He may not have turned a lap on the racetrack since midway through the 2011 season, but Craig Graham was never far from the sport. The 40 year old father of 2 spent last year mentoring his son Brandt during his first year of action in Kawartha Speedway's Mini Stock class. The youngster was obviously paying attention to his father's tutelage, as he finished 8th in the final point standings and was named the division's rookie of the year.
"I don't know how much I taught him, but he must have been listening when we talked," said Craig Graham when asked to describe his son's early career stock car racing success. "Every time he strapped into the car, the crew and I told Brandt the most important part of racing was to have fun. He picked-up some useful racing skills while running with the KDKC and was able to apply them to what he did with the Mini Stock. Everyone was very pleased with the results he was able to achieve last
As they head into the new campaign at the tricky 1/3rd of a mile bullring west of the Liftlock City, the Graham Racing team of Dad and the Lad is both excited and tense. Getting one car ready for the action can be stressful enough, but the preparing a pair of championship calibre teams takes some long hours in the garage and a dedicated crew to organize the Late Model and Mini Stock machines for battle. Even though they're always willing to welcome new crew members into the fold, Graham is confident in the team's ability to do the job.
"My father-in-law Marten Rottine has a real passion for working on the racecars," said the Fixed Operations Manager at Clarington Hyundai in Bowmanville. "Without Marten, there's no way that Brandt and I would be racing anywhere. He works about 5 days a week year-round on the cars, tow vehicles and trailers. We've been able to put together a great team of Mark Rottine, Blair Graham and my father, Ian. These guys have been with me since the beginning and I appreciate their help in the shop and at the track. Now that we'll be running both cars on a regular basis, the work has doubled so we've recruited some new people."
During the 2012 season - where Brandt Graham was named Kawartha Speedway's Mini Stock rookie of the year - the 15 year-old Clarke High School student admitted a desire to run head-to-head against his father on the speedway. While that day may still be on the horizon, for now the youngster will be content to park beside his Dad in the pits at Peterborough. To help his team, the sophomore speedster has brought in classmate Josh Ullrich to lend a hand on his car.
For the 2013 season, the #98 and #12B Graham Racing team will be supported by P.J. Larkin Salvage, Hot Rod Swag, Motorhead Canada and SJM Improvements, with promotional assistance from Clarke Motorsports Communications.
The team is always interested in hearing from prospective sponsors for their attack on the Vanguard Self Storage Late Model and Peterborough Hyundai Mini Stock divisions at Peterborough Speedway.
Peterborough Speedway gets rolling for the year as Country 105 presents the 2013 season opener - with free spectator grandstand admission - Saturday, May 18th.
For full schedule details and the latest news, visit www.peterboroughspeedway.com.
By Jim Clarke / Peterborough Speedway Media