in the trailer in one piece with all the body panels relatively straight and the fenders still on it. Anytime you can do that, you’ve had a good day.”
For 2012, Bryan Mercer’s #81 Kawartha Speedway NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model is supported by Sine’s Flooring, Durmach Excellence in Tooling, Creative Edge Graphics, Jim’s Pizza, Appleman Carstar Collision, APX Racewear, B & G Equipment, Cressman Tree Maintenance, DenTec, Glass1Autoglass Mobile Service, LVG Auctions, Northumberland News, Quantrill Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac, Reflection Glass and Accessories, UAP NAPA – Port Hope and Clarke Motorsports Communications.
Prepared by Jim Clarke/ Clarke Motorsports Communications