It’s never about where you start. It’s where you finish. Whether you’re talking about an individual race or the entire the season, the goal of every racer is to get as close to the front of the field as possible. Since the drop of the year’s first green flag, Bryan Mercer has been at or near the top of the NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model point standings at Kawartha Speedway. There have been some good nights and some bad nights, but the driver of the #81 Sine’s Flooring/Durmach Excellence in Tooling Chevrolet Impala has been one of the strongest runners in the Fraserville, ON-oval’s headline division. Even though he’s the man sitting at the controls, the veteran speedster gives most of the credit to his dedicated pit crew.
“I’d put these guys up against any team in the business,” said Mercer. “They’re not lining-up at the bank to cash any huge cheques after the races. Everyone who helps out on this car does it because of their passion for the sport and a desire to succeed. They’re always thinking, looking for a way to make the car better and to take that next step to the winner’s circle. When the car goes to victory lane, I’m the one who gets the attention but my Dad and the crew are the people who got me there.”
Friday, July 20, was Fan Appreciation Night at Kawartha Speedway and a 25 lap late model feature was the final action of the evening. During the preliminary events, Mercer’s ride struggled with some handling issues. Going through their notes, the team found a set-up combination from previous events – with similar track and weather conditions – that was worth trying for the main event. Starting from the inside of the front row meant there was the potential to jump ahead at the drop of the green, but as they were lining-up in the staging area, the entire field was thrown a curve.
“One of the mini stocks had blown an engine and there was oil and other fluids all around the track,” said the 39 year-old Port Hope, Ontario racer. “The track clean-up crew did an amazing job, but we had to run through the speedy-dry and none of us knew what the track conditions would be like. We got a few laps behind the pace car and things seemed to be okay. Still, there was that little voice in the back of my head.”
When the green flag waved, Mercer was able to lead the first few laps, but the voice in his head was feedback coming from the crew. The car seemed tight and wouldn’t get through the corners as well as they had hoped. Within the first handful of circuits, he had slipped back to 3rd in the running order, but would be able to maintain that position in the race’s final running order. While checking the car in their regular post race debriefing, the crew discovered a concern with the stagger on the right-side tires.
“The issue with the tires is frustrating, but overall the car wasn’t too bad. An 8 on a scale of 10,” said Mercer. “We’ll make some more notes in the set-up book and move on to the next show. There isn’t time to dwell on the past, so we’ll get ready for next week.”
Bryan Mercer’s crew includes Danny Langstaff, Dave Dennis, Donny Dennis, Dylan Fraser, Jeremy Dennis, Mike Lagrois, Terry Stark and Shane Crombie. Many have been with the team for a number of years.
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.
From Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications