Brockville, a 3/8-mile oval commonly referred to as the “Beast of the East”, had its scheduled season opener rained out last Saturday, allowing O’Brien and his competitors an additional week to prepare for the first points race.
O’Brien, however, has already been on the track. Three weeks ago, O’Brien travelled to Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandiagua, NY and a week later contested the season opening race at Can-Am Motorsports Park in Lafargeville, NY on May 7. The driver of the 1000 Islands RV Centre/ATC World Class Trailers No.17 was happy with results of seventh and third, respectively, in the two races.
“We were good. At Canandaigua were up to fourth and got a left front flat. We went to the pits and changed that. We came back out with seven to go and ended up seventh,” O’Brien explained.
“At Can-Am, we drew dead last going through the gate, but ended up third. That wasn’t a bad run,” the veteran driver added.
The two races were a tune-up for the Brockville lid lifter as O’Brien tested the team’s update engine package, provided by Fulton, NY builder Pat Morrison.
“We worked a lot on our motor program this year trying to step that up. It’s been a lot of fine-tuning this winter. We want to be a little better in those long races,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien knows, however, that a motor alone won’t propel him to repeat his track championship. Another successful season will be the result of a complete effort.
“Winning races is what it’s all about. If you don’t get it done, you go back and work harder the next week to get it done,” O’Brien explained. “It’s not just a driver, it’s not just an engine, it’s not just tires. You have to have the whole package to get it done.”
Racing with a short memory will be part of bringing the whole package to the track, O’Brien says. His 2015 championship is of no importance to him in his 2016 chase.
“Once the new season starts, last year is over with and gone. It’s a new slate and you start fresh. What you did last year doesn’t really matter,” he said.
In addition to his Saturday nights at Brockville, O’Brien will compete in as many major or extended distance races as possible in the area. The first of which is the opening race of the Canadian Nationals at Cornwall Motor Speedway on May 22, a 125-lap affair.
“We’re going to pick and choose where we go and have some fun with it,” O’Brien said.
Follow Danny O’Brien’s 2016 358 Modified season online by Liking the team’s official Facebook page and on the team’s new website at www.dannyobrien.ca.
Danny O’Brien’s 2016 DIRTcar 358 Modified season is supported by several dedicated corporate sponsors, including: 1000 Islands RV Centre, ATC World Class Trailers, Bob FM, Ambush, Pat’s Auto Centre, Bicknell Racing Products, Heather-Lynn Topping, Integra Shocks, Northwood 2 Construction, and Snap-On Adam Way.