The taste of success is sweet. Experience it once and you’ll crave it forever.
After a 2011 campaign that saw the Port Hope, ON, racer claim the year’s initial 100 lapper and become the first Kawartha Speedway regular to win the prestigious NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model Summer Sizzler, Bryan Mercer’s quest to return to the winner’s circle had been an unsatisfied desire.
That all changed Friday, July 27, as the driver of the #81 Sine’s Flooring/Durmach Excellence in Tooling Chevrolet Impala claimed his first main event checkered flag in more than a year. The 39-year-old father of three was his typical low-key self during a subdued victory lane celebration, electing to praise the work of his pit crew instead of accepting the accolades himself.
“There should be another nine people here with me right now,” said Mercer while adjusting the NAPA Auto Parts cap, provided by the division’s sponsor. “My Dad and the crew do most of the work on the car. I just drive it. The way it handled tonight, I think anyone could have climbed behind the wheel and brought it to victory lane.”
Winning the feature event was almost an ironic moment for the service advisor at Quantrill Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac. With plans to enjoy a camping weekend with his family, Mercer had given some serious thought to taking a night off from the racetrack. Once a quick check of the point standings revealed he was only two markers ahead of the 3rd place car, plans were made to take the trailer to the campground with one truck, while the other brought the car to the speedway.
“In many ways, it’s been a frustrating season with plenty of ups and downs…but more downs than ups,” admitted Mercer in the pits with family, friends and supporters after the race. “The car really hasn’t been right since the middle of last year when it went back to McColl’s. Anytime you have to put on a new front clip, it changes almost everything else around. Even though I’d thought about taking the night off, it probably wouldn’t have been fair to my wife and the kids. If I wasn’t here, I’d be at the park thinking about what was happening. Now, I can enjoy some family time and not worry about the racecar.”
With the win Mercer is still second, but now six points ahead of 3rd and only 20 markers out of the lead in a very tight Late Model championship chase. With only four events remaining on this year’s schedule, including a double point paying event on Friday, August 24, every position gained on the track is more important than ever.
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