After an unusually mild winter, drivers, teams and race fans can’t wait to get back to their favourite weekly track. With Kawartha Speedway set to kick-off its 2012 season Friday, June 1st Bryan Mercer is hoping to take care of some unfinished business. The Port Hope, Ontario veteran – who works as a service advisor at Quantrill Chevrolet Cadillac GMC – won a pair of 2011’s biggest events before mechanical issues in the 5th race of the year hindered his efforts for the balance of the campaign.
As always, Mercer and his hard working crew spent the off season checking and re-checking every corner of the car to get the #81 Sine’s Flooring/Durmach Tooling Chevrolet Impala set for the Fraserville, Ontario 3/8th mile oval’s lid lifter. The 38 year-old says he’s comfortable – albeit not yet confident – that they’re ready to roll into action.
“There is always work to be done on the car. Constantly things we want to try,” said Mercer during a break at the Friday, May 25th practice session. “The guys are always thinking about how to make things better. Some of what we try works, while some doesn’t. That’s where a session like this comes in handy for all the teams. You’re not under the gun to get the car perfect for the next race or facing the pressure of fixing a problem during a yellow flag. We can make the necessary adjustments and then get back to the track for a few laps to see how the car works without the anxiety of a ticking clock.”
Although the car was initially ‘loose’, Mercer says that run was on used tires and the handling characteristic changed as the rubber went through a heat cycle. He was able to keep it solidly on the faster bottom line through the turns and then move to the top groove on the straightaways. As the team worked on revising the car’s set-up, the driver admitted to being a little rusty as well.
“Driving and racing are 2 different things,” said Mercer. “It always takes a bit of time to get used to things behind the wheel when you’ve been away for a bit. The feel of the belts and finding a comfortable position in the seat – especially for the extra distance shows – are part of the process. The racecar doesn’t have many similarities to your personal vehicle. Things in the driver’s compartment are designed to stay in the same place and once the green flag drops, you have to deal with what you have.”
With the car on jackstands after the final session, the crew checked things over before loading their piece into the trailer while the driver renewed acquaintances with some friends and team supporters before calling it a day.
Bryan Mercer Motorsports, Up to the Minute: The team hauled to Sunset Speedway at Innisfil, Ontario on Sunday, May 27th to be part of the McColl Racing Enterprises Late Model Series. Starting 15th on the grid, Mercer brought the car home in 11th place. After battling from the back of the pack on 3 different occasions, Mercer says he was pleased with the results – although disappointed that the car sustained some serious front end damage in a fight for position on the green/white/checkered finish.
For 2012, Bryan Mercer’s #81 Kawartha Speedway NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model is supported by Sine’s Flooring, Durmach Tooling, Creative Edge Graphics, Jim’s Pizza & Pasta, Appleman Carstar Collision Centre, Cressman Tree Maintenance and Landscaping, Quantrill Chevrolet-Cadillac-GMC, B & G Equipment, Dent Tec, Northumberland News, NAPA Automotive, Glass 1 Auto Glass – Mobile Service, LVG Auctions and Clarke Motorsports Communications.
From Jim Clarke / Clarke Motorsports Communications